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  • set of flutes on a tray filled with sparkling wine

Pop, Fizz, Clink! Who’s ready to dive into the festive season with some tantalizing bubbles? And what better bubbly to have in your glass than Domaine Carneros sparkling wine!

From grand toasts to cozy evenings by the fireplace, however you choose to celebrate the holiday season, let Domaine Carneros be your bubbly companion, turning moments into unforgettable memories.

To fully savor our wines (and any other sparkling wine or Champagne for that matter), it's important to adhere to proper sparkling wine etiquette, aka the “dos and don’t” of all things sparkling. Our comprehensive guide will help you navigate the world of sparkling wine with grace and sophistication, this holiday season and beyond.

Selecting How Many Bottles to Serve

Selecting How Many Bottles to Serve

Ah, the golden question: how much is enough? We recognize that’s the number one question every host asks him or herself before a party, and the answer lies in your gathering’s nature. If you’re having an intimate soiree (4-6 people), consider starting with two bottles, ensuring everyone gets a generous pour or two. Hosting a grander fête? A safe estimate is half a bottle per person, so 10 bottles if you’re having 20 people. Or, if you want to live large, think bigger (as in bigger bottle size) with a Magnum or Jeroboam for your party.

Shop our Magnums & More and cheers to your upcoming celebrations!

The Best Serving Temperature

Bubbles are fussy about temperature, so you’ll want to treat them right. Chill the bottle to “The Goldilocks Zone” (typically between 45-50°F for most sparkling wines) before drinking. Too cold, and you risk muting the wine’s aromas; too warm, and the effervescence may smack you in the face, and that’s just not fun.

Note: if you need to chill your sparkling wine quickly, you can wrap it with a damp paper towel and place it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. It’ll be perfectly chilled and ready to pop. But remember, leaving it in too long, especially for an extended period, will cause it to explode, so please don’t forget about it! Alternatively, before filling your ice bucket, add two cups of kosher salt, cold water and lots of ice to speed chilling time.

On that note, we may as well share the best temperature for storing wine, too. If you're thinking long-term, store your sparkling treasures horizontally in a cool, dark place, preferably around 55°F. Just make sure it’s able to stay at a consistent temperature, away from light and vibration, which can alter the wine.

How to Open a Bottle of Bubbly

How to Open a Bottle of Bubbly

We have to admit, there’s something magical about the sound of that pop, but it does take a bit of finesse to ensure it’s done right. To open your sparkling wine, hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle, then remove the foil and wire cage gently, while holding your thumb or hand over the cork taking care not to shake the bottle. Here’s a fun fact: All sparkling wine and champagne cages can be unscrewed in 6 turns.

Now, holding a cloth or napkin over the cork to prevent it from popping prematurely, twist the bottle (not the cork) while maintaining a firm grip on the cork. The cork should emerge with a gentle sigh, not a loud pop. Now, let the festivities commence! If you’re ready to impress, consider kicking off your soirée with our Sparkling Celebration gift set.

How to Choose the Right Glassware

When it’s time to raise your glass, let’s first make sure you’re holding the right one. Spoiler alert: you can use any glass you want however we recommend you select a flute or tulip-shaped glass specifically designed for sparkling wine, as these glasses help preserve the wine's effervescence and aroma. Why not make a statement with Domaine Carneros Etched Flutes? Not only are they glamorous, but the pronounced curve helps capture the complexity and depth of our sparkling wine.

Note: Serving sparkling wine in a regular wine glass or Champagne coupes will open up the aromas and can cause the bubbles to dissipate quickly.

Tips for Pouring Sparkling Wine

Tips for Pouring Sparkling Wine

Pouring is an act of grace, but there’s also some science to it. Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle while pouring, which helps to maintain those beloved bubbles but minimizes the chance for an overflow.
Initially, you’ll want to fill the glass only halfway to allow room for the wine to breathe and for the bubbly foam to settle down. After that initial pour, though, you can top up the glass if desired.

Tasting Sparkling Wine

We know you can’t wait for that first taste, but here are some tips for getting the most out of your sensory journey. Always hold the glass by the stem or base to avoid warming the wine with your hand, because sparkling wine is best enjoyed when it stays cool. Then, oh so very gently, swirl the wine in the glass to release its aromas, taking a moment to inhale the bouquet of the bubbly.
Now for the good part: the first sip. Notice the fruity, floral, and yeasty notes (like in the 2019 Brut Rosé). Taking small sips will allow you to fully appreciate the flavor and effervescence. Sip, don't gulp, and let the wine coat your palate to savor its complexity.

Pairing Sparkling Wine With Food

Sparkling wine’s versatility is its superpower. From seafood to poultry, light appetizers to desserts, sparkling wine pairs well with a variety of dishes. Opt for Brut or Ultra Brut with savory dishes and sweeter styles like a Demi-Sec with desserts.

Wine Tip: Dosage is the step in winemaking when a mixture of wine and sugar is added to the newly disgorged bottles. For instance, our crisp Ultra Brut has the least amount of sugar added (0.5%) while our luscious Verméil Demi-Sec has the most (2.5%).

Some easy bubble-friendly bites include: Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Cucumber Rounds, Cranberry and Ricotta Crostini with Prosciutto, and Savory Parmesan Crisps.

Enjoy Responsibly

Enjoy Responsibly

While sparkling wine is a celebratory drink, always drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol intake. If you’re venturing out, designate a driver or arrange for alternate transportation if necessary. And if you’re visiting us at the château in Napa Valley, the same rule applies: be sure to arrange a designated driver ahead of time to get the most out of your experience.

By following these sparkling wine etiquette guidelines, you’re set to imbue your festive moments with a dash of sophisticated bubbly brilliance, not just this holiday season, but well beyond. Ready to host your own sparkling soirée? Visit our Wine Shop to bring a taste of Napa’s best bubbly to your own home this season.