Are you a fan of Cava or Prosecco? Have you tried English Sparkling wines? Do you save your pennies for real Champagne? Or will you be sipping Sparkling Rose as this year comes to a close? Once there was only the king of bubbles to consider, the almighty Champagne, nowadays sparkling wine is made all over the world, from different grapes, using different production methods. Here's a quick guide to help you pick something for your celebration. Let's pop the cork!
Some people use the word Champagne to mean any sort of fizzy wine, but it is actually only a specific region in France where Champagne is made. Champagne can be made from three grapes: the white chardonnay and the red-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier. The grapes won't be named on the label, but you may see the terms "blanc de blancs" which means that the wine is made exclusively from white grapes, or "blanc de noirs", indicating that the Champagne is a white wine made from the dark pinot noir and pinot meunier varieties.
The production of these delicate wines is a labour intensive, multi-step process making them pricey but you will have one of the best, most delicious and complex wine experiences. If you're looking for a good value, look for Champagnes from smaller producers who grow their own grapes.
Hure Freres is a close-knit family business. Their work in vineyard has been fine tuned to cater to the needs of each individual parcel of their 10 acres estate. This is still an under-the-radar domaine, but it might not stay that way for long as these amazing wines are going from strength to strength each year.
The Invitation Champagne (as the name might suggest) is their introdutory bottle. A lovely aperitif style of Champagne with clean fruits and plenty of bite.
The Inattendue Blanc de Blancs vinified and aged in oak is fresh and mineral on the nose while the palate is rich and dense, yet balanced by a fresh acidity and lovely length.
Lamiable Champagne Grand Cru comes from family run winery in the Grand Cru village Tours sur Marne, producing majority Pinot Noir blends.
Their Champgne is medium-bodied with great minerality and acidity on the finish. With brioche and toasted almonds flavours with hints of apricot. Enjoyable now; also has the potential to age for a few years. With a delicate mousse, this is a perfect apéritif.
Agrapart & Fils Champagne AC NV Brut comes from a grower's champagne house based in Avize. The seven crus is a blend of seven of the Cote de Blanc's best villages including Avize, Cramant and Ogier. Creamy and buttery with baked apples on the nose, on the palate complex, savoury with an amazingly long palate.
And finally, add some colour to your Champagne glass, with Champagne Rose Brut Chartogne-Taillet AC, a delicate salmon pink makes a very elegant rosé, with nuanced, layered red cherry and redcurrant fruit, underlined by subtle notes from the soil.
Prosecco has earned a reputation as an affordable alternative to Champagne. This Italian bubbly is generally great choice for casual sipping, with larger bubbles and fruity, even sweet flavour.
Our Modi is one of our all time best sellers, organic Prosecco relatively dry in style, with rich, floral notes, fruity, and with subtle almond flavours on the palate.
Spain's contribution to the sparkling wine scene, Cava is a fresh, dry wine from mostly produced in the Catalan region. Using the same production method as Champagne but less manual handeling making it much less expensive. Cava tends to be drier and less fruity that Prosecco.
Pago de Tharsys is a 12-hectare estate based at Requena, some 70 miles inland from Valencia on Spain's eastern coast. This Cava is dry with a vivacious mousse, this makes for a perfect aperitif. Aromatic notes of apricot, apple and pear light and fresh with a cleansing acidity and lingering finish.
ENGLISH SPARKLING WINE
Now is the time to discover some home-grown bottles. Court Garden is a family-run, single-estate vineyard and winery in East Sussex, they grow all their grapes that go into the wine they make. And in recent years this are passion has been rewarded with numerous national and international awards. The Court Garden sparkling wines are all hand-crafted using traditional grape varieties and bottle fermentation, where long ageing on the lees adds to the complexity of the flavour.
Their Ditchling Reserve is a delicious blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from the wonderful 2014 vintage. The wine spent nine months in French Oak Barrel before bottling, just enough time to give a rounder mouthfeel and a hint of vanilla. Straw hue, delicate well-structured mouse, good balance between acidity and dosage, rich flavoured mid palate, clean and round finish.
La Rosita is our take on something out of the ordinary - Pamela Geddes of Lobban Wines comes from Aberdeen in Scotland and mastered the craft of making sparkling reds with 5 years in Australia. She's now based in Catalan region of Penedes. Her traditional method - bottle fermented - and late-disgorged sparkly is fresh with subtle red fruits and tiny lasting bubbles.