CTV Morning Live

December 30, 2016 – Ottawa, ON

Today on CTV Morning Live, CTV’s Sarah Freemark, Stefan Oliver Keyes, and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some super tasty sparkling wines and easy to make Champagne Cocktails to enjoy at your New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Here are the links to the two segments that aired on CTV Morning Live:

Video 1: Opening Bubbly with Confidence + Matt’s Top Prosecco and Bubbly Picks for NYE

Video 2: Matt and Sarah jazz-up some tasty Champagne Cocktails on CTV Morning Live

There’s something magical about those 250 million bubbles in every bottle of sparkling wine that make it the best, without a doubt, style of wine for celebrating significant events, such as New Year’s Eve.

Champagne, the best known style of sparkling wine, has been a favourite for a very long time for toasting celebrations, whether it was the French nobility during the early 1700s or more recently with nobility all around the world, along with everyday hard working wine lovers in every corner of the earth, sparkling wine has held its place as the drink to have in your hand when you celebrate life’s great moments.

Those millions of tiny bubbles create a lot of pressure in the bottle so it’s important to know how to open a bottle of sparkling wine, safely, and without losing half the contents due to over flow.  Believe it or not, more people die each year from a Champagne cork ‘bullet’ than from spider bites…so it’s a good idea to know how to open those bottles of bubbly with confidence, style, and safely.

So here’s a handy guide on how to open those bottles, safely.  Note the 6 twists of the wire cage, then hold your thumb on the top of the cork, hold the bottle on an angle and twist the bottle while holding the cork, it’s a lot easier than trying to twist the tiny cork.  Make sure you point the bottle away from yourself and anyone/anything you don’t want to get hit by a flying cork should it take off unexpectedly (despite you holding the top of the cork).


Whatever you do, don’t use a cork screw to remove the cork…that’s a sure way to get a Champagne shower when you aren’t expecting it.

When opening that bottle of sparkling wine, if you’d like to spice things up a bit, a sabre (such as a machete or be extra daring and try a tea spoon) can be used to open a Champagne bottle with great ceremony. Checkout some #saberchallenge videos for ideas on how to saber your bubbly and here’s an easy step by step guide:

Step by Step Guide to Saber Champagne

  • Chill Champagne to reduce pressure –put the bottles in the freezer for one hour or in a bucket of ice water for as long as you can
  • Completely remove foil on theneck of the bottle
  • Loosen and reposition wire cage carefully to first lip
  • Choose Your saber – either a large kitchen knife or be adventerous and go for a small implement like a spoon or butter knife
  • Hold Champagne at 45° angle
  • Slide saber (confidently) in a smooth motion along the seam of bottle, and just like a nice basketball shot, make sure you follow-through to ensure full momentum.


Now that we’ve learned how to safely open (and saber!) sparkling wines let’s get back to our Champagne Cocktails.

These are the wines we’ll be using today to make our New Year’s Eve Champagne Cocktails: 

1.             Blu Giovello Prosecco, Italy – $13.45


2.             Ruffino Prosecco, Italy – $14.90


3.             Santa Margherita Prosecco Superiore, Italy – $16.95


4.            Jackson-Triggs Brut Grand Reserve Entourage, Ontario – $24.95 – a fabulous traditional method sparkling wine that’s dynamite when paired with food.


A fantastic traditional method sparkling wine from the Niagara Peninsula! Jackson-Triggs’ Entourage Grand Reserve 2012 Sparkling Brut is a fine example of the high-quality and value-priced vintage sparkling wines that Canada is producing and excelling at with more and more international acclaim each year. A recent Double Gold and Best of Class winner at the San Fransisco International Wine Competition, you’d be hard pressed to find a better vintage traditional method sparkling wine at the sub $25 point. Straw-gold colour, the nose shows sweet asian pear, green apple, biscuit, and almond. Crisp and refreshing, the fine mousse coats and cleanses the palate leaving a fresh apple and mineral finish that persists until the next sip. Terrific with rich dishes, seafood, oysters on the half shell, and celebrating those special moments. Enjoy 2016-2022. Tasted December 2016. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.mattswinepicks.com



Although sparkling wine on its own is terrific, and perfectly suited to celebrating the occasion, it’s fun and easy to make tasty sparkling wine cocktails so why not give it a try! With so many options, there’s no limit on what you can create with sparkling wine.

I’m not the first to suggest this either. Champagne Cocktails have been around since the mid-1800s and have been captured on screen in movies such as The Godfather and Casablanca!

Sparkling Wine Cocktails are great when enjoyed before, during, or after a meal, and naturally they’re terrific on their own.

With most Sparkling Wine Cocktails the ingredients are simple and can be easily set-up on your counter or bar. For some, a bit of preparation is required, but the majority can be easily whipped-up in no time, making it an easy way to jazz up your party and impress your guests with your clever cocktail creations.

Here are a few of my favourites for this time of the year: Classic Champagne Cocktail; Kir Royale; Pimm’s Royale; Champagne Julep; and the French 75.


1. Classic Champagne Cocktail



  • 1-3 drops bitters (careful not to add too much bitters).
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 5 ounces chilled Champagne
  • (to up the octane, add 1 ounce of Cognac)


  1. Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac (if desired), and top with Champagne.


2. Kir Royale – A legendary French aperitif

Kir originated in Burgundy, France. It is named after the priest Canon Félix Kir, who was a hero in the French Resistance during the Second World War.



  • 1 ounce creme de cassis
  • 4 ounces Champagne or other Sparkling White Wine
  • 1 strip tangerine or orange zest, for garnish


  1. Just before serving, pour one ounce of creme de cassis into each glass. Fill with Champagne, and garnish with zest.



3. Pimm’s Royale



  • 1 oz Pimm’s No. 1
  • champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • strawberry for garnish


  1. Fill a chilled champagne flute three quarters full with sparkling wine (Champagne, traditional method sparkling wine, Prosecco, or Cava)
  2.  Add one ounce of Pimm’s No. 1.  and garnish.  Enjoy!


4. Champagne Julep

A bubbly twist on the official drink of the Kentucky Derby (since 1938), and a guaranteed hit with any Bourbon lover! 



  • 2 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 dash bourbon
  • 5 oz (142 g) chilled champagne


Place mint and sugar cube in chilled mixing glass; add bourbon. Using muddler or handle of wooden spoon, crush sugar and rub mint until fragrant and torn. Gently strain into champagne glass and add Champagne.  Enjoy!


5. French 75 

During the First World War, when French and American members of the Lafayette Escadrille battalion were granted leave from the trenches, they frequented the bar at the Hotel Chatham in Paris. There they celebrated their victories with Champagne and cognac (sometimes gin), and named the mixture (mingled with lemon and sugar) after the French army’s 75 mm field gun, hence the birth of the French 75 cocktail.



  • 1 part gin
  • 5 parts champagne
  • ½ parts sugar syrup
  • 1 part lemon juice


  • fill up the shaker with ice cubes
  • pour lemon juice, sugar syrup, and gin into the shaker
  • shake well
  • strain into the champagne glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne
  • garnish with candied lemon twist


6. Menning Minosa



  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
  • Prosecco, chilled
  • Fresh mint leaf


  1. In a Champagne flute, mix together orange juice, lemon juice, and liqueur. Fill with Prosecco. Garnish with mint leaf and serve immediately.

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve and here’s wishing you a safe and prosperous 2017!


Matt Steeves

Matt Steeves – Sommelier, Wine Writer, & Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild – follow Matt on Twitter @Quercusvino or www.mattswinepicks.com