Sparkling wine is the undisputed signature beverage of New Year’s Eve. But the festive nature of the drink goes beyond a countdown to midnight. Bubbly is a welcome addition to all types of seasonal celebrations and works perfectly with a range of delicious holiday foods and desserts. To help make your season extra special this year, we asked three wine experts for their advice on how to serve and pair sparkling wine.
Sparkling wine is often served in an elegant flute—but a fancy glass isn’t necessary. Many professionals actually prefer to use a different glass. “I am all about aroma, so I drink my bubbles out of a white or all-purpose wine stem glass rather than a flute or a coupe,” says veteran wine expert Estelle Bossy. “I can easily fit my nose in the glass and thanks to the expanded surface area, far more flavors and smells are released.” If you have a flute and a wine glass at home, pour a flavorful Champagne, like Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut, into both and notice the variation in aroma between the two.
No matter which glass you choose, acclaimed wine expert Christine Wiseman advises to aim for “a nice steady pour, which keeps the bubbles and it won’t overflow.”
When a generous holiday guest brings you a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, how long should you chill it before you serve? Our experts say for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours in the fridge. But if you add a few tablespoons of salt and water to a bucket filled with ice, it will be ready to pour in about 15 minutes. “Carbon dioxide dissolves better in chilled solutions, so the colder the wine, the fizzier,” says Bossy.
Famed wine expert Tonya Pitts likes a bottle of bubbly to start at 45° Fahrenheit before warming to 53° Fahrenheit as she serves it. This ensures all the flavors come through.
Whether your holiday meal is traditional or less so, sparkling wine is a wonderful accompaniment. A bottle of bubbly, like Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne, pairs beautifully with a range of delicious seasonal (and otherwise) dishes. Sparkling wine like Chandon Brut is delightful for a decadent holiday brunch and makes even a lunch of leftovers feel festive and special.
And don’t forget dessert. “I love bubbles and chocolate chip walnut cookies,” says Wiseman. “The salt of the nuts and chocolate pairs so well with the wine. I believe that even Santa would be a huge fan of this combo.”
Our wine experts all agree that the biggest myth about sparkling wine is that it should be saved exclusively for momentous occasions. “People think Champagne or sparkling wine should only be opened to celebrate,” says Pitts. “Actually, it should be and can be enjoyed at any time. It pairs well with anything—and nothing at all.”