Dazzle your friends with these must-know fizzy facts. And of course you will have to taste along as you learn. Be sparkling this season with our helpful buying guide to go along with these 12 bubbly bits.
1. There are about 250 million bubbles in a standard bottle of Champagne!
The house of Moët et Chandon has studied the fascinating matter of bubbles size, shape and number – just because! Try to count them all in this classic.
2. Danger: Cleanliness can kill
Detergent residue can coat the surface of your flutes and hamper bubble formation! Give your glasses a good (hand) wash with dish soap, and then rinse at least twice with very hot water so ensure that all detergent is gone. Polish with a microfibre polishing cloth (you should never be without one!) for immaculate glasses. Available at New District Dunbar Wine Shop for $5.99 or wherever fine glassware is sold.
3. Limoux is a region in southern France that made sparkling wines before Champagne was deliberately bubbly
Featuring the local Mauzac grape with a smidge of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc allowed, Blanquette which means ‘small white’ in the Old Languedoc dialect (say blahn-ket), is the nickname of the Mauzac grape. Antech Blanquette de Limoux shows off the grassy, apple, floral charm of Mauzac. Availble at New District Dunbar Wine Shop for $29.99.
4. Germans drink more sparkling wine than any other country
They get the record for popping the cork on over 46 million cases of fizz a year (France lags behind at 30 million cases). Sekt is the main style of bubbly made in Germany, and the snappy, fruity Dr. Loosen sparkling Riesling is a great introduction at just $16.99.
5. Weighty matters
The pressure in a bottle of Champagne is around 90 pounds per square inch (like a truck tire) and that can send the cork shooting out at over 45 kilometers per hour (or more depending on temperature and pressure). The distance a champagne cork can travel once popped is about 55 metres!
6. James Bond’s champagne of choice is from the house of Bollinger
A handshake deal between the Bolly owners and Albert (Cubby) Broccoli in 1978 formalized this enduring relationship. Full-bodied and seductive, this could be your secret weapon.
7. Spain got in on the bubbly action in the late 1700s
And they are the fourth largest producer of sparkling wines behind France, Italy, and Germany. Look for the word ‘Cava’ for a lovely bottle of fizz produced in the bottle-fermented method, just like champagne. Usually made from local white grapes they are well priced and well worth exploring. For the most elegant choose Parés Baltà Cava Brut Organico for $23.99, and for a deal when you need a case, grab the Cristalino for just $12.99.
8. The champagne house of Ruinart seems to be the first to bottle and sell a rosé Champagne.
Try this gorgeously decorated bottle of Nocturne Rosé pink bubbly from Champagne Taittinger. It possesses a whisper of sweetness to go with lovely raspberry flavours.
9. It’s more than okay to have breakfast bubbles!
On a Sunday morning, along with waffles, peach compote and fluffy whipped cream, try some Moscato d’Asti. Made in the Piedmont region, it’s a gently sparkling sweet delight that is low in alcohol and big in orange and peach flavours.
10. Prosecco is a lifestyle
Not as complex as traditional bottle-fermented sparkling wines, but beloved for sheer drinkability and value. This gleaming gold bottle is simply made for festive giving.
11. Farewell to the flute?
Many sparkling wine producers are now recommending a tulip-shaped glass (like a slim white wine glass) so that you have a little room to gently swirl the good stuff and inhale the toasty, nutty aromas and let the wine open up. Gérard Liger-Belair, a physicist at the University of Reims, who’s made it his life’s work to study bubble science says that ‘the spherical shape of the glass, which also encourages vertical movement, respects the role of the mousse’. Trust Riedel to make just the perfect (and yes, pricey) shapely stem.
12. British Columbia is committed to the bubble game
At least 60 of our wineries make spectacular fizz, like Fitz Brut 2013. From one of the the Okanagan’s newest producers, Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, it’s seriously aged and brimming with brioche and apple flavours.