We launched our 750ml cork-and-cage bottles in May 2020 after around a year of R&D to find the right bottle, cork and cage combination to create the perfect ‘pop’. During this time, we learnt an enormous amount about Champagne, Prosecco and English Sparkling wines: how they are made and bottled and how they are served.
REAL is comparable to a sparkling wine or Champagne and, as with these celebratory drinks, the way REAL is served is critical to the enjoyment of the drink. We work really hard to deliver to you the perfect liquid: the different flavour notes, just the right astringency, depth of colour and flavour, its clarity, and the level of carbonation. If this is up-ended into a tumbler with ice, a lot of this delicacy is lost.
So how to do this properly? Just like a sparkling wine, it is mainly about the temperature of serve, the glass it is served in, and maintaining the right level of fizz. Let’s talk about each of these in turn.
The Perfect Serve: Let’s talk temperature
First things first: a little word on storage. On receipt of your drinks, store them in a cool place (ideally 20ºc or lower). Transfer them to refrigeration a day or so before consuming, so that you can enjoy them at the ideal temperatures mentioned below.
Our taste buds are complex things. They read flavour in very different ways depending upon the time of day, what you have eaten the night before, and also temperature. If you eat or drink something very cold, it attenuates the flavour.
Champagne and white wine experts suggest the ideal temperature to drink a sparkling wine is 8ºc or a little above. Considering that most fridges are set at 3-5ºc, we would always suggest taking the bottle out of the fridge maybe 5-10 minutes before serving, depending upon the outside temperature. This just lets the bottle warm a touch before it is poured.
Not all glasses are created equal
While the majority of common debate centres around the use of either a flute or a couple, detailed research by sparkling wine experts has shown that traditional alcoholic drinks of this nature are far better served in a glass of similar shape to a white wine glass. Serving in a coupe allows the liquid to lose carbonation too fast, and to warm up quickly. The flute is preferred as it showcases the bubbles as they rise through the glass., however the narrow body of a flute means that you may lose the delicate aromas that are present in the wine.
In order to get the best out of a sparkling wine, you need to allow oxygen to absorb into the liquid to open up both flavour and aroma. You also need a glass that narrows at the top to hold in these soft aromas which contribute so much to our taste. So most purveyors of fine glassware now push you towards a tulip rather than a flute for the best appreciation of sparkling wines. Apparently Maximillian Riedel, the CEO of Riedel, one of the greatest producers of wine glasses, has set a personal mission to make the Champagne flute obsolete despite selling a very large quantity of them.
You can use a normal white wine glass, but you then run the risk of serving too much, and losing both fizz and chill too quickly. The Champagne tulip is generally smaller, encouraging a serve of around 150ml at a time.
It’s all about the fizz…
At REAL we have worked really hard to perfect our carbonation process. The fizz in our bottles is around the same level as a Prosecco, but less than a Champagne. Our bubbles are small and tight, delicately rising through the glass just like the best alcoholic bubbles rather than big gassy bubbles like a soft drink.
But there is an art to maintaining the perfect fizz.
Firstly, get the temperature right. At really low temperatures, bubbles stay in the liquid and don’t rise. Too high and the carbonation will fizz off as you pour and little will get to your mouth. So the 8ºc helps to get the right level of bubbles.
But cap your bottle immediately after you have poured the first glass. If, like me, that 750ml bottle only tends to last one round of serves, that may not be possible. But if you are going to put it back in the fridge, put in a quality stopper, just like the ones we have available on our site. Any carbonation that comes off the liquid is trapped and holds the rest in, ready for the next serve.
And although that bottle will always be best drunk on the first day, if capped straight after drinking they last perfectly well for 4-5 days.
So, store cool, chill well, pour gently. Savour and enjoy the perfect serve.