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Champagne, Sparkling Wines are the Little Black Dress of Wines

Champagne, Sparkling Wines are the Little Black Dress of Wines

Every woman has that dress, that outfit that she can wear to any occasion. It is the little black dress. She can wear it to the office.  Dress it up and she can wear it on date night.   It is versatile and never lets her down.  Sparkling wine is equally  versatile. You can serve it at any celebration.  You can serve sparkling wine with fried chicken or simply sip it while watching your favorite movie.  A sparkling wine will never let you down.

But, why?  Why do sparkling wines complement most foods?  There is not a single reason or a scientific theory that I know of.  Consider a couple of factors.



Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, and other sparkling wines and made from different vintage wines.  The vintage is the year the wine is produce. Winemakers use the higher quality wines pressed from each year and combine the pressings to create cuvée sparkling wines. Each year’s wines have unique characteristics and qualities, regardless if the grape is the same.  For example, there are differences between a 2015 Chardonnay and a 2016 which makes each distinguishing.

A buffet of flavors, and characteristics are on display when you bring the best of the best together.  Mr. Chris Hallowell, a wine and spirit journalist, explains the blending process well. Hallowell said, “most bottles are blended from different vintage wines, resulting in a cuvée that’s greater than the sum of its parts; they tend to showcase minerality, a characteristic that adds depth to fruity, savory, meaty, and gamy flavors; and these wines possess an unparalleled acidity that cuts through rich, fatty dishes and surmounts even high-acid ingredients such as tomatoes or vinegars”, in an Epicurious article. Food pairing becomes simpler and less exacting when the wine possess broader traits.

little black dress

Verv Prosecco


All Rules Apply

There are a few rules that prevail when you are pairing food with wine.  These rules eliminate what kinds of wine that should not be paired with certain foods.  This makes the wine selection process easier. For example, opposite flavors with opposite flavors.  You can pair spicy Thai food with semi-sweet Riesling.  When you follow this rule, it eliminates bold, rich reds like Malbec from your selection.  Most importantly, you save your mouth from experiencing a three-alarm fire.

All food pairing rules apply to sparkling wines. Use our earlier example, opposite flavors with opposite flavors.  Pair the same spicy Thai food with a Sec or Demi-Sec sparkling wine.  A Sec or Demi-Sec are semi-dry wines. These wines have a slightly high sweet taste, lower alcohol and reduce the “heat” level impression.

You often hear red wines with red meat. They are complementary flavors. Tannin, found in red wine, will “cut” through the fat and salt in red meat, and not overwhelm the meal.  Interestingly sparkling wines are not high in tannin, although many Champagnes are made with red grapes like Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Shiraz.  Sparkling wines have similar relationships with fatty, salty foods. Potato chips, French fries, anything wrapped in bacon, or short ribs are good combos with Brut or Extra Dry sparkling wines.  The sparkling wine acidic level brings balance. The food is less salty and fatty on the palate.

Tonight, try a sparkling wine with your meal.  Do not save the bubbles of milestone events. Every day is a celebration.  You something new!


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