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Prosecco and Sparkling Wine Specialist

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Welcome to my Sparkling Blog

 

On my blog page you will find articles where I share passion, discoveries and thoughts about the wonderful world of wine, in particularly my special passion Prosecco and sparkling wine.    It would be great to hear your comments

 

Julia Philips, Owner of Just Perfect Wines

By Julia Phillips, Dec 1 2016 08:46PM

Most of us could probably answer that one! For me, it has always been bubbles throughout the glass and a layer of mousse (the foamy bit on top after pouring a glass in case you’re wondering) residing on the top. However, I have been interested in what the ‘perfect glass of Prosecco’ should look like in terms of the bubbles and mousse as there seemed to be variations and I wanted to understand why.



Photo shoot with lots of Prosecco bubbles and mousse
Photo shoot with lots of Prosecco bubbles and mousse


My curiosity started a few years ago at my trade launch when my Prosecco had hardly any bubbles or mousse whilst using my special Riedel (the world’s best) glasses. These were the very same glasses which were full of bubbles and mousse at Riedel UK and my photo shoot a few weeks prior. I later discovered that as fabric softener had been used on the polishing cloths, the softener transfers to the glasses and it had killed all the bubbles. No one told me that one before!



Foamy mousse on the top of a Prosecco glass and Prosecco without mousse
Foamy mousse on the top of a Prosecco glass and Prosecco without mousse

Home testing. New glass on the left (bubbles and mousse). Clean glass on the right (a thin ring of mousse and bubbles forming from the centre).



Riedel advised me it was best to use a dishwasher to wash and dry their glasses, and then polished with a microfiber cloth (which hasn’t touched softener, obviously). I followed these instructions but was still left disappointed with Prosecco bubbles only appearing to form from the centre of the glass and the mousse quickly dissipating. It just wasn’t how they performed when they were new and ‘straight out of the box’.

Still getting frustrated and after further investigation, I discovered that there can be a build up of a non-rinsable residue which causes a film to form on the glass, affecting bubble formation. Ah this must be it I thought! It was suggested I use neat lemon juice to rid the residue, but disappointingly again it made no difference.


Some time later, I learnt about a chemical product that strips the glass of the non-rinsable residue which is used commercially in the pub industry. Surely this will solve my bubble issue?! I bought the product ‘Renovate’ made by Proton, the UK’s leading chemical product manufacturers of glassware cleaning solutions. As the product is intended to be used commercially the product didn’t have instructions for use with a domestic dishwasher so I contacted Proton. I spoke with Damien, Proton’s Research & Development Manager - a complete chemistry and glass cleaning genius! Following Damien’s advice, I set about using my Renovate, new dishwasher settings and new detergent with high expectations. Disaster! It didn’t work. How could it not work!?


Following more conversations with Damien and further testing with Steve at Riedel UK (MD and glass guru), I finally understood the reason for the lack of bubbles/mousse. So here it is:


• My glasses didn’t have a non-rinsable residue on them. They hadn’t been used long enough for that to develop, so the Renovate product didn’t have a job to do.


• When the glasses were first used in Riedel’s showroom (and for my photo shoot), they were new out of the box. After a polish, it is highly likely they would still have cardboard particles, tiny specks from the production process and dust in them. These particles act as nucleation points to give the bubbles something to form from, so a spread of bubbles throughout the glass is to be expected.


• My glasses after washing were in fact ‘too clean’ to allow the glass to be completely filled with bubbles and residing mousse.


• Most sparkling wine glasses are manufactured with a nucleation point etched at the centre of the bottom of the inside of the glass. This point is there to help bubbles to form.


• As Riedel’s glasses are made from high quality crystal glass with virtually no manufacturing imperfections they are completely smooth apart from the intentional nucleation point. This is why the bubbles only appeared from the centre (after the glasses were thoroughly cleaned) and why sometimes on inferior or ‘dirty’ glasses you may see the bubbles dispersed throughout the glass.

Bubbles forming from the nucleation point; the perfect glass of Prosecco.



My early assumption of how a glass of Prosecco should look (or indeed Champagne, Cava or other sparkling wines) (ie, full of bubbles and a layer of mousse) was now changing if the ‘world’s best glasses’ don’t produce that effect. During another visit to Riedel, we tested new ‘out of the box’ Riedel Prosecco Superiore glasses vs the same glasses cleaned in a dishwasher. As a result, I then discovered with the help of Steve, why the Riedel Prosecco Superiore glasses really do give the perfect result after cleaning:


• More mousse was evident on the new glasses vs the cleaned glasses. The mousse soon disappeared on the cleaned glasses. The layer of foamy mousse may add to the visual effect, but it formed a cap and prevented some of the aroma from escaping compared to the more intense aromas given off in the cleaned glass.


• About 80% of our sense of taste comes from aroma - the Prosecco didn’t taste as good in the new glass compared to the cleaned glass.


• The bubbles in the new glass didn’t last as long as the bubbles in the cleaned glass. This is because there are essentially more nucleation points in the new glasses caused by the dust and other particles, therefore releasing more carbon dioxide in the form of bubbles. The bubbles in the clean glass were still fizzing after 1 hour of testing, whereas the bubbles in the new glass had almost gone.


This is in addition to the glass being the perfect shape to accentuate the wonderful characteristics of fine Prosecco Superiore, which are to be appreciated and enjoyed to the very last drop.


The perfect glass of Prosecco (not that you can see the bubbles on the photo – they are there!)



So finally, I had my answer, which had been puzzling me for the last few years. I now know what the ’perfect glass of Prosecco’ should look like. I would much rather sacrifice a few bubbles and mousse for:


• a superior aroma

• a superior taste

• longer lasting bubbles

• a beautifully gleaming (and there’s another story), crystal clear elegant glass


rather than a glass shared with cardboard particles, a layer of dust and who knows what else giving less aroma, lacking on taste and goes flatter quicker (not that Prosecco is in my glass for too long!).


Special thanks to Steve McGraw at Riedel UK and Damien Sleath at Proton, whom without their help, I would still be extremely mystified.




Julia Phillips

01.12.16






By Julia Phillips, Sep 23 2016 11:59AM




It’s that time of year again when you might be wondering what Christmas gift to buy for your customers. Well wine is always a good option, albeit a little predictable and you’ve perhaps done that for the last few years. Why not then consider a gift box containing the luxurious Prosecco Superiore, with the option of an additional gift which customers can keep after the Prosecco has been enjoyed.


The majority of consumers love Prosecco, the market figures speak for themselves, with Prosecco being the most popular sparkling wine in the UK. It is preferred generally to Champagne, as Prosecco tends to be a little sweeter and lighter to drink. The Just Perfect Wines Christmas corporate election features Prosecco Superiore from the artisan wineries Furlan and Ca’Salina, both from one of the best areas for Prosecco making, Congegliano Valdobbiadene.


The wooden gift boxes, with sliding lids, can be branded with your logo or Christmas message in a design of your choice, as long as it fits the space. You can also choose a wooden gift tag which can be branded instead of the lid. You have the option of including a branded gift card – which can be anything of your choice – or to make it simple, you can use the suggested template.


To offer something a little bit different, why not consider adding a luxury candle made by The Ceramic Candle Company from Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. So what makes a candle luxury? Well, the wax is made from 100% soy wax which is a natural product so no risk of toxins like what is suggested from paraffin candles. The candle also burns slower and is cleaning burning, so no bad soot marks. The natural Sandalwood oil fragrance is beautiful and relaxing and lasts throughout burning the candle for up to 35 hours . The holder is made from high quality fine bone china, which is also reusable, allows the light to penetrate giving a soft light. Just perfect for relaxing after a hard day at the office!


For some of your female clients, you might like to consider adding a ‘Prosecco’ ceramic hanging heart made by Dimbleby Ceramics of Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. Using earthenware (the same clay that Emma Bridgewater uses), the hearts are all handmade and decorated with a ribbon and diamante

jewel. A little something different, which you customers can keep once the Prosecco has been enjoyed.

Once you have chosen your options, it’s all very easy.


Your gifts can be individual packaged and delivered to your customers, or if you prefer delivered to your office. Simple.


Further information can be found on the 'Corporate' page www.justperfectwines.co.uk/corporate or get in touch to discuss the various options and I will help you to decide what is best to meet your requirements.


Tel: 01782 479774

Email: julia@justperfectwines.co.uk

Julia Phillips


By Julia Phillips, Aug 1 2016 03:47PM


This year, artisan winery Cirotto have launched an exciting new style of Prosecco; ‘Extra Brut’ which is now available in the UK. Their new Prosecco Superiore boasts very low sugar level of only 3 grams/litre, less than a quarter compared to most Extra Dry styles at around 15 grams/litre. You could call it a "super skinny Prosecco"! Low and zero sugar Champagnes, Cavas and now Proseccos are becoming increasing popular in Europe and the UK, appealing to those who prefer a very dry taste, natural wines and/or are diet conscious.


The new Cirotto Asolo DOCG Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Extra Brut 2015:


• Is made from 90% Glera, as well as 10%, Perera and Bianchetta (ancient native white grape varieties from the Prosecco region) to enhance structure and flavour.


• Has an 11% alcohol content.


• Boasts a very low sulphite level of 80 mg/litre (and says so on the label) which is well below the legal limit of 185 for sparkling wines and 155 for sparkling organic wines.


• Suitable for vegans and allergen free.


Extra Brut is difficult to produce and so not all wineries can make it. Barbara Cirotto comments, “Working with such a low sugar content means that you have to count on an excellent raw material, first quality grapes, with no defects and big structure. Sugar helps you also to cover small defects....so when you have almost no sugar, it means ‘you really lay your cards on the table’ ”.


The grapes, which are all hand harvested, need a very attentive winemaking process. With such a low sugar, it is important to preserve a clean wine, with no bad smells, no oxidation problems. This enhances the flavours. Cirotto’s first quality grapes for the Extra Brut come from their oldest vines (average 70-80 years old) which can give more structure than younger vines.


The very low sugar content enhances the structure of grapes, giving an intense bouquet of golden apple and pear, flowing into delicate flavours of grapefruit and mandarin. It has a mouth-watering, minerally taste, above all when paired together with fatty foods (eg, salami, shellfish, salmon, cheese); it is similar to the very, very dry taste of a Champagne. However, it is still easy to drink even if you typically prefer sweeter styles, due to the extreme high quality. A very exclusive and exceptional Prosecco of great personality.


This is Cirotto’s first Extra Brut, producing a limited edition of 5,000 bottles. With just one single sparkling process of one single tank, coming from one single vineyard, it is similar to a Cru Champagne.


Extra Brut Prosecco is something very new. The rules on DOCG Prosecco have approved this additional version, which officially saw the first producers start to present this new label with the 2015 harvesting. Interestingly, the Asolo DOCG Prosecco production area currently has exclusivity for the ‘Extra Brut’ style as the Consortium which controls the Valdobbiadene Conegliano DOCG region do not have the change in appellation as of yet.


The Cirotto Extra Brut Prosecco Superiore, with a RRP of £22.99, is now available in the UK via Just Perfect Wines, Cirotto’s importer for the Midlands.



Julia Phillips

Owner, Just Perfect Wines

1 August 2016




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