5 Tips for Choosing Sparkling Wine

New Year’s Eve really starts to pop with the opening of a nice bottle of bubbly, but why limit the celebratory beverage to special occasions? Dan Springrose of Minneapolis’s only sparkling-focused bar, Relevé Champagne Lounge, spills on what you need to know.

Sparkling wine

  1. Cross borders – France and Italy boast champagne and Prosecco, but other countries also effervesce. “Germany and Austria are producing some beautiful sparkling wines,” says Springrose, who also recommends Chandon Reserve Brut as a Californian that borrows Champagne varietals and techniques.

  2. Try sample sizes – “Good-quality half- and single-serving bottles are increasingly available in our market, especially for a bottle of sparkling wine,” Springrose says. “Bring a few home and experiment.”

  3. Think pink – Springrose loves a good rosé for celebrating, such as a Jean Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Rose. “It’s made from pinot noir and gamay; the fruit and bright acidity with a touch of that Burgundian earthiness make for a splendid balanced wine.”

  4. Pair to please – Springrose says he’s taken local inspiration for pairings, picking a Wisconsin goat Brie to go along with a bright Champagne. “If you’re pairing something with sweet dessert, you just need a touch of sweet in your wine, too.” He also recommends extra dry or demi-sec to couple with a nut or fruit tart.

  5. Serve in style – Champagne flutes aren’t always best. “I recommend a normal tulip-shaped wine glass, or for vintage and true Champagnes, a large balloon glass in which one might serve pinot noir. These glasses help to capture the delicate aromas of the wine.” 




Web Exclusive Recipe

Consider the cocktail – Sparkling wine plays the “supporting role” in any cocktail appearance, so a nice neutral Cava is just right. Substitute fresh cranberry juice for the lemon juice in the French 75 (gin, lemon, sugar syrup, sparkling wine) and you’re left with a refreshing, holiday-inspired Cranberry 75.