Questions about sparkling wine

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Questions about sparkling wine

Postby LittleJack » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:30 pm

I don't drink, so I need some help and information from those more knowledgeable than me. I'm working on a plan for an event this year at which I'd like to serve Champagne (or something close enough, like Asti, Cava, Prosecco, etc.) and all I know about it is to never serve Andre, and that Dom and Cristal are just a tad out of the budget.

BevMo is having their 5 cent wine sale for the next month or so. The low end stuff on that sale seems to be around the $15 dollar range, which of course would average out to about $7.50 per bottle. On the other hand, they also carry about a dozen varieties around $7.00 a bottle that are not on sale.

My questions are thus:
1. Does it make any sense to buy it in March if I'm not going to serve it until late August?
2. Is there a wrong way to store it?
3. Are the $15 sale bottles really that much better than the $7 not-on-sale ones? I want happy guests, not ones with raging headaches the next morning (which I understand is the result of drinking Andre)
4. Is there a better / cheaper place to buy bubbly?
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby chuckularone » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:32 pm

Buying now is certainly not a bad idea. It will keep. I would store it in the basement, if you have one and if you don't, the coolest place in your house that you have.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby Savannah » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:42 pm

Yeah, whatever you do, avoid the Andre. It's weak and it's terrible.

Do you have a Trader Joe's store where you are? You can get good sparkling wines there for $6 and up. There's an inexpensive Italian Lambrusco that's not too sweet and some German white and red sparkling wines (Schloss Biebrich) that are tasty--etc. I bring stuff like that for sparkling cheerful playa afternoons and it's well received. :)

Grocery Outlet might also have decent prices on sparkling wines.

My friends and I go through a bottle or two of Cristalino of a Sunday afternoon during singing rehearsals. ($7) It's a readily available slightly dry white sparkling wine. I like Schloss or the Lambrusco better, but I'm not into dry wines specifically. Anyway, it's decent.

. . . There are champagne stoppers on Amazon for $4 if you're apt to serve only half a bottle at a time, although that's more of a default world problem than a playa problem. ;)
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby LittleJack » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:44 pm

Thanks Savannah. I do live pretty close to Trader Joe's, and I appreciate the recommendations!
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby Dr. Pyro » Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:48 pm

Total Wine & More has terrific deals. For around $7 you can do just fine. That's where I would go. Their Barefoot Bubbly, which Trader Joe's traditionally carries, runs about a buck a bottle cheaper at TW&M.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:48 pm

Grocery Outlet might also have decent prices on sparkling wines.

I think that while the prices at gross out can be amazing, it's a bad place to send someone who's not confident in their choices there. The offerings change in random ways. And the staff may not be knowledgeable...
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby VultureChow » Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:56 pm

Big fan of Cava, which is Spanish sparkling wine. At the $7 dollar price point, I find it more drinkable than an American sparkling.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:00 pm

The Spaniards have more to prove, I suppose. All we have to do is not make Bartle and James...
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby Savannah » Sun Mar 02, 2014 5:31 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
Grocery Outlet might also have decent prices on sparkling wines.

I think that while the prices at gross out can be amazing, it's a bad place to send someone who's not confident in their choices there. The offerings change in random ways. And the staff may not be knowledgeable...


Yeah, Trader Joe's is better under these circumstances--I was just being mindful of the fact that not everyone has one. TJ's has more consistent selection, and post reviews and descriptions.

Occasionally G.O. doesn't even have sparkling. They do schedule wine tastings, which might be useful for someone other than LittleJack, who abstains.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby trilobyte » Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:36 pm

Get some and try it yourself. If you don't drink it, have a campmate be your taste-tester. Don't serve anything that you and your campmates wouldn't drink for yourselves. I think Eric or someone else on ePlaya made a comment to that effect for booze and mixers, and it really resonated with me. It doesn't have to be spendy, but please do have some kind of standard. The playa has no shortage of people serving really terrible booze on the playa. IMO when you serve really bad stuff you're really just gifting hangovers. :)

As for storage, +1 to the tips others have said. My understanding is bubbly will keep 3-4 years. With regular wines you want to store on the side to prevent it from getting corked, but I understand that with the sparkling stuff you want to store it upright to prevent oxygen from escaping through the cork.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby asr9754 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:30 pm

We did a blind wine tasting party and this one was a surprise winner and super inexpensive (~$5) from Trader Joes. Everyone rated it "Good" or higher, no one rated it "bad", so it was the crowd pleaser of the evening:

http://www.tayloreason.com/corkscrew/wi ... lier-cava/

FYI just be aware you'll have to bring back the empties, so plan on space and bags or boxes to haul away the bottles. Or make them into art?
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby Jovankat » Sun Jun 08, 2014 6:43 pm

I know this is an old thread but I jut wanted to say; just make sure you chill the wine before uncorking. It will fizz up ad go everywhere if it's warm.
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby BoyScoutGirl » Mon Jun 09, 2014 4:39 pm

Is there much to worry about with altitude differences and fizzy drinks?
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Re: Questions about sparkling wine

Postby chuckularone » Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:47 am

The short answer, A little.

The air pressure at 4000 feet is ~ 60 kPa. The pressure at sea level is around 100 kPa. Typical sparkling wine is under around 6 atmospheres of pressure (http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/PeterHui.shtml). That translates to roughly 600 kPa. That's (if I'm mathing correctly) about 7% pressure difference between opening it at sea level and 4000 feet of altitude.
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