Michael Yeoman’s Top Ten tips for serving the perfect sparkling wines this Christmas.

As we move into December we start to think about preparations for Christmas dinner; where to host, who to invite and plans to relax in front of the fire and Christmas tree with the family with fine wines and festive foods. One key consideration is the choice of wine, and with over a 100 vineyards in Sussex, some of which are world beaters, we are spoilt for choice this Christmas.

Michael shared his ideals for the festive period “If you are celebrating your Christmas dinner with a local or Norfolk turkey then why not splash out on a lovely bottle of English sparkling wine to toast with. The quality of English wine is now exceptional and well worth the investment for your Christmas lunch. My favourite local wine is Cuvee Reynold Stone Brut 2010 from Breaky Bottom, lovely bubbles, floral with biscuit nose and, lots of green apples”

1)Choice of sparkling wine – typically English Sparkling wine is the equivalent of a medium priced bottle of champagne. Typical price varies from £25 to £35 a bottle.

2)Storing your sparkling wine - ideally store your wine horizontally as this ensures that the cork is kept moist and does not spoil the wine (corked).

3)Preparing your sparkling wine - the ideal temperature for sparkling wine is 7 to 10 degrees centigrade. Any colder and you will restrict the smell on the nose or the taste in the palate. If you do serve from the fridge, leave it out for 10 minutes to warm slightly.

4)Serving your sparkling wine - ideally serve your wine from cool storage into a sparkling wine bucket with half water and ice. Let the bottle cool between 15 minutes to half hour before serving.

5)The correct pour - always poor an initial glass of sparkling wine, not too much. Allow the mousse to rise to top and the settle before pouring a second time. In order to preserve your mousse, you should tilt the glass at 45 degrees.

6)The Time of pour - Never pre-pour your wines less than a couple of minutes before drinking, leaving your fizz standing will allow your wine to warm and lose it’s lovely mousse.

7)Waiting for the CO2 to dissipate - do not drink your wine as soon as you pour as this is the point where the CO2 is at its maximum level and can irritate the nerve centre in your cheek. Hold yourself, wait a minute or two!

8)Enjoy the taste - let the bubbles roll over your tongue and around your palate to fully appreciate your wine.

9)Taste your wine over time - take time to savour the way your wine changes with variations in temperature and fizz, what seems a bland wine that is too cold, can flourish as it warms and develops.

10)For left over fizz - if you have any sparkling wine left over always secure with a sealed stopper as the old spoon in the top of the bottle is scientifically proven not to work.

Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all you all!

Cheers Michael