Ah, the summer holidays. A time to acknowledge recent accomplishments and toast to the year ahead. So as you pop the cork on some champagne or sparkling wine this week, give a little thought to exactly how you drink it, for the most enjoyment.
First thing's first. Forgo those fancy retro glasses and use a standard champagne glass, instead.
"This glass is referred to as a ‘coupe’ by aficionados, but you may know it better as the champagne saucer," Ed Carr, Chief Sparkling Winemaker for House of Arras told The Huffington Post Australia.
"The glass has a wide and shallow bowl and is the oldest type of sparkling or champagne glass, most popular in the early 20th century. The glass if often seen in media representations today, with its connotations of popular eras and luxury."
"However, if you like your sparkling with a fizz, you’ll have to drink it fast before it becomes a flat wine in a saucer. While it does make an iconic novelty for parties and hosting, it’s not great if you want the best from your sparkling," Carr said.
"The sparkling wine flute, in comparison to the coupe, is tall and narrow -- designed to capture the aromatics and deliver the wine to your tongue. The flute also has a smaller surface area which slows down the loss of the bead (the bubbles) last longer, and this retention of CO2 also helps to keep your sparkling wine cooler for longer," Carr said.
So now we have our type of glass sorted, how should we hold it for maximum bubble deliciousness?
"There are two schools of thought around how to hold a sparkling wine flute -- by the stem, and then by the base of the glass. That said, it’s a personal preference so I would go with what feels most comfortable. One thing is for sure, however, it’s best not to hold the bowl in your hand as this will warm the wine," Carr said.
There is also debate on how sparkling should be poured, and if the flute should be tiled to the side.
"Again, there are two common ways to pouring sparkling wine -- to hold the glass on an angle and pour, or stand the glass upright and pour into the centre of the glass. Deciding which way to go again, really depends on what feels most comfortable. Regardless of the way you pour yours, pour a small amount of sparkling wine into each glass, and then return to each glass, filling it three-quarters full. This will avoid the wine foaming over," Carr said.
Bad news if you don't finish the whole bottle -- sparkling and champagne really doesn't store well for future consumption.
"If you don't finish a whole bottle, I really wouldn’t leave it for more than 24 hours as the sparkling wine won’t be as fresh and it will start to lose its structure. If you are intending on storing a good quality sparkling wine stopper is a must. A silver spoon placed in the bottle's opening will not preserve your bubbles -- this is indeed a myth," Carr said.