Consumers are finally getting beyond the outdated notion that sparkling wine is just for celebratory toasts. Guests now see it as an option to sip during an entire meal from appetizer to dessert.
The entire menu at Effervescence Bubbles & Bites in New Orleans was designed to pair with sparkling wines, says owner Crystal Hinds. The 100-seat restaurant and wine bar on the edge of the city’s French Quarter opened in March 2010 and emphasizes regional produce and seafood.
Effervescence offers with more than 225 bottles of sparkling wine and at least 33 by the glass. Bubbles serve as a deft palate scrubber for fried foods such as pommes frites with tapenade aioli and rosemary ($8) and crispy Brussels sprouts with gulf bottarga and roasted cashew dip ($12).
Seafood in all its iterations works well with sparklers too; Effervescence offers fives varieties of caviar, priced $12 to $120 and served with crème fraîche and house-made pepper mash potato chips.
Hinds recommends any dry and crisp chardonnay-based Champagnes with the restaurant’s Gulf Seafood Plateau (pictured above). Priced at $50, the dish includes West Indies crab salad, snapper ceviche, royal red shrimp, Murder Point oysters and bowfin Cajun Caviar.
She also loves the Peter Lauer Brut Sekt Riesling ($11 a half glass, $21 a full glass) from Germany’s Mosel region paired with popcorn pot de crème ($8) with lime sherbet perles, dulcey crunch and Tahitian vanilla sea salt.
“The tropical notes of the lime are brought to life by the riesling, and the wine has just a touch of sweetness,” Hinds says. “This is really a dessert pairing for people who don’t think they like dessert wines.”