A glass of bubbly has the power to transform even the dullest affair into a celebration. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or simply someone who enjoys the occasional glass of wine, knowing how to bring out the best in your wine is important. Sparkling wine is typically saturated with carbon dioxide which gives it the characteristic fizz or bubbly nature. Just like with any other type of wine, serving sparkling wine at the right temperature helps to preserve its flavor and aroma.
So should sparkling wines be chilled? Yes, sparkling wine should always be served chilled. Sparkling wine is best served chilled because the cooler temperatures help to preserve the carbon dioxide in the wine. If sparkling wine is stored at high temperatures, the fizziness of the wine will dissipate and this will affect both the flavor and texture of the wine. Cooler temperatures keep sparkling wine crisp and preserve the bubbly nature of the wine which is what makes sparkling wines stand out.
Why Does Temperature Matter?
Wine is wine after all, so why does it matter what temperature you serve your sparkling wine at? Temperature is important when it comes to storing and serving wines because it affects the flavor and texture of the wine. Sparkling wines such as champagne are especially sensitive to temperature since they can easily lose their fizziness or bubbly texture when they are stored at the wrong temperature.
It is important to chill your sparkling wine just right because if you serve it too cold you will mask its core flavors and if it is too warm you risk ending up with a flat and dull flavor. Chilling your sparkling wine gives it the delicious crispiness and fizziness that you want to get from sparkling wine.
How To Chill Sparkling Wine?
The key to getting the best out of your bottle of bubbly is striking the balance between too cold and not cold enough. Sparkling wine is at its best 45°F to 50°F (7°C to 10°C). Whether your sparkling wine is red, white, or rosé, it is best served chilled. So how exactly do you get your sparkling wine to the perfect serving temperature?
Chill Your Sparkling Wine in the Refrigerator
The simplest way to chill your sparkling wine is to put a room temperature bottle of sparkling wine in the refrigerator for 2.5 to 3 hours. After about three hours your wine should be at about 40 to 45°F. Once the bottle of sparkling wine is nice and chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. This is because most refrigerators will be at approximately 35°F which is a little colder than you want your sparkling wine to be. Allowing it to sit in room temperature for a few minutes before serving ensures that your wine warms up to the perfect serving temperature.
Chill Your Sparkling Wine in the Freezer
Sometimes you may not have hours to wait for your bubbly to chill in the refrigerator. If you are short on time, you can pop your bottle of sparkling wine in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. After the thirty minutes have elapsed, remove your bottle of wine from the freezer and allow it to sit in room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This will ensure that you do not serve it too cold which would interfere with the crispiness and flavor of the wine. It is always important to keep in mind that if you leave your bottle of wine in the freezer too long, it will explode. Never leave your bottle of wine in the freezer for longer than 30 minutes.
Use a Wine Bucket to Chill your Wine
An ice bucket is the fastest way to chill your sparkling wine. Not only is it much safer than using a freezer, but an ice bath in ice and water will chill your wine much faster. To use an ice bucket to chill your wine start by filling the bucket with ice and water till it is about halfway full.
Using a combination of ice and water will help your wine chill faster than if you use ice alone. Place your sparkling wine in the ice bucket and allow it to chill for 20 to 30 minutes. To make sure that your bottle chills evenly, turn it from time to time so that you get the right temperature all-round. After 30 minutes, your wine should be perfectly chilled and ready to enjoy.
What Not to do When Chilling sparkling Wine?
Do Not Store Your Sparkling Wine in the Refrigerator For More Than Three Days
It may seem like the most logical way to keep your wine but storing your sparkling wine in the refrigerator for long periods will damage its flavor and crispiness. When you keep your wine in the refrigerator for extended periods, the cork starts to dry out. Once the cork starts drying out, your wine will start to oxidize and as a result, the flavor and aroma will start to change.
Champagne experts from Moet and Chandon recommend that for all sparkling wines including champagne, Prosecco and Cava, the best way to store them is in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. Once the wine is stored this way, you can put it in the fridge 2 to 3 hours before serving to get it to the right temperature. Ideally, you should not leave sparkling wine in the refrigerator for more than 4 days as it will start to oxidize.
Do Not Pop Your Sparkling Wine Open
The characteristic pop and overflowing bubbles from your bottle of sparkling wine may seem festive but you want to retain as much of the bubbles in the wine as possible. This will help keep your bubbly fizzy and full-bodied. After chilling your wine to the perfect temperature, you can use the following simple process to open your bottle.
- Make sure your wine is properly chilled: Cool temperatures decrease the pressure in the bottle so it is less likely to overflow when opened.
- Remove the foil and loosen the wire cage: Cut the foil on the bottle and start to loosen the cage. Place your thumb over the cage and then twist the cage 6 times to loosen it but do not take it off the bottle.
- Remove the cork: Hold the bottle at an angle of 45 degrees and press one thumb on the top of the cork while holding the neck of the bottle. Now slowly rotate the bottle, not the cork, back and forth. Pressure will slowly build in the bottle as you continue to rotate it and you can then slowly lift your thumb off the cork and it will release on its own.
Tips For Serving Sparkling Wine
Do Not Serve Your Sparkling Wine in Flutes
Flutes are undoubtedly one of the most popular ways to serve champagne and other types of sparkling wine. This is because they showcase the effervescence of the wine remarkably well and they also look great. However, the narrow and elongated shape of a flute tends to mute the aroma and flavor of your champagne or wine by restricting airflow. So to get the best out of your sparkling wine, it is best to avoid serving it in a flute and go for a wine glass with a wider and rounder surface area.
Chill Your Glasses
After chilling your sparkling wine to the perfect serving temperature, you want to make sure that the wine glasses are not going to warm the wine up. This is why you should chill your wine glasses for about 10 minutes before serving your wine. It is best to use glasses with stems so that the person drinking the wine does not warm it with their hands as they drink it.
Do Not Decant Your Wine
Sparkling wine is made what it is by the effervescence caused by the presence of carbon dioxide in the wine. If sparkling wine is exposed to air for too long, the carbon dioxide will dissipate and the delicate flavors of the wine will be affected. It is, therefore, best to avoid decanting sparkling wines since you may alter the flavor and aroma of the wine.
More serving tips:
There is something festive about sparkling wine that makes it the perfect addition to any celebration. However, sparkling wines like champagne and prosecco need to be chilled and served with care to get the best out of them. The perfect glass of chilled sparkling wine should typically be between 45°F to 50°F. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to chill your sparkling wine without altering its flavor profile and fizziness. Make sure to chill your wine glasses as well to get the perfect glass of sparkling wine every time.