Sparkling wine tasting is truly a hobby of mine and has been for years! I mean, I did live in Oregon wine country for a few years and what else is there to do besides go sparkling wine tasting?
People ask me all the time why bubbly? And have I always loved bubbly? And here are my responses, “why not?” and “YES!” I have always loved carbonated beverages and while I do love wine, I love sparkling wine so much more.
When I started Bubbly Side of Life I started hosting at home sparkling wine tasting experiences for my friends really as an excuse to open up several bottles of bubbly at one time, try it and review it.
These random events turned bigger and bigger as word spread that about how much fun a sparkling wine tasting can be. And here’s the best part, you don’t need to be a professional or an expert to host one, let me show you how to do it the easy way.
Sparkling Wine Tasting At Home
Keep in mind is that these do not have to be super formal at all. We have hosted a formal sparkling wine tasting with tasting mats and tasting notes and completely informal experiences tasting and talking about the bubbly we’re trying. So this can be exactly what you want it to be.
When I came back to the Midwest after living in Oregon people used to ask me if I could bring the Oregon sparkling wine tasting experience to the Midwest. And while I’m not sure if that’s exactly what I did, I did bring the Bubbly Side of Life experience which is just as fun and unique.
So how do I prepare for a sparkling wine tasting experience at my home, someone else’s home or virtually?
Types of Sparkling Wine Tastings
Typically when we do a sparkling wine tasting we have 4 bottles that we taste through.
The last sparkling wine tasting experience I hosted here’s what we did:
- We compared two vintage sparkling wines. I had a 2016 and a 2017 of the same sparkling wine from Argyle Winery in Oregon. It was a brut sparkling wine from the same vineyard just 1 year apart.
- We then compared two different sparkling rosé of pinot noir from two different wineries in the Willamette Valley.
This allowed the guests to learn a little bit about vintage (and non vintage) sparkling wine and with the rosé of pinot noir it gave them a taste of other types of rosés that they have not tried very many of.
If you’re thinking that sounds complicated, it doesn’t need to be at all. The general idea is to try different types, to compare/contrast them and use these to decide what you like. Here are a few ideas:
- Prosecco Tasting
- Cava Tasting
- Champagne Tasting
- Store bought
- Local Winery Sparkling Wines
- Vintage vs Non-Vintage
- Sparkling wines from a specific wine region: Willamette Valley, Temecula Valley, Napa Valley, Sonoma, Walla Walla, the Okanagan Valley, etc.
- Specific price (all $20 bottles, all $50 bottles, etc)
- Dry to Sweet
- Rosé sparkling
- Canned bubbly
- One of each: cava, prosecco, champange, sparkling wine, crémant
We have done so many tastings where we are tasting 4 different kinds of prosecco or 4 different types of rosés. And one of my all-time favorites is for people to try a cava, prosecco, champange, sparkling wine, crémant because it’s such a fun experience.
Sparkling Wine Tasting Snacks
Once you decide what type of tasting you’re going to do, it’s a good time to decide on the type of food you’re going to have.
We did a tasting in August and it’s National Panini month, so while we nibbled on the amazing charcuterie boards, we also paused mid-tasting for a panini break.
Since sparkling wine is a natural palate cleanser, you really can’t go wrong with the snacks you choose but here are some favorites for sure that pair well with bubbly:
- Potato chips
- French Fries
- Mozzarella Sticks
- Chicken Wings
- Mini Pizzas
We’ve also had experiences that focus more on pairings which is also fun too. You still have multiple sparkling wines but also multiple French fries or cheeses for example and then taste each together to determine your favorite pairing.
Sparkling Wine Tasting Mats
As I mentioned this can be as formal or as informal as you want it to be. And sometimes, we like to be a bit more formal so we created these really easy to use tasting mats so people can remember exactly what they loved.
In fact, the sparkling wine tasting we hosted, not only did we not use tasting mats, but we were not all sitting down or all standing up. We just all gathered around, tasted the bubbly and chatted about it. Nothing formal, just fun!
Definitely not a necessity, but really a lot of fun if you’re looking to re-create that wine tasting experience from a local winery.
Hosting a Sparkling Wine Tasting
When I host a sparkling wine tasting whether it is formal or informal I love to share fun facts and teach bubbly skills they may not otherwise know.
So often times, I am giving lessons on how to properly open a bottle of bubbly or even more fun, how to saber a bottle of bubbly.
I, of course, share my favorite trick of keeping your bubbly bubbly with a spoon once the bottle is open.
And depending on what we’re tasting sometimes we chat about how the type of glass affects the taste of bubbly, vintage vs. non-vintage or even the 6 steps to tasting any type of wine.
The key no matter what is to enjoy the bubbly and have fun because you don’t have to share any facts or have any lessons at all…it’s all about tasting the bubbly and maybe finding something new!
What other tips do you want me to share about how to host your own sparkling wine tasting at home?
Does your next girls’ night in involve your kids too? Check out this post on how we included kids in a sparkling wine pairing party.
If you need some help choosing the bubbly for your experience, check out How to Pick Your New Favorite Bubbly Wine on the blog now.
If you’re looking for other pairing ideas, we update these for you regularly on the blog.