Sparkling wines are versatile and there are varied styles. The characteristic acid and structure allows a perfect pairing with classic ingredients such as oysters, and also they’re a perfect companion for many international and fusion recipes such as Chinese and Japanese food.
The history of sparkling wines begins in France, in the region of Champagne. Hence, the name and prestige of the sparkling wine. Aforetime in Champagne red wine was produced, but the local producers observed a curious pattern. During the cold winters, the process of fermentation stops and it only activates back with the arrival of spring. This caused bubbles in the wine. Producers then found a way to improve and control this process of secondary fermentation. This marvelous accident was the start of the known traditional method used for the preparation of the finest sparkling wines.
Traditionally, sparkling wines are made from three different types of grapes:
- Pinot Noir: gives personality, sharpness, and clarity to the mixture
- Pinot Meunier: enriches the wine with sophistication, smoothness and roundness
- Chardonnay: adds creaminess, structure and a bouquet of white fruits and flowers.
Sometimes they’re all mixed together, sometimes each strain separately; it depends on the style of the Champagne. The Champagne exported its methods to other latitudes. Champonoise is the name of the method.
The success and originality of sparkling wine are based on the combination of cautiously selected grapes, the method of production and the conditions of each region. Wine expert, Macelo Papa, chose the Limari Valley for the production of Concha y Toro’s sparkling wines. This valley offers particular climate and geological conditions for the production of sparkling wine. It is also the privileged place for the cultivation of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, who have been transformed into the base of their sparkling wines. These grapes offer freshness, elegant notes of fruits and a mineral accent that seduces and differentiates their wines.
According to the style and age of the wine, the Inter-professional Committee of Champagne Wines divides the sparkling wines into four categories:
- For the body
- For the mind
- For the soul
- For the heart
Sparkling wines that are for the body are strong, corpulent, with an ultramodern and dry style, such as brut nature, extra brut and brut. For example, Subercaseaux Extra Brut, made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The majority percentage of Chardonnay gives originality to a complex and very balanced wine. Choose this wine to accompany an appetizer such as goat cheese. Its elegant structure and acidity also allows a great pairing with shrimps and white meats, such as fish and chicken.
If you feel more inclined for oriental foods such as sashimi, nigiri and sushi, including delicate foods such as fried tempura, I recommend you to choose Casillero del Diablo Devil’s Brut; its refreshing notes of lemon, green apples and mineral touch, harmonizes very well with prosciutto ham, caviar, anchovies and smoked salmon. Its dry style and profound acidity, together with the salty preparations of these meals, are absolutely compatible with the almost invisible quantity of sugar in the wine.
Sparkling wines for the mind are the young wines, vibrant, fresh, light and bright, with critical notes of fruits such as the style of Blanc de Blanc (100% Chardonnay). This wine is always welcome with appetizers that are served with seafood. On the other hand, sparkling wines that is for the heart (this category includes the styles of demi sec, sweet and rosé) are complex and friendly. Dominated by the aromas of butter cookies, cake, yeast, honey, linden blossom and sometimes cinnamon, are a good option for pastries such as fruit tarts.
Sparkling wines for the soul are mature, complex, rich, with a sophisticated bouquet that consists of flavors and spices such as hints of honey and sweet fruits. In this category are the wines Cuvée and Millésime, Subercaseaux Grande Cuvée is a fine blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that offers much elegance and the classic bouquet of the best sparkling wines. You can find hints of cookies, butter, nuts, together with citrus aromas. This wine, with all its finesse, can be served only by itself, but it can also be served with some sophisticated preparations.
All sparkling wines must be served cold (it’s recommendable to always have a bucket of ice at hand). The first phase of tasting sparkling wine is visual. Observe the color, the clarity, the size of the “chain” of bubbles that stay in the cup. In the stage of smelling the sparkling wine you can identify a great family of aromas. Your choice in sparkling wine depends in the type of wine and its composition, from citrus notes of youth to burnished products of its upbringing with its lees. And the mouth we can classify it from a light and fresh body, so structured, rich and creamy. For example, Casillero del Diablo Brut Reserva is a sparkling wine that’s medium bodied with a creamy texture, citrus notes and hints of tropical fruits and nuts. Remember that the famous acidity of a sparkling wine such as Casillero del Diablo Brut Reserva cuts the grease on meals just like a knife. Serve this wine with fried chicken or fish.
The versatility of sparkling wines gives us the unique opportunity to realize pairings of great variety of meals, from appetizers to desserts. It’s the perfect wine to use for special occasions such as new years and anniversaries, but also to celebrate a special moment in your life.