You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Why you should drink Champagne throughout the year, not just at New Year’s


That Champagne toast you had at midnight on New Year’s Eve is fine. In fact, it’s great. I have had some memorable midnight toasts through the years. I’m sure you have too. But I’m also sure that I’ve had better ones at other times of the year. If you haven’t, I would recommend exploring that possibility in 2017.

Fizzy wine on Dec. 31 is like chocolates on Feb. 14, flags on July 4 and pumpkins on Oct. 31. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. But while I’ll probably never stump for all-year pumpkin displaying, I’m urging you to drink Champagne or other sparkling wine regularly, throughout the year, and not just when someone plants it in front of you at a wedding or graduation party. Make bubbles as much a part of your life as still wine is.

Sure, bubbly is celebratory, but why can’t you celebrate your life when it’s Wednesday at 6:42 p.m. in April? Why can’t you celebrate being alive on the day before Thursday? Even if you’re not celebrating, a nice, dry sparkling wine’s yeasty-bready goodness just plain tastes swell. It feels good in your mouth, too, and that’s worth something. There’s no reason not to have a bottle of bubbles on hand at all times. Two hours in the fridge, and it’s ready to drink — maybe on a Sunday afternoon when you have an Alison Brie marathon lined up on Netflix. For example.

You are depriving yourself of one of wine-drinking’s greatest pleasures if you put bubbles in that tiny December/January corner. Even if your sparkling season goes from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, you’re missing out. Besides being a great aperitif — possibly the best aperitif we have — sparkling wine is also good with just about every kind of food, from hors d’oeuvres to dessert. In Champagne especially (referring to sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France), high acidity makes this so. But bright acidity is not limited to Champagne, and all sparkling wine has those mouth-cleansing bubbles to scrub your palate clean no matter how mouth-coating the food you’re eating is. Plus sparkling wine is meant to be served well-chilled, which makes it even more refreshing. Name a drawback to sparkling wine, because I’m trying to come up with one, and I can’t.

We can acknowledge that Champagne is the top of the heap, the product of one of the world’s most revered wine regions, and because of this, some of it can be pricey. (OK, there’s the drawback.) The bright side is, it’s a great big world out there, and bubbles get bottled everywhere. If you can’t find Champagne within your budget, there’s also cremant from other parts of France. There’s cava from Spain. Prosecco and Franciacorta from Italy. Fizz from England. Sparkling wine from California.

These sparkling wines often aren’t made in the style of Champagne, where secondary fermentation in the bottle is what creates the bubbles … but it’s all wine with bubbles, and to me that’s 55 percent of the appeal.

Do you prefer lively, individually assertive, bordering-on-aggressive bubbles that imitate Pop Rocks, or do you like softer bubbles with less ego — ones that work together to create a creamy mousse reminiscent of sea foam rolling gently into shore? Big bubbles, little bubbles? Fuller-bodied, lighter-bodied? There are lots of styles to explore, and few things in wine exploration are as satisfying as figuring out what you like and don’t like.

If someone comes up with wine that gives me a neck massage while I’m drinking it and I have to choose between that wine and bubbles, I’ll abandon bubbles forever. Until then, I’m drinking sparkling wine January through December, and I encourage you to do the same. The wedding toasts and “Auld Lang Synes” that we encounter along the way will be as welcome as always, but now they’ll just be a part of the way we live, lifted by the effervescent splendor of wine that moves before our eyes, urging us to take notice and emote accordingly.

Here’s your strategy. Track down some brut, or brut rose, so you can put to rest once and for all that sparkling wine is too sweet (which is like saying movies are too violent). Get a Sharpie and a wall calendar. Remind yourself on said calendar to drink bubbles on a few select dates for a couple of months in a row. Start off a meal with a glass of bubbles. Have a glass at home before you head out for a night of whatever it is you do. Split a bottle with a friend through an entire meal. Taste two bottles side-by-side.

Just drink some good, dry sparkling wine a few times a month for two months, and if you still don’t want to bring bubbly into your life in a more committed way — meaning that you don’t exile it to year-end holiday season parties only — then you are off the hook. You are probably a lost cause as far as sparkling love goes. But if you have a few bubbly sessions and find that you can’t go on without having it all of the time (within reason), you don’t even have to thank me. Though, you could mention me in a toast. Nothing wrong with that.

Check back soon to find out if you’re using the right glassware for your bubbly. You might be surprised.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

‘Funky Drummer’ Clyde Stubblefield dead at 73
‘Funky Drummer’ Clyde Stubblefield dead at 73

Clyde Stubblefield, whose 20-second drum break to open James Brown’s 1970 single “Funky Drummer” became one of hip-hop’s most popular samples, died Saturday, Rolling Stone reported. He was 73. His wife, Jody Hannon, told The Associated Press that Stubblefield died of kidney failure at a Madison, Wisconsin, hospital. He had been...
Recipe of the Week: Baking mini pound cakes in glass jars
Recipe of the Week: Baking mini pound cakes in glass jars

Shay Baugh’s grandparents in Locust Fork, Alabama, always sent guests home with leftover pound cake, but about 20 years ago, that cake took on a different form. “Sometime in the mid-1970s my grandmother brought home the recipe for pound cake from her job at the flower shop. It was an instant staple at her house from then on. The recipe...
Not just Lady Gaga: Anti-Texas bathroom bill stars have pro-LGBT cred
Not just Lady Gaga: Anti-Texas bathroom bill stars have pro-LGBT cred

One minute Lady Gaga is flying over Houston, suspended by cables and dressed like Swarovski Batman. The next minute, she’s joining 140 or so entertainers to call for an end to “legislation that would target the LGBTQ community” in the Lone Star State. As the meme goes: Life comes at you fast, Texas. Would you believe that Texans have...
Get a taste of a rare treat at Easy Tiger
Get a taste of a rare treat at Easy Tiger

Art “Cowboys: East Germany.” This compelling visual anthropology exhibit from photographer Eric O’Connell examines the constructed identities and practices of the American cowboy and the cowboy lifestyle as taken up by the people of the former East Germany. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday through April 30. Texas Folklife, 1708 Houston...
HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’ transcends the usual rich-mommies drama
HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’ transcends the usual rich-mommies drama

In other hands (such as Bravo’s or Lifetime’s), the seven-episode HBO miniseries “Big Little Lies” would seem like one more needless, farcical ascent to higher income brackets to scrutinize the gossipy, status-conscious and downright mean lifestyles of the upper crust. Zeroing in on women usually, these tales specialize in disdain...
More Stories