Bub­bles trou­ble? 9 rules to fol­low

Woolworths TASTE - - Raise The Bar - @ste­fankobald; @jules_s­tacey; @waldeck­roxan

“A BROADER GLASS AL­LOWS YOU TO SWIRL, RE­LEAS­ING THE ARO­MAT­ICS” – ROXAN WALDECK, SOM­ME­LIER

Ever ended up with a cas­cade of foam on the car­pet or a stray cork to­talling your crys­tal de­can­ter? Here’s how to avoid rookie mis­takes – and get the most out of your sparkling wine

CHILL YOUR BOT­TLE TO THE RIGHT TEM­PER­A­TURE

Be­tween 7 and 10 de­grees Cel­sius is your goal, with 8 de­grees the op­ti­mum tem­per­a­ture for most bub­blies.

Too cold and you’ll lose flavour, es­pe­cially with older vin­tages. Too warm and you’ll end up with a lot of foam, says Ste­fan Kobald, for­mer som­me­lier at The Saxon, who is now based at City So­cial in Lon­don. “That’s be­cause the bub­bles and mol­e­cules are more ac­tive in a warm bot­tle.”

DON’T PUT IT IN THE FREEZER

In­de­pen­dent somm Roxan Waldeck says it’s too easy to for­get about the bot­tle and over­chill it – or end up with an ex­plo­sion. “For quick-fix chill­ing, rather fill one third of an ice bucket with cold wa­ter, add a gen­er­ous amount of ice and a cup of salt. You’ll be able to pour your Cham­pagne in 15 min­utes, tops!”

CHOOSE THE RIGHT GLASS

Flutes are great for show­ing off streams of bub­bles in non-vin­tage sparkling wines, and coupes are usu­ally per­fect for older vin­tage Cham­pagnes, but the trend is to pour bub­bly into a white wine glass. “The broader glass al­lows you to swirl the wine, re­leas­ing the aro­mat­ics,” says Roxan. And never prechill your glasses as you’ll lose some sparkle, ad­vises Juliet Urquhart, bev­er­age man­ager at The Silo Ho­tel in Cape Town.

OPEN THE BOT­TLE THE RIGHT WAY

Re­move the foil and loosen the cage (the pros say this takes six twists of the wire). Leave it rest­ing over the cork to give you grip. Now, says Juliet, hold the cork steady with your thumb and use your other hand to slowly twist the bot­tle. “This gives more con­trol, and the cork will re­lease with­out much noise.”

And that means you stand less chance of a foam­ing bot­tle. “But if you’re star­ring in a mu­sic video or find your­self at a Grand

Prix – go wild!” is Roxan’s ver­dict.

NEVER LEAVE A PAR­TIALLY OPENED BOT­TLE UNATTENDED

“If I saw a bot­tle with­out a cage I’d get my­self as far away as pos­si­ble! “says Juliet. The cork is un­der pres­sure and re­mov­ing the cage can eas­ily re­sult in a self-open­ing bot­tle.” (It's also an open in­vi­ta­tion to any MCC lover lurk­ing nearby to move in on your ter­ri­tory.)

DON’T POINT THE BOT­TLE AT ANY­ONE

Though it re­ally de­pends on how much you like the per­son, says Ste­fan. “I know from ex­pe­ri­ence that it re­ally hurts when you’re hit by a cork as there are ap­prox­i­mately 8 bars of pres­sure in a bot­tle of Cham­pagne.” Roxan puts it in per­spec­tive: “That’s three times the pres­sure in one of your car tyres.”

HOLD THE BOT­TLE AT THE RIGHT AN­GLE

Tilt the Cham­pagne bot­tle at a 45-de­gree an­gle when open­ing (it’s safer) and hold the glass at the same an­gle when pour­ing (to re­tain the fizz).

CHOOSE A MAG­NUM FOR A CROWD

“A stan­dard bot­tle holds six glasses,” says Roxan.” For eight to 10 guests, open a mag­num so you can top up glasses.

TRY A VA­RI­ETY OF BUB­BLIES

“Ex­tra Brut, demi-sec, doux – all de­li­cious but dif­fer­ent,” says Ste­fan. “I love dry Cham­pagnes for ev­ery­day drink­ing. Demi-sec and doux are sweet styles, so might not be easy to drink on a hot day … un­less you’re drink­ing Moët Ice Im­pe­rial, made spe­cially to drink over ice.

Add fresh fruit for a re­fresh­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

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