The Sparkling Wine Tutorial
Find out how to taste and appreciate classic-method sparkling wine with this guide brought to you by Berlucchi.
Take a look at the colour of the wine. What do you see? Sparkling wine comes in a spectrum of colours, from pale straw to golden yellow to antique gold. Rosé sparklers can vary from pale pink to deep salmon to copper. Sparkling wines become more intense in colour as they age, however rosés become lighter over time. This way you can have some indication of how old the wine is.
When tasting sparkling wines, take note of the line of bubbles traveling to the top of the glass. How big are they? How long does it take for them to float up? Also notice the mousse at the top of the glass. If it disappears very slowly and looks soft and delicate, this is a sign that the wine has been aged slowly and expertly.
“Your initial sip will show you the most predominant note, probably the same one you discovered while breathing in the aromas; and as you take further sips, you will be able to distinguish further characteristics of the wine.”
Inhale the scent of the the sparkling wine several times. It helps you to focus your sense of smell if you do this with your eyes closed.
There are five basic aroma types for sparkling wine: floral, vegetal, fruit, dried fruit and nut and lastly, spice and pastry aromas.You will not find all of these together in one wine but you will find certain predominant aromas.
Paler coloured sparkling wines with green hues will usually show floral and fruity aromas, characteristic of the freshness and youth of the fruit used. Sparklers of more golden tones will often show ripe and even dried fruit, nuts, spices and sometimes pungent vegetation.
See our Aroma Table for some popular examples:
|Floral||Vegetal||Fruit||Dried Fruit & Nut||Spice & Pastry|
|orange blossom||dried straw||plum||dried fig||cinnamon|
|bergamot||moss||mango||candied fruit||fresh butter|
Take a sip and keep the liquid in your mouth for a few seconds. The sensory experience that you had in the previous step should be replicated as you swallow the wine. Even though your sense of taste is less sensitive than your sense of smell, tasting the wine will allow you to pick up on the astringency, acidity (or crispness), heat of the alcohol and the effervescence of the bubbles. Your initial sip will show you the most predominant note, probably the same one you discovered while breathing in the aromas; and as you take further sips, you will be able to distinguish further characteristics of the wine.