Wine enthusiasts and foodies know how pairing wine with the right food can enhance the dining experience. You pop, fizz, clink and savor every slice of grilled steak while washing it down with the perfect bubbly. But how do we know which pairs with which?
In this article, let’s take a trip down memory lane and discover the history of Vitis vinifera. Plus, we touch on what sparkling wine is and the perfect types of food you can pair it with.
History of Vitis Vinifera
Do you know that the first grapes discovered weren’t found in the most famous wine-making countries we now know today, like France and Italy?
Georgia, the country, is the place where the oldest wine-making is recorded, and this was over 8,000 years ago!
Vitis vinifera, the typical grapevine, has thousands of subspecies that are now used to making wine worldwide. They originally came from the Caucasus Mountains, an entire region from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. And right at the southern base of the mountains are where various subspecies of Vitis vinifera were found.
People have discovered fossilized pips, or the grape seeds, on these areas which are enough proof that grapes and wine-making date back to 8000 BC. Armenia is also part of the history of grapes as the oldest winery is found there.
From there, the viticulture then spread to other continents such as North Africa, Europe, and North America.
Where Did Sparkling Wine Originate?
So for those who love the sweetness or tanginess of sparkling wine, you have Dom Pierre Pérignon to thank for.
He was a French monk and a cellar master within the province of Champagne, the northeast region of France.
One fine day in 1693 while continuing to do his cellar master duties, he couldn’t remove the bubbles of the wine he was making. And out of curiosity, the French monk tasted his wine mishap and was glorious of the discovery and shouted, “Come quickly! I am drinking stars!”
But that’s not all. The French monk’s inquisitiveness also led to the development of harvesting red grapes and transforming them into white wine.
The difference between sparkling wine and ordinary red or white wine is the carbon dioxide content in sparkling wines. The CO2 content is responsible for the effervescent nature of sparkling wines. During the second fermentation development, winemakers then add yeast and sugar that create carbon dioxide.
The Best Sparkling Wines From Around the Globe
If you’re a true-blue fan of sparkling wine, you probably know where wine distributors source their bubbly. Here are our top five picks:
California has been one of the leading locations of wine production and for a good reason. The place produces topnotch wine with versatile flavors from all the different wineries in that state.
Served during President Nixon’s “Toast to Peace” in 1972 in Beijing, the Blanc de Blancs from Schramsberg winery is a must-have. You get apricot and citrus flavors that are refreshing and unwilted.
The flavors are enough to practice your curry-making skills as it’s also good to pair with any curry. Or you may also stick with the traditional cheese plates and shellfish.
How can we forget where our favorite bubblies came from? While the best sparkling wines are found here, one that’s a crowd favorite is the Henriot’s Millésime Brut 2006.
This is a vintage sparkling wine that has a lovely effervescence and a mouthwatering golden fizz that’s enough to lure you in and pour a glass (or two). Once you take a sip, the flavors of rosemary, parsley, and hazelnut will engulf your entire palate.
This delicious vintage sparkling wine is best paired with veal and a side dish of vegetables. You may also grab a thick slice of pork filet mignon with some herb toppings and wash it down smoothly. Or for the nonred meat-eaters, try a grilled chicken with some vegetables on the side.
Now let’s head on down to Italy and appreciate how fragrant and evened out the flavors are for Berlucchi’s ‘61 Nature 2010 Franciacorta.
It comprises of 80 percent Chardonnay and 20 percent Pinot Nero. It is also an extremely balanced sparkling with flavors from bread crust, white peach, yellow apple, and has a fine effervescence perfect for your round of parties.
In fact, this bubbly received a silver award in 2017 at The World’s Finest Glass of Bubbly competition.
This Italian sparkling wine is apt for dense and creamy dishes like pasta. Wash down your lasagna, white pizza, or ravioli with a wine that has just the right acidity and refinement.
Spain is also one of the world’s biggest wine-making countries, with over three million acres of vineyards. And one can’t miss Agustí Torelló Mata’s Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012.
This distinctive wine has relatively intense but pleasurable aromas of cooked fruits, pastry, and butter.
On the palate, the Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012 has a very well-balanced taste and acidity. A gentle flavor of toast also complements the brioche and buttery finish.
This bubbly is an excellent aperitif that is versatile enough to be paired with your usual favorites. From foie gras, cod, baked whitefish, puff pastries to rice, risotto, red meat with gravy, stew, steak tartare, and whitefish salads.
Austria is undoubtedly part of wine-making history as the oldest vineyards are recalled in the country over 4,000 years ago.
And the NV Brut Rosé from one of the oldest wineries in Austria, Jurtschitsch, is a must-have. The NV Brut Rosé has a beautiful rose color with a freshness that lasts.
The elegant taste and finish are mostly from 30 percent Zweigelt, 30 percent St. Laurent, and 40 percent Pinot Noir. It gives your palate a hint of the tanginess of a variety of cherries, the earthy flavors of honey, and the sweetness of apples and pears.
The best pairings of any rosé champagnes are rice dishes, light pasta, and light salads. This bubbly is also a suitable aperitif, followed by a nice, light smoked salmon dish.