Bubbly Companions – sparkling wine
Friday, December 13, 2013
A bit of the bubbly is the hallmark of festive celebrations. But sparkling wine is good for more than a toast at the stroke of the New Year. It’s also great with a variety of delicious foods ranging from caviar to cookies.
The main thing to look for when selecting a sparkler to serve with food is whether it’s dry or sweet—serve the dry styles with more savory food and the sweeter styles with sweets. Traditional French style labeling is used on most sparkling wines. Wine labeled brut—the most common type—is very dry. Extra dry is actually slightly sweeter. Sec is medium sweet, demi-sec is sweet, and doux is very sweet. Demi-sec and doux are best as dessert wines or on their own.
The following are some suggestions for your holiday party that go well with sparkling wines:
- Cheese: Brie, Camembert, Colby, Comté, Edam, Gouda, Gruyère, Manchego, and Parmesan. Try Swiss cheese with Italian Spumante..
- Stuffed mushrooms and fried foods
- Oysters and shrimp (but avoid lemon or vinegar with the oysters and the heavy red sauce that is often served with shrimp)
- Even “casual” snacks such as potato chips and popcorn pair well with sparklers.
- Chicken wings—There are few things better than bubbles to cleanse your tongue of spice and heat—but this isn’t the time for fine Champagne; try an ice-cold Prosecco with those Buffalo or barbecue wings.
The Main Course
- Scallops with a little ginger, sea bass, and salmon. Or if you’re going all out, grilled lobster with olive oil is a great mate.
- Turkey, chicken, and pork also make tasty companions. And rosé sparkling wine can be a nice complement to food prepared with ginger, nutmeg, saffron, cumin, curry, and coriander.
Serve the sweeter sparklers with sweets—like the dessert, these can be lush, creamy, and fruity. If the dry styles are paired with sweets, it can leave a bad taste in the mouth—a flat, metallic one.
- Strawberries and Champagne are always a delicious combination.
- Italian spumante complements the classic almond flavored holiday cookies and fruit tarts.
- Rosé sparklers, even when dry, often have intense fruit flavors that pair well with medium-sweet desserts such as fruit tarts, apple pie with cinnamon, dark chocolate, and cookies.