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Sam's musings on Sparkling Wine - #MDWB

Published: 27 Nov 2018Updated: 29 Nov 2018


Once the preserve of the special occasion more and more UK drinkers are turning to fizz for their tipple of choice - and why not!?

Bursting with bubbles and lively flavours they can bring a bit of sparkle to your mid-week, as much as the weekend. This month we'll take a look at some of the different styles available and highlight my personal faves!

Prosecco, the most important addition to a hen night since L-plates and suggestively shaped straws, it has taken the UK by storm.

This Italian fizz comes from north-east Italy in an area of hills and valleys that are found inland of Venice and enjoys the same geographical protection as Champagne (and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies!). Made predominantly from the grape Glera, a delicate white variety with gentle floral notes, it is fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain its youthful, fruity flavours. Prosecco is best enjoyed young - so get it in the fridge rather than the cellar! 

 

My favourite is La Tordera Serrai Prosecco Extra Dry DOCG. Extra Dry is actually a sweeter style (I know!) clocking in at 12-17 grams per litre of residual sugar (for reference Coca Cola is 108!)

The DOCG signifies that this wine comes from the best area between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene. Fresh, fruity and fizzy this is what Prosecco is all about! 

 

 


Cava sales have suffered badly from the Prosecco onslaught. However - like double denim, soda streams and the musical stylings of Daniel Bedingfield - it is definitely due a comeback.

Cava is made in the hot, dry Penedès wine region south-west of Barcelona, where grapes ripen early. This typically means they don't have to add as much "dosage" (the sweet liquor that rounds out the more acidic base wines of cool climates), which makes for drier wines that are more versatile with food. 

The method used is much the same as used in Champagne and can result in rich complex wines. Made from the traditional Cava varieties; Paralleda, Macabeo and Xarel-lo, Vilarnau Brut Reserva is a classic example of how delicious Cava can be. The label's pretty eye catching too! 


English Sparkling Wine

Far more than imitation of the famous fizz from across the channel - English sparkling wine is forming a world class reputation all of its own. Made using the same methods and grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) as Champagne, we even enjoy a similar climate and soil composition.

Our hot weather this summer wasn't just good news for the after-sun industry, most English sparkling producers have reported a bumper year in 2018. If you're yet to sample some English fizz, hurry up! The bandwagon's nearly full. 

 

Kent based Chapel Down are one of the pioneers of English Sparkling Wine. It was served at Harry and Meghan's wedding - apparently, I wasn't there. Their Classic Brut Non-Vintage is bursting with elegant aromas of citrus fruit, red apple and freshly baked bread leading to a finish that's longer than the Brexit negotiations. 


 

Sometimes, only Champagne will do!

Prized worldwide for its superb balance of freshness and complexity.

Champagne is the pinnacle of the sparkling wine world and its name is protected by the fantastically litigious governing body the CIVC. Strict rules apply in the both the vineyard and the wine and it must be aged for at least one and a half years (three years for vintage wines) to properly develop its full pronounced flavour.

Champagne is a labour of love and my recommendation for the party season is Guy Laforge Brut NV. 

 

 

 

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