We here at the Basement are already getting ready for the craziest night of the year. New Year’s Eve is just a day away, and the time is right to consider which Croatian sparkling wine will you/we toast with come midnight.
To make things easier, we’ve already done half the work for you. The Basement wine list offers selection of top Croatian sparkling wines, which certainly won’t disappoint you or your friends. Moreover, whatever you choose, we believe that those bubbles will help you and your friends celebrate until late hours.
Here’s the a couple of information about the vinification of the above mentioned sparkling wines. Although they come from two different regions, Istria and Plešivica, method of production is the same. It is a so-called traditional method (ie. champagne method) by which French champagnes are also produced. (FYI, keep in mind that champagne is the name exclusively for the sparkling wine produced in the French region of Champagne.)
It all begins with the base wine. In Champagne we are talking about specific varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. However, our winemakers flirt with different varieties – both traditional and indigenous. On one hand, we have Plešivica which is climatically similar to the French Champagne and here we have Šember Rosé – pure Pinot Noir, while Tomac family combines Chardonnay with old Plešivica varieties. On the other hand, Meneghetti in Istria blends Chardonnay with Pinot Blanc and Noir. Once the base wine is in bottles, winemakers add yeast and sugar in order to push secondary fermentation. It is this secondary fermentation that takes place in the bottle, which is crucial for the production of sparkling wine. Sugars feed yeasts that produce CO2, which remains within the wine and thus creates worshiped bubbles. The time of aging on the lees varies and depends on the desire of winemakers. For example Tomac Millenium ages 2 years and Tomac Classic four years on the lees. After aging, bottles are rotated by hand or machine in order for dead lees to sediment into the bottle neck. Then comes disgorging (crown cap and sediment removal), followed by the liqueur addition (depending on the wishes of the winemakers) and corking with champagne cork. As for the size of bottles, they differ from 187 mL to 15L. Interestingly, large bottles have Biblical names. They say that sparkling wines age especially good in large bottles, so we also offer Meneghetti Classic magnum which is ideal for a larger group.
Here are some tips & tricks to consume sparkling wine:
1. When opening – remove just the foil, not the wire cap. It helps you control the cork. Place your thumb on the cork with the wire cap on and do not remove it until the bottle is fully open. The right way to open the bottle is by turning the bottle with the other hand while holding the cork. Do not spin the cork! This way you’ll have the situation completely under control as the pressure is released. Otherwise it is not desirable to make a sound when you open a bottle of bubbly, but since it’s NYE – just go for it ;)
2. Temperature – must be between 6 -8 degrees Celsius. Relax, we’ll take care of that ;)
3. When pouring into glasses – hold the bottle at the bottom and pour into glasses at an angle of 45 degrees down the side, not to have too much foam.
4. Glasses – do not necessarily have to be for champagne (flutes). Moreover, you’ll feel the aroma better if you drink from a white wine glass.
5. Enjoy – sparkling wines are intended for the celebration, and this is an ideal opportunity!