Facts and Thoughts

Sparkling Times This Holiday Season

October 25, 2017 | Brian Freedman

Now that fall has arrived, more and more restaurants and consumers will begin to focus their attention on sparkling wines. This makes perfect sense, and it happens every year: With the holidays not too many months from now, and Thanksgiving coming up far sooner than most people realize—the 4th of July feels like it was just yesterday!—sparkling season is here.

This year, however, we’d like to make a recommendation to everyone who enjoys these fizzy treats: Drink more of them, and with a wider range of food than you have in the past. Because there are precious few other styles of wine that frame food as well, and with as much versatility, as great bottles of bubbly.

It comes down, as it so often does, to acidity. Excellent sparkling wine tends to possess amplified acidity, which not only keeps the wine fresh but also allows it to cut through richness in food, making your mouth water and readying your palate for a second bite, and then another sip of sparkling wine, and then another bite… It’s the very definition of a virtuous cycle.

In addition to acidity, the bubbles themselves serve to amplify a sparkling wine’s food-friendliness, since they act like little sponges, scrubbing the tongue and prepping it for another onslaught of flavor and texture with the next forkful of food.

Then there’s the versatility of sparkling wines to pair with a cross-section of cuisines that most other wines would struggle to handle on their own. Indeed, it’s this versatility that sets sparklers apart: Stir-fried vegetables in a salty soy-based sauce? No problem for sparkling wine; we love the Cantina Frentana Sparkling Cococciola with it. Friday chicken, with its nutty crust and buttermilk-soaked interior? A nice brut nature, like the Via de la Plata, is perfect. Caviar or oysters? A classic brut Champagne like Jean-Pierre Boudouin’s Prestige bottling is the way to go.

Too often, sparkling wines are spoken of as a single style, a vinous monolith with little variation from one bottling to another. This could not be further from the truth. From Prosecco to Cava to Champagne, and the entire world of pet’nats with their funkier profiles and zippy bubbles, the world of sparkling wine is as big and broad as its red or white wine counterparts.

So this time of year, as restaurants start to pump up their lists of sparkling offerings, make the resolution to drink more of them. And not just before a meal or to celebrate the holidays with, either. Rather, pop those corks alongside food and throughout the meal. The interaction of bubbly and food can and usually is magical. All you have to do is give it a chance. And there are plenty to choose from—and that will open your eyes to the range of styles—in the Artisan’s portfolio.