I love bubbly.
And it’s not like that’s a major revelation or anything. Regular readers of this column have witnessed me rave on and on about the wonders of sparkling wine for years now. But I love Champagne, I love cava, I love prosecco, I love sparkling shiraz, I love crackling rosé — I mean, unless it’s really sweet (and there are lots of those out there), I’m crazy about bubbly wine.
I’ve always been. I remember from the first moments of my young adult life, when I first began sampling wine, I adored sparklers. And while I’ve moved away from the sweet wines with which most of us begin wine-drinking, I’ve never lost my appreciation for effervescent wine.
But it sometimes presents a problem, in that once you open it, it must all be consumed or it goes flat, and is thereby rendered undrinkable, right?
Well, until recently, I would have said that was absolutely the case. But a marvelous little gizmo given to me by the Manitoba rep for Veuve Clicquot, my favourite Champagne, has changed my tune, and given me a reason not to hesitate to open a bubbly, even if it’s the end of the night and I’m quite certain the entire bottle won’t be finished.
I’ve seen other versions of this sparkler stopper, too in fact, I have a couple of them. And they all work very well. The problem used to be, of course, is that once a bottle of bubbly was opened, it was impossible — it still IS impossible — to get the cork back in the bottle, since the cork usually expands into a mushroom shape and simply won’t fit the opening from which it was removed. And the pressure from those millions of bubbles — and I’ve been told by experts that there are indeed MILLIONS of bubbles in a single GLASS of sparkling wine would simply blow the cork out again even if a person WAS able to get it back in the bottle.
But these stoppers are amazing. They hook over the lower lip of the bottle, much like the wire cage that helps hold the bubbly cork on in the first place. And they REALLY WORK!
I’ve used the Veuve stopper with the Royal de Neuville from France, the Valdivieso Brut Extra from Chile as well as Veuve Clicquot itself, and the results have been the same. None of the beverages is QUITE as bubbly as it might have been when first opened, but my guess is that it retains at least 75 per cent of its effervescence, if not 80 or 85 per cent. And it’s perfectly, wonderfully drinkable 24 hours later!
What a bonus for bubbly lovers like me! But just to be sure, before I wrote this column, I wanted to try it one more time. I’d been given a bottle of the Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc Brut 2011 from South Africa, a new entry on the bubbly market in these parts. This was and is a pleasant wine, although to my taste, I think the ‘brut’ is a bit of a misnomer. It definitely wasn’t sweet, but neither was it as dry as I expect anything labeled ‘brut’ to be. I liked, though, that while sauvignon blanc usually means citrus, this didn’t really have any citrus elements at all. (You many have gathered I’m not a huge fan of really citrusy wines.) So one sort-of minus, one big plus, at least for me. Tropical fruit abounds in this wine, which is truly very nice. And the best part — it’s $12.25 a bottle.
But back to the stoppers. I wish I could suggest where one might find these — I expect any place that sells wine accessories would be a logical place to start. I got the other ones I have as free gifts with the purchase of the wine they were promoting. Again, just make sure the swinging arms are tightly secured under the bottle’s bottom lip. Otherwise, you might get a surprise explosion in the middle of the night — and there’s nothing worse than hearing a noise like that and wondering where the heck it’s coming from.
I’d be interested to hear about others folks’ experiences with these closures. I never dreamed it was possible to restopper a bubbly, and for me, it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Or opportunities. To drink more bubbly. Not something I need, of course. But something I appreciate. Very, VERY much!
» Diane Nelson is a long-time journalist and former Sun staffer who really likes wine. A lot. Chat with her online at vinelines.ca or on twitter @vinelinesbdn
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 31, 2013