VinePair is ringing in the Holiday Cheers with a spotlight on the bottles we’re gifting (and hoping to receive) and a look inside some of our favorite holiday traditions and recipes — from elevated eggnog to all things bubbly. Plus, we’ll be reflecting on the past year in the beverage industry and shifting our focus to the drinks trends we expect to see in 2022.
It can become second nature to wine lovers to always swirl a wine inside your glass — I even find myself doing it with water, cocktails, and beer — but when it comes to sparkling wines like Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, this impulse should be avoided.
We swirl a wine in order to open it up and bring aromas to the forefront, but in a sparkling wine the carbonation does that for you. As the bubbles rise to the surface, they carry with them the aroma compounds we’re searching for. Swirling, while great for still wines, will actually speed up this process of the bubbles rising to the surface and will cause the wine to go flat.
If you’re looking to assess a sparkling wine, don’t swirl it, but ask for it to be poured into a white wine glass instead of a flute. A white wine glass will provide a larger surface area, thereby allowing more of the wine to come in contact with oxygen, and creating the best opportunity for you to experience the aromas. I actually serve all sparkling wines in standard wine glasses unless I am hosting a party where flutes simply feel more fun and festive.