May I interest you in Mousseaux Monday? The last few weeks the hubby has selected a bottle of bubbles to accompany our Monday meal. We discovered it helps set a positive tone for the week. So, why not keep popping these sparkling wines for weeknights? Mousseaux (pronounced moo-SUR) means sparkling or frothy. Vins mousseaux is a reference to sparkling wines made in France outside of Champagne. Sure, I’m using the term in a broader context, but it’s meant in good fun.
Birthdays, anniversaries, milestone events and the like are always best commemorated with Champagne, non? Perhaps the marketers have done too much to persuade us that is the case. After all, it seems that the drinking public is convinced that bubbly is ONLY for milestone events.
Or maybe the notion of reserving Champagne consumption for special occasions is because it’s perceived to be expensive. You don’t have to be among the rich and famous to enjoy sparkling wine on a Monday, however. There are a number of fizzy wines priced for weeknight quaffing. In fact, some are even made in the same traditional method as Champagne. Plus, sparkling wine pairs with pretty much anything. Read on for some fun suggestions.
What is Champagne?
There are strict rules that allow the use of “Champagne” on the label. For starters, it must be made only in the Champagne region of France. Approved varieties grown in that region include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and – be still my heart – Pinot Meunier.
In terms of production, after wine grapes are fermented into wine and blended, a mixture of yeast and sugar is added to start a second fermentation in the bottle. The resulting pressure that builds up in the bottle naturally carbonates the wine.
Other Sparkling Wines
The good news is that other wines are also crafted in this “traditional method.” Note, however, that they may or may not include the same varieties. That means there are a lot of options and terrific values out there for consumers! Why not create your own “bubbles starter kit” to discover what you favor? Grab a Crémant from France, a Sekt from Germany or Austria, and a Cava from Spain. There are even some superb domestic options to explore.
The following are some of the sparkling wines for weeknights we’ve been pouring on our Mousseaux Monday.
Ambriel Classic Cuvée
If you haven’t yet experienced sparkling wine from England, you are missing out! This gem from Sussex is composed of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. The result is a fresh, vibrant, and seriously enjoyable dinner companion. Acquired from VinoSocial client Esquin Wine and Spirits, it is priced at $38.99.
Pair with an antipasto platter or chilled cucumber soup.
Szigeti Gruner Veltliner Sekt
From Austria, Sekt is crafted according to the Méthode Traditionelle. Gruner Veltliner, the signature grape of Austria, entices with a savoriness and characteristic white pepper note.
During our first visit to Budapest last year we enjoyed a lovely tasting experience at the Tasting Table. It was there that we discovered the Taste Hungary online wine shop. I purchased this wine from the site for $23.90 and had it delivered to my door.
Pair with dishes that incorporate herbs such as my Hold the Mayo Tuna Salad.
Mousseaux Monday got its start with a bottle from family winery Treveri Cellars, the only sparkling wine house in Washington State. Head winemaker/proprietor Juergen Grieb grew up in Trier, Germany where he learned the craft of Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine production while making Sekt.
Treveri offers bubbles that feature fun, unexpected varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Müller Thurgau as well as Blanc de Blancs from Chardonnay and Blanc de Noirs from Pinot Noir for traditionalists. Plus, most bottles are $20 or under making them an incredible value!
Pair with nachos. Go ahead, you know you want to!