Ever since its first sparkle, sparkling wines and Champagnes in particular have been the preferred choice for celebrations. Whatever the occasion, it has to be bubbly. With the Chinese New Year upon us, seems like the perfect beverage of choice – but it’s so pricey. Never fear, Sassy to the rescue! Read on to discover some affordable options to keep you in the bubbles this holiday…
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine. It is made the same way champagne is produced. but with different grapes, the Macabeu and Xarello and Paradella. Together, they balance fruity sparkling wine of baked apples and almonds and it’s not quite as sweet as Prosecco. In Singapore you can expect to pay $55 for a good bottle.
Currently Singapore’s hottest wine: Prosecco. It is made from the Italian grape Glerna. Italian tradition dictates that you can only drink Prosecco in the springtime. In Venice, every bar pours Prosecco in the afternoon as a quick ‘pick me up’. Luckily, that’s year-round here in Singapore! Fresh and crisp Prosecco is fermented twice in a steel vat rather than in individual bottle, making it less expensive to produce and ready to drink more quickly. It is a wine made to be drunk the same year it is produced. Typically it is very aromatic, with notes of apple, pear, some citrus and some almond flavors. Great for blending and creating cool poolside cocktails. Try the infamous Bellini made with Prosecco and peach puree, or a Citrus Punch of Prosecco, and a squeeze of lemon, orange and pineapple juices. You can expect to pay $30 for an excellent bottle in Singapore.
Uniquely Australian, sparkling Shiraz begins life as a Shiraz still wine and is then bottled for a second fermentation where it fizzes. It is a deep dark red with rich blackberry, black cherry fruit flavors. It pairs well with cheese, barbecue or turkey. You can expect to pay $50 for a good bottle in Singapore.
Only sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France is allowed to be called Champagne. Champagne is made using the method traditionelle, a costly labor-intensive technique that involves a second fermentation in the bottle. Unlike soft drinks or sparkling water, Champagne is not carbonated.
The style of champagne is contingent on the sugar levels in the wine. “Extra brut” is very dry, “brut” is dry and “demi-sec” is medium sweet and “doux” is very sweet. NV (non vintage) is made from a blend of grapes and aged for at least 15 months, whereas vintage champagne is from a single harvest and is aged at least three years. Blanc de Blancs is made from chardonnay and Blanc de Noirs is made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Champagne provides flavours of toast, butter, nut, and yeasty biscuit. The bubbles should give you a tingling flavour and big smile! Be prepared to pay $100++ for a good bottle in Singapore.
Once you’ve got your glass of bubbly, try some of these fun facts on your friends and enjoy your new reputation as an ‘expert’!
- Champagne has three times more gas than beer.
- If you’re drinking quality champagne, look for “collerette” – these are bubble trains on the sides of the glass.
- In a 750 ml bottle of champagne, there are some 49 million bubbles.
- Sip your wine…. especially with Champagne, if you drink it too quickly, the bubbles (read alcohol) enter your bloodstream so fast that it can result in a headache.
Finally, when you are hosting a party, don’t be too quick to fill your friends glasses. The time to top up a glass is when there are two sips left in the glass, topping up more frequently will only ensure that the wine is never more than quasi-chilled. So relax, grab a glass and have some fun! Cheers!
To get a good bottle of wine or host your own private wine party contact: Shawn O’Hara, Consulting Sommelier, My Own Private Cellar, email@example.com
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