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How to perfectly serve Sparkling Red Wine

Sparkling red wine, with its effervescent charm and rich flavours, has become increasingly popular among wine enthusiasts seeking something beyond the traditional. Whether you’re planning a special occasion or simply want to indulge in a luxurious experience, serving sparkling red wine adds a touch of elegance to any gathering. However, serving sparkling red wine requires a slightly different approach than its still counterparts. Here we’ll explore the art of serving sparkling red wine, from choosing the right glassware to enhancing its flavours. So, let’s raise a glass and discover the secrets to serving this delightful beverage.

1. Choosing the Right Temperature

To fully appreciate the flavours and aromas of sparkling red wine, it’s crucial to serve it at the right temperature. Unlike white or rosé sparkling wines, red sparkling wines benefit from slightly cooler temperatures. The ideal serving temperature for sparkling red wine is typically between 12°C and 16°C to allow the flavours to shine while retaining the refreshing effervescence.

Chilling the bottle in a refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving can help achieve this desired temperature. Avoid over-chilling, as excessively cold temperatures can mask the wine’s intricate characteristics. And as always, be sure to store the bottles in a cool, dark place!

2. Selecting the Appropriate Glassware

The choice of glassware can greatly enhance the overall wine-drinking experience. When serving sparkling red wine, opt for tall, tulip-shaped glasses with a narrow opening (such as prosecco glasses) to preserve the wine’s effervescence and concentrate its aromas. The shape allows the bubbles to develop and rise elegantly, while the narrow opening captures and delivers the aromas to your senses, enhancing the tasting experience. In case you do not have any of these tulip-shaped glasses, large-bowled red wine glasses also work great as they will also provide similar benefits to the wine.

3. Uncorking with Care

Opening a bottle of sparkling red wine requires a gentle touch to prevent excessive foaming and spillage. Follow these steps for a smooth uncorking experience:

  • Begin by removing the foil wrapper covering the cork, being careful not to disturb the wine inside. Place a napkin or cloth over the top of the bottle to catch any excess liquid during the opening process.
  • Firmly grasp the base of the bottle with one hand and hold the cork with the other. Gently twist the bottle, not the cork, to release it with a soft sigh rather than a loud pop. This method helps maintain the wine’s effervescence and prevents excessive bubbling.
  • Tilt the glass at a 45-degree angle and pour slowly along the side of the glass to preserve the bubbles. Aim for a gentle, continuous stream, allowing the effervescence to rise gradually.
  • As you near the end of the pour, straighten the glass to create a small headspace. This technique helps release some of the carbonation, enabling you to fully appreciate the wine’s aromas and flavours.
how to serve sparkling red wine

4. Pouring with Finesse

To maintain the effervescence and prevent excessive bubbling, pour sparkling red wine slowly and delicately. Aim the wine stream along the inside of the glass, allowing it to slide gently against the surface. By doing so, you retain the carbonation while minimizing overflow. Fill the glass to approximately two-thirds full to leave room for the wine’s aromas to develop.

5. Enhancing the Flavor Experience

To truly appreciate the complex flavours of sparkling red wine, take these tips into account:

  • Allow the wine to breathe: Just like still red wine, sparkling red wine benefits from some aeration. Let it sit in the glass for a few moments before taking your first sip, allowing the aromas to develop and intensify.
  • Swirl gently: Give the glass a gentle swirl to further release the wine’s aromas. The effervescence may add an element of excitement to this process, enhancing your sensory experience.
  • Savoring the Taste: Now it’s time to indulge in the flavours of the sparkling red wine. Take small sips, allowing the wine to coat your palate and savor the intricate taste profile. Notice the balance between acidity, fruitiness, and the tingling sensation of the bubbles. Sparkling red wines can be versatile, pairing well with a range of dishes.

6. Sparkling Red Wine and Vegan Food Pairings

Enhance the enjoyment of sparkling red wine by pairing it with complementary foods. The wine’s effervescence and rich flavours make it a versatile choice for a variety of dishes. Vegan food can be wonderfully paired with sparkling red wines to enhance the dining experience. When considering vegan options, dishes like roasted vegetable medley, lentil stew, or mushroom risotto complement the effervescence and fruity notes of sparkling reds. The vibrant flavours of sparkling red wines often pair well with plant-based proteins such as seitan or tofu, especially when prepared with robust spices or tangy marinades.

7. Choosing the Right Sparkling Red Wine

Before delving into the serving techniques, it is important to select the appropriate sparkling red wine. Varieties such as Australian Sparkling Shiraz and Sparkling Merlot, are popular options. Opt for a wine that suits your taste preferences, whether you prefer a dry or sweeter style.

8. Storing Leftover Sparkling Red Wine

If you have any leftover sparkling red wine, it’s essential to store it properly to maintain its freshness. Seal the bottle with a sparkling wine stopper or airtight closure and refrigerate it. Consume within 1-2 days to ensure optimal flavor and effervescence.


Serving sparkling red wine requires attention to detail, ensuring you unlock its full potential and create a memorable wine experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, from choosing the right temperature and glassware to opening and pouring with care, you’ll enhance the wine’s aromas and flavours. Remember to explore various food pairings to further elevate your enjoyment. So, whether you’re hosting a celebration or enjoying a cozy evening, let the effervescence of sparkling red wine add a touch of sparkle to your moments of indulgence.


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