With the Christmas season in full swing, Trina Smith, group white and sparkling winemaker for Pernod Ricard and creator of Jacob sparkling, shares her handy dos and don’ts for serving the perfect bubbly at your next event.
As much as we pay attention to the presentation of food when we are entertaining guests, the same attention to detail should be given to the beverages we are serving.
Sparkling wine can be a beautifully refreshing accompaniment to any event.
Impress your guests with the below tips to ensure they mistake you for a seasoned sommelier.
Pair food and sparkling wine
Serving a sparkling that complements your event menu is essential. I recommend pairing a wine such as Jacob with seafood such as freshly shucked oysters. Or as an alternative, confit duck salad, as the acid from the sparkling wine will cut through the richness.
Serve it chilled, but not too cold
Sparkling wine should always be served chilled to maintain the flavour profiles of the bottle. However, never add ice and avoid serving it too cold as this will only mask the wine’s aroma and flavours. Once it’s opened, keep it in an ice bucket to ensure it stays chilled for your guests.
Open the bottle carefully
It’s important for the opening of the bottle to ensure the pressure isn’t released too quickly. Most sparkling’s have a tear tab on the foil to remove the top of the foil to expose the cage while still maintaining the integrity of the rest of the foil – presentation is key!
Hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle pointing away from you and your guests with your thumb on top and your hand over the cork. Unwind the tab on the cage to loosen but not remove. Rather than twisting the cork, rotate the bottle with your other hand. Holding on tightly to the top, you should feel the pressure slowly release as the bottle opens.
Don’t “pop” the bottle
It’s easy to get overly excited when you’ve got your hands on a lovely bottle of sparkling wine and your guests are eagerly awaiting the first pour, with their glasses ready. The only thing that’s in your way is the cork. This is where we need a little bit of patience. Although it might be fun to hear that loud “pop”, it’s important to remember the above point. Fun fact: the pressure in a bottle of sparkling is three times that of the pressure in your car tyre.
Avoid using the wrong glass
A fancy drink deserves a fancy vessel. Use a tulip glass to showcase your sparkling’s effervescence. Ensure that your serving glasses are well cleaned to avoid aggregating the carbonation on the inside of your glass. A dirty glass will cause your drink to go flat.
Avoid exposing the bottle to temperature extremes
To maintain the sparkling’s flavours, store it away from direct sunlight and away from hot and cold temperatures. Preferably in a dark room.