It's almost time to break out the bubbly! Even if you don't have any extravagant plans for New Year's Eve, there's no better way to ring in 2012 than with a Champagne toast. So this NYE, take an uber-glam cue from the ladies who've graced Champagne ads over the years. See the evolution of women in Champagne ads, from the vintage to the modern, and cling some glasses to the New Year!
- It begins like any other winemaking procedure: the grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay) are harvested, pressed, and the juice is placed in vats.
- Next yeast is added. The yeast reacts with the sugar in the grapes, and this produces alcohol. This takes about six months. At this point, the wine is flat. Thus begins the second fermentation process that turns it into bubbly.
- Sparkling wine: A catchall term used for any bubbly without a specific regional designation, this is often applied to American wines.
- Champagne: Sparkling wine produced in the French region of the same name. The "Champagne" definition was protected by the Treaty of Versailles, but since the US never officially signed it, some older American producers use the Champagne name, too.
- Cava: Spain's contribution to the sparkling family is named for the cellars in which it is produced.
- Prosecco: A sparkling wine produced in Italy, mostly in the Veneto region.
Read on for a closer look at all the adjectives you may see on a sparkling wine label.
Crisp sparkling wine is elegant and festive enough on its own; a splash of mouth-puckering pomegranate liqueur and a fragrant lemon twist simply elevate it to the next level. It's sure to start your night off right, whether you choose to make these cocktails to order or decide to place the requisite ingredients next to the simple recipe for a self-service cocktail bar.
We're in the final push of the holiday season, but there is still some celebrating to do — a few champagne toasts included! That being said, ring in 2013 on a healthy note with Giada De Laurentiis's favorite healthy indulgence: fruit-filled Bellinis. In an exclusive POPSUGAR interview, Laurentiis shared a few tips and tricks on how to enjoy this tasty treat during the most tempting time of the year.
The champagne- and fruit-filled Bellini, unlike most sugary cocktails, is a low-calorie option (only 78 calories per four-ounce serving), while fruit is filled with fiber and antioxidants. You can have the best of both worlds by blending a bag of frozen fruit with two tablespoons of sugar in a food processor, then adding a spoonful or two to a flute of champagne. If you are hosting guests, then consider making a Bellini bar with a a variety of fruit purees. Giada recommends raspberry, blueberry, and the classic mango. Finish off your party with light appetizers that aren't bread-heavy, like this spicy chipotle hummus dip served with veggies. Cheers!
Sure, you can have a straight glass of bubbly during the holiday season, but gals love a good cocktail, especially when there is sparkling wine involved. Update your old mimosa routine by serving bubbly with pomegranate seeds, kumquats, and frozen blueberries, to name a few. Or, if you're looking for something sweeter, why not try a cake Champagne cocktail and rim the glass with colorful sugar crystals? Take a look at these six Champagne cocktail ideas, and start popping those corks.
- Use berries: Drop a few fresh raspberries or blackberries in your glass for a fruity addition. The delicate champagne bubbles will get trapped in the berry, and you'll be left with a fizzy treat at the end of your drink. Pomegranate seeds are another great option, as they float really sweetly among the bubbles.
- Make a champagne cocktail: This classic libation involves a sugar cube, bitters, and just a touch of Armagnac.
- Play with interesting liqueurs: A bit of cassis transforms a glass of champagne into a kir royale. Play around with your favorite liqueurs, like St-Germain or crème de violette, to create memorable drinks.
- Create a sugar rim: Get crafty with your champagne glass by using sanding sugar. Colorful sugar rims are unexpected and playful.
- Make a strawberry garnish: A strawberry and a sprig of fresh mint can make a lovely garnish — one that makes any occasion even more celebratory.
How do you like to fancy up your glass of bubbly?
When one of country's top sommeliers invites you to a tasting of little-known Champagnes, how do you say no? That's the predicament I found myself in yesterday, when Eugenio Jardim, wine director of Jardinière, invited us to join a tasting with Champagne importer Esprit de Champagne. Thankfully, I had no reason not to accept.Photo: Susannah Chen
Although certain brands, like Moët & Chandon or Perrier-Jouët, are prevalent in America, there are thousands of wines from the region of Champagne that have never made their way stateside. Wine importer and Esprit de Champagne founder Neil Michael Dixon saw this gap and, in an effort to bring high-quality labels to the United States, spent years honing relationships with growers across the region. "It was quite a lot of hard work," Neil said of getting his foot in the (famously tight) Champagne door. There, most business is conducted locally, and many excellent producers don't even ship to other parts of the country, like the South of France.Photo: Anna Monette Roberts
One prime example of this is Eric Isselée, a domaine out of the village of Cramant that produces a style of Champagne that's starkly different from what's available on shelves now. The 2009 Cuvée des Grappes d'Or Blancs de Blancs ($35) is more creamy than crisp, thanks to a secondary process of malolactic fermentation. Rather than the yeast-tinged bouquet that so many classic French Champagnes offer, this bottle possesses a certain quality that can only be described as a deep earthiness, followed by a minerally, almost salty finish. Since it's currently sold only at a handful of retail stores and restaurants on the West Coast, this vintage Champagne is still relatively scarce. If you see a bottle of this, hop on it.
When you're celebrating the onset of 2012 tomorrow night, don't fall short on chilled bubbly. If you've got a warm bottle of Champagne and very little time to make it cold, we've got a fast solution for you.
Place your sparkler into an ice bucket or another tall plastic container. Add ice to the bottom and sprinkle the layer with a few tablespoons of salt. Continue to repeat layering ice and salt until the combination reaches the neck of your bottle; add cold water until it reaches ice level.
In a mere ten minutes, your bottle will be chilled. This method of chilling works much faster than simply sitting the bubbly in ice. Adding water increases the chilly surface area, and salt speeds the drop in water temperature (along with ice), making your sparkling wine frigid much faster. Have your own secret tip for chilling Champagne? If so, we'd love to hear about it!
St-Germain goes well with almost everything, from whisky to tequila, but The Hummingbird cocktail combines delicate champagne bubbles with sparkling water and a lemon twist. This refreshing cocktail won't leave you feeling tipsy after a drink or two, but it's still incredibly celebratory and perfect for the holiday season. Are you craving one yet? Keep reading for the recipe.