These tips and tricks will help you get the most from sparkling wine this festive season.
What do you look for when you're buying bubbles? Do you prefer dry or sweet? Perhaps you're more of a fruity bubbles lover, or you're looking for something special to serve guests at a party.
With so many bottles of bubbles on display at Liquorland, it can be a tough call when deciding on the perfect palate-teaser. When Invivo co-founders Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron teamed up with Irish talk show celebrity Graham Norton to make the Invivo Graham Norton Prosecco, the first conversation was about what they were all looking for. "Nothing too serious or stuffy; something dry and light with gorgeous fine bubbles, beautiful floral and citrus hints, with a fine mousse and lovely crisp finish," explains Tim.
"Prosecco is a wine that's affordable and fun, but being from the DOC Prosecco region in Italy, it's guaranteed to stand up to a high quality and standard. We wanted it to be something to celebrate with, or to enjoy at a picnic, taken to a party, or just enjoyed at home with a pizza."
At Toast, we know there's nothing more disappointing than buying a drink you don't like, so we've come up with a few tips for you so you can pick your sparkles with confidence this year.
- Know what you’re drinking: If only so you can show off at parties! Made with traditional Champagne and méthode techniques, New Zealand sparkling wines usually utilise a combination of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Offering great value for money, Kiwi bubbles are known for their fresh, zesty acidity influenced by New Zealand’s unique maritime cool climate.
- Lingo: Because Champagne influences much of modern sparkling wine, there are a lot of tricky French words to navigate when shopping for the perfect bottle of bubbles. “Brut” – means dry-style, and isn't too sweet. “Cuvée” refers to the first pressing of the grapes which is considered the best, rather like virgin olive oil.
- Ideal drinking time: For those nights when the lure of Netflix and Uber Eats is too great, New Zealand non-vintage sparkling wine is made to be enjoyed straight away, so there’s no need to start a dusty cellar just yet.
- Storage: Keep your sparkling wine upright in the fridge to help retain the bubbles and keep it away from damaging light.
- Serving temp: Take your wine out of the fridge (and if you can resist temptation) wait half an hour before serving to help the aromas and flavours really shine.
- There are many foods that match with brut-style bubbles, and our top pick this summer is Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée, a sophisticated example of a New Zealand sparkling. Ideal as an aperitif this wine also pairs beautifully with fresh seafoods like freshly shucked oysters, tempura or smoked salmon, and soft, rich cheeses such as triple cream brie or mascarpone.
- Nothing beats a chilled rosé on a hot summer day, and this summer we are loving rosé bubbles. Our top pick is Squealing Pig Sparkling Rosé, a gorgeous pale salmon-pink sparkling wine that's crisp, and silky smooth. Again, this wine is ideal as an aperitif or is a match made in heaven with delicious, fruity summer desserts.
Depending on what’s important to you, there are a few options here. The traditional champagne flute is popular as it helps the bubbles to last for longer, and is particularly good with brut-style sparkling wines. Our Citròn Royale is given some serious sophistication in this gold-stemmed Jazz Champagne glass from Stevens, and this Sparkling Sidecar is given a vintage touch in this coupe glass, if you want to channel your inner Humphrey Bogart or Audrey Hepburn!