Last night we attended the latest geek wine thing event: Sparkling Wine Thing. It was a blind tasting of 8 sparkling wines, ranging from non-vintage champagnes, to new-world sparkling wines, to vintage Cava. We were given the list of wines, and then attempted to identify them one by one. Each one was revealed before we moved on to the next, so the last ones were easier than the first ones.
I don’t have tasting notes for many of these, but I did glean some Fizz Facts:
- The reason champagne and other sparkling wines have foil around the top of the bottles is because originally they didn’t fill the bottles up after disgorging so it disguised the empty part of the bottle
- Cava must use the traditional method to be a Cava
- Polish glasses before pouring champagne as dirty glasses make the bubbles flat
- Champagne can only be made from three grape varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir
- Champagne should be served in fluted glasses which taper in at the top to trap the bubbles and the aroma. The goblet style glasses might have been all the rage at one point, but they don’t give the best champagne experience
- Non vintage champagnes are popular because you get consistency for the blend – so Mumm, Veuve Cliquot, Lanson always taste like the same regardless of what year you buy it
- Sparkling wines made using the Traditional Method will have beaded bubbles
And after all this, what did I learn? Well, I discovered that I don’t need a fancy champagne to keep me happy. I actually really enjoyed one of the cheaper wines on offer, the Lindauer Special Reserve NV from New Zealand, which I thought had good flavours, was quite full of bubbles, and had a beautiful blush of pink colour.