Christmas without a little sparkle? Especially if that ‘sparkle’ comes in a wine glass! Our resident wine expert Winebird shares five festive fizzes that are worthy of Christmas day.
Is it just me or has this year been pretty manic for everyone? Long days, non-existent summers and let’s not even touch on global politics. It’s time to take a few days to breathe; to eat, drink and be merry. We’ve earned it.
And what better way to do that than with some fabulous fizz? Here are my tippy top fizzy sips for a Sparkling Christmas, whatever the budget.
‘Sparkling’ means more than just champagne
Sparkling Wine no longer means just Champagne; far from it. Pear-scented Prosecco democratised bubbles so that we felt we could drink them every day. Cava tried to catch up but somehow, missed the boat.
It’s English sparkling wine and other ‘traditional method’ fizz however (that means wines made in the same way as Champagne) that’s having its time in the spotlight now – and for very good reason.
Five sparkling wines worth talking about
Try these wines below, three of which were recently slurped and delighted over at TalkRADIO last week.
1) The bargain sparkling wine
Shop ALDI’s Exquisite Crémant de Jura, £7.99.
Yes, you saw that price correctly. Traditional method, Chardonnay grape (like in Champagne), French, stunning bottle… but from a region no one’s really heard of.
This is less acidic than a lot of Champagnes and has a fair bit more fruit. Lacking some of that Champenoise finesse but at that price, we’ll forgive! This was Mike Graham’s favourite on our TalkRADIO Taste-off.
2) The English beauty
Shop Hattingley Valley Classic Reserve, NV, £30
(Also available at Harvey Nichols, The Naked Grape (Hampshire), Wine Utopia (Winchester), and Majestic Wine stores in Hampshire and along M3 corridor.)
Lembit Opik described this last week as ‘the wine he would fill his taps with at home’. Seriously elegant with understated complexity, just enough fruitiness and a pretty, floral note. This is a wine that shows exactly what England is capable of. Just wait until you try their big guns…
3) The English rose
Shop Chapel Down Classic NV English Sparkling Rosé, £23 (on offer at Sainsburys)
For quite a big producer, I was impressed by the deliciousness and delicacy of this English pink. It has a lovely, chalky, appleskin tang and a beautiful pale rose colour. This is a wine that would love smoked salmon blinis.
4) The classic Champagne
Shop Oudinot Brut NV, £25 Marks & Spencer
If you’re looking fo a bang-on, reliable champagne at a decent price, then this is it. It’s the one I like to taste alongside other sparkling wines too to see how styles differ. Lean, with crisp apples and a tiny touch of brioche. Another favourite of the TalkRADIO team.
5) The pudding fizz
Shop Martini Asti Spumante, £7, Tesco.
Christmas is the time where we remember how much we like just a tiny drop of sweeter wine with all those delicious puddings. Lighter than a Port; less cloying than a Sauternes, Asti Spumante is a properly refreshing choice to have with dessert, especially lighter, fruiter ones like pavlova.
Drink this low-alcohol, frothy, peachy fizz cool and you’ll have finished the bottle before you know it! Channel your inner 1970s dancing queen and get stuck right in.
So cheers to you all! Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, making sure that you treat yourself with the perfect glass of bubbles.
Winebird is a freelance writer, presenter and author of VINALOGY: wine basics with a twist! You can follow her on Twitter, and find her on YouTube.
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