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With the launch of the SULA BRUT, a sparkling wine made in true methode champenoise style, it makes sense to store and serve this type of wine as its makers meant it to be. Here, a guide to get the best out of your wine.

The quality of all wine can be affected by the way it is both stored and poured. In sparkling wine, the addition of bubbles increases the need for good storage conditions and extra care when serving. Even the shape of the glass can have an effect on the intrinsic aromas and flavours in the wine.

Sparkling wines are somewhat more sensitive to temperature than other wines, and should be stored at below 20ºC. You should also avoid buying bottles that have been displayed in sunlight, and ask instead for bottles that are still in the storeroom or in the carton. Similarly, unless you have a room in which darkness can be maintained for most of the time, you should keep sparkling wine in any wrapping inside a box. If you store wine in a rack for any length of time, make sure you keep the wrapping.

There is no reason why sparkling wine bottles should be stored horizontally. However, there is no real harm in horizontal storage either.

The temperature at which sparkling wine is served is the only one that can be scientifically justified. The bubbles are part of the wine and must be steadily released; otherwise there is no point in having them in the first place. The temperature determines the rate at which they are released. If served at room temperature, the bottle would be dangerous to open, after which the wine would quickly froth up and go flat. Anything between 4.5ºC and 7ºC is ideal for a slow release of the mousse. Since one does not generally carry a thermometer, just make sure the bottle is well chilled and has spent a couple of hours in the fridge. Try not to leave it in the fridge for longer than a day because not only might the cork stick, but the refrigeration process actually extracts moisture from a cork, causing it to shrink.

Emergency chilling of a sparkling wine by putting it in the deep freeze for 15 minutes does not harm. Placing it in a bucket of ice and water (never just ice) is still one of the quickest ways to chill a bottle of fizz.

When serving sparkling wine, pour a little into each glass first, then go back and top each one up to between two-thirds and three quarters full.

SULA BRUT

A sparkling wine made in methode champenoise style, Sula Brut is made of a proprietary blend of three different kinds of white wines (blanc de blancs) from 12 vineyards, and blended by the company’s Californian champagne experts. The bottles are laid down in the temperature-controlled champagne cellars at the winery for over a year to produce the desired complex flavours. Each bottle is then hand-riddled and disgorged to reveal a creamy light nectar.


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