Sparkling wine by any name.
Except during the week leading up to New Year’s Eve, more bubbly is consumed during the summer than at any other time during the year.
Why is this so?
* Sparkling wine is the most refreshing of all wines. It’s a guilty pleasure on a hot summer day.
* Sparkling wine is the preferred beverage of weddings — and more weddings take place at this time of year than at any other.
* Sparkling wine’s popularity has soared right alongside the popularity of ethnic cuisine. Especially with spicy fare, the effervescence of sparkling wine helps to “put out the fire” and balance out the flavors.
This is a good time to remind ourselves that not all sparkling wines are created equal. And because they’re made in an array of styles, it’s helpful to know which types work well with various types of food.
The sweeter sparklers make great companions to fruit-based desserts, or can be used as desserts in place of food. They’re a great way to extend a special evening.
Dry sparklers are ideal for appetizers and main courses. These are the ones that work especially well with spicy dishes.
If there’s a turkey, or perhaps a Cornish game hen, in your near future, think: “Brut.” (It’s never too early to start stocking up for Thanksgiving.)
Blanc de Noirs can be paired with “challenging” meats, such as ham, or with similarly salty fare such as dates wrapped in bacon.
Blanc de Blancs is the go-to sparkler for sushi, shellfish and other delicacies from the sea.
Sparkling wines are the most versatile of all food companions, so don’t be afraid to do some experimenting.
And this summer, don’t be shy about raising a glass — even if there isn’t a plate of food in sight.