Bubbles in the air, spring is here!

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Bubbles in the air, spring is here!

Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to celebrate the start of a new, and for many, a favourite season! What better way to celebrate a sparkling spring than by popping open a bottle of bubbly?!

It’s not that we don’t love the season of sipping red wine next to the fire,  drinking spicy mulled wine or hot toddies… but it’s sell by date has come and gone and we’re ready for swimming pools, beaches and bikinis.

So dust off your champagne flutes, dig out the sun lounger and raise a toast (or two!) to sunshine, warmer weather and summer on its way!

Most Champagnes are a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Like any wine, Champagnes range from sweet to dry.

Here are the labels to look for:

Demi-sec – The sweetest of Champagnes, but not as sweet as a dessert wine. It means “half sweet.”

Dry – A shade drier than demi-sec.

Extra dry – One step drier.

Brut – The driest form, and the most popular.

There are some special categories, which tend to be more expensive than the traditional Champagne blend:

Blanc de Blancs, made only with Chardonnay grapes – It generally goes well with lighter foods, such as seafood and vegetables. Also good as a pre-dinner aperitif.

Blanc de Noirs, made solely from red Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, with a deeper golden color than the Blanc de Blancs – It makes a great pairing with full-flavored foods, such as meat and cheese. These Champagnes tend to be rare and expensive.

Rosé – The color comes from the addition of Pinot Noir wine at the second fermentation, the point at which still wine becomes Champagne.

But what is the difference between Champagne, MCC and sparkling wine… you might ask?

While they might be similar, they are certainly not the same. In one of our previous blogs, we went through it in detail. However, in quick summary, Champagne is made by using grapes only grown in Champagne, the north eastern province of France. MCC (Methode Cap Classique) is South Africa’s own version of the French Champagne which uses the same fermentation process. This is the closest you’ll get to the real deal. Sparkling wine is wine that has carbon dioxide added to it later in the process.

Champagne or sparkling wine is simply delicious as it is. However, there’s more than one way to incorporate the ingredients of spring into your champagne cocktails and that’s with floral and fruity flavours to pair with the bubbles. So – if you’re going to throw a spring bash, or maybe a Spring Garden party… why not offer your guests some delicious and easy-to-make cocktails.

Every now and then, you want to have a drink on the fancier side of life. A quick way to do this, is to try out some of our favourite champagne cocktail recipes.

The Classic Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients

3 drops bitters

1 sugar cube

30ml Cognac

125ml chilled champagne or sparkling wine

Directions

Drop bitters onto the sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac, and top with Champagne. Superb!

Have a looked at our website for some great offers on Champagne and Sparkling wines

The Traditional Mimosa

What’s better to serve at brunch than a fabulous mimosa recipe made with dry sparkling wine and orange juice?

Ingredients

A dry sparkling wine, not sweet, such as Nederburg Cuvee Brut or any time of ‘’Cava’’, a dry, Spanish sparkling wine, such as Elvi Cava Brut.

Orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed otherwise your usual shop bought will do.

Directions

A traditional mimosa recipe calls for equal parts sparkling wine to orange juice. While we think this ratio tastes the best, if we’re serving a crowd for brunch, we do hold back the wine a little. There is also the option to add a splash of orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or triple sec.

When you’re making a mimosa, always add the sparkling wine first, and then top with orange juice. This way, the cocktail mixes together on its own and won’t make a sticky mess at the top of the glass. A little tip:  don’t stir as this will cause the wine to become flat and definitely make sure the wine and juice is chilled before you prepare the mimosa.

Frozen Champagne Slushies

Something that is really ‘’hot’’ for the new Spring Season is the grown-up’s version of Slush Puppies. You can now make your own Champagne Frozen cocktail. Perfect for one of those really warm days.

Strawberry Champagne Slushie

Ingredients

Fresh Strawberries, smashed up

Honey

Sparkling wine or champagne

Directions

Begin by dividing the bottle of sparkling wine in half. Pour half into a blender, then pour the other half into a large glass, cover and set aside in the refrigerator. Add strawberries and honey to the blender and blend until all chunks have disappeared. Pour this mixture into ice cube trays and freeze until completely solid. Once the ice cubes have formed, remove them from the trays and return to blender. Add the remaining champagne and blend until a thick, slushie consistency has formed. Pour into champagne glasses and serve. Absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious and refreshing!

The perfect snacks to serve with your champagne or champagne cocktails

You’ve got the drinks sorted for your spring occasion. But what about some snacks to go with? Champagne is such a versatile drink, you have a lot of options when it comes to the accompanying food.

Champagne contains high levels of acidity and a small amount of sugar. These two extremes complement elements in almost any food, from a tame poached salmon to a spicy Indian curry. And then there are the bubbles! On a basic level, popcorn and potato chips go so well with champagne …. They amplify the bubbles but also balance out the tart taste of the champagne.

The following food pairings are recommended for traditional brut Champagnes and sparkling wines:

  • Scrambled eggs

  • Nuts, especially almonds

  • Popcorn and potato chips

  • Cheese

  • Any pasta or risotto, especially with cream or mushroom sauce. Avoid heavy tomato-based sauces. The tomatoes clash with the high acidity of the champagne.

  • Fish and seafood, especially lobster

Enjoy your spring season, the bubbles and the beautiful weather! For a full range of sparkling wines and champagnes, explore our range here.

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