December 27, 2016
Get your pop, fizz, clink on this New Year’s Eve with Missouri sparkling wine! Come midnight on December 31st, a celebratory sip of some local bubbly is a great way to toast to the coming year. Missouri’s sparkling wines range from dry to sweet, white to rosé, and can have a light to medium body. Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve soiree or planning to go to one, make sure you celebrate with a bottle of Missouri sparkling wine!
Just to be clear, sparkling wine and Champagne are similar, but not the same. Champagne is a term commonly used to describe any wine with bubbles in it, but you can only call it Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. After an international trade agreement made in 2006, no new sparkling wines are allowed to be called Champagne unless made in a particular style with grapes grown in the Champagne district. So, here in the United States, we simply call it sparkling wine!
Sparkling wines start out being made like all other wines where a primary fermentation process turns the sugar into alcohol. However, a second round of fermentation must take place within a sealed container to trap all the carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the wine and creates bubbles. Where this second fermentation process takes place is the key difference in the methods of sparkling wine production. In the traditional method, or as the French say méthode champenoise, the second fermentation happens in the bottle. In the charmat method, the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank. Many wineries will disclose which method was used to make their sparkling wine, so check the label on the next bottle you purchase to find out how the bubbles were made.
Prior to popping that cork, make sure to chill your sparkling wine for at least 30 to 40 minutes in ice or three hours in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature to serve sparkling wine is around 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
So let’s toast, and remember, bubbles are key, so you don’t want to lose them. Instead of pouring your sparkling wine straight down into the flute, try pouring it down the side of the flute, similar to the way beer is poured, it will preserve more bubbles!
Cheers to Missouri sparkling wines and a happy New Year!