Break Out The Bubbly

As the holiday season approaches, tis the season to pop open a bottle of champagne. Whether you’re celebrating something special or unwinding after a long day, Minibar’s guide to champagne will help you enjoy this wine anytime.

How To Pair Champagne: You might not instinctively think to pair Champagne with dinner, but champagne pairs well with some non-traditional choices – like pizza, fried chicken and risotto, as well as more decedent options like oysters and smoked salmon. The acidity and fizz cut the rich, greasiness of these foods - so go ahead and have a glass of bubbly with your french fries and hot dogs!

Champagne: is made of a blend of three grapes: chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir. The cellar where it is made, rather than the vineyard at which the grapes are grown, affects the taste and quality. While sparkling wines are made around the globe, to be considered Champagne it must be produced in the Champagne region of France. 

Other Sparkling Wines to Know:

Cava: Produced in Spain, Cava is made up of Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, and is made in the traditional Champagne-style without breaking the budget. 

Prosecco: Out of Italy and featuring the Prosecco grape, this sparkling wine is produced in bulk and features prominently in the Bellini cocktail.

How They Compare: The major difference (other than the grapes) is in the process of fermentation (the “bubble making process”). Champagne goes through a second fermentation in a sealed bottle. For prosecco and cava, the second fermentation is done in a large vat, also known as the Charmat method. 

What It All Means: Each wine has different amounts of fizz, either frizzante or spumante. The easiest way to determine how much fizz your bubbly will have is to simply compare the corks. If the cork has a string attached to it, you’ll have light fizz (frizzante) and if you notice a wire – traditional for Champagne – then you’ll have heavy fizz (spumante). 

A Note on Taste: In general, Champagne is rich and complex, while cava and prosecco are lighter and slightly fruitier. 

Minibartender Tip: Why pop when you can saber? 
Check out how to Saber a Champagne Bottle via