Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The best way to chill Champagne: salt it!

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 at 9:49 am in Uncategorized.

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Last night, I wanted to open a bottle of 2003 Clover Hill Reserve, a gorgeous Tasmanian sparkling wine crafted from the classic Champagne varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that’s spot-on French in style.

Components of selected reserve wine are aged in French oak followed by extended maturation on yeast lees in the bottle for three years.

The result is a clear, steady stream of forceful micro bubbles that is matched by a light camel color reminiscent of butter and a foamy mouth full of your most revered almond croissants.

Only problem: it was warm, and my friends were already halfway across the Bridge. So I threw the bottle in my IKEA bucket, filled it about halfway with cold water and dumped a few handfuls of ice in there. On top of that, I added a quarter cup of rock salt. Presto — the sparkling wine was down to 45 degrees minutes after they arrived.

Knowing this trick but curious to know how it works, I called upon science writer Betsy Mason, who explained that salt helps lower the freezing point of water from 32 to 27 degrees, hence the joy of making ice cream using a salt water solution.

Anyway, wow your friends the next time you pop open some bubbly. I highly recommend the Clover Hill, especially at $32. It’s serious proof of the New World. Or proof of serious New World. Either one.

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