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2017 Going Out with a Fizz

Our final festive wines are designed to provide a sparkling finale to 2017 for you and yours.

Few things enliven an event better than bubbles and, happily, there are some really good examples about this year.

As ever, where pictures are available, click on the image for an enlarged version that should help you locate the wine on a crowded shelf.

Let’s start with the fizz du moment

Little seems likely to impede the upward demand for prosecco so if a bottle is on your “must have” Christmas List go for one, like this one, that obeys my simple rule of thumb.

If in doubt, I often say, head for “C or V” –  the Conegliano Valdobbiadene area – which usually provides reliably sound prosecco.

For example Finest* Prosecco Valdobbiadene (£10 at Tesco and 11.5% abv) delivers very agreeable apple-centred freshness, attractive floral aromas and concluding touches of spice and cream soda.

Despite being £1.75 dearer, it is a better option than the everyday Finest* Prosecco which is made by the same guys but is sweeter (13gms of residual sugar as against 8).

Other Prosecco I can recommend:

  • Ca’di Pietra Prosecco (£12.99 for a magnum at Aldi).
  • Prosecco NV (£10 at M&S).
  • 2016 Taste the Difference Prosecco Conegliano (£10 – or £19 for a Magnum – at Sainsbury’s)

What’s in a name?

That region also produces a pleasant sparkling rosé.

However, since it does not contain at least 85% glera grapes, it cannot be called prosecco – never mind that it is 100% pinot noir which is arguably vastly superior.

The content of the bottle (regardless of the label outside it) tells us that KT Rosé (£10.98 at Asda and 11%) gathers together fresh citrus acidity, red apple and cherry fruit, an attractive edge of sweetness and an excellent mousse.

Meanwhile back on these shores

Sales (and the reputation) of English sparkling wine is also on an upward curve and I have selected for my top tip a particularly good – chardonnay led (but with pinot blanc and seyval blanc contributions) – example from Cornwall.

Enjoy then the citrus and orchard fruit backbone of 2014 Camel Valley Classic Cuvee (£28 at M&S and 12.5%) with fresh, sherbet lemon acidity, a great mouth feel and an appealing sense of richness and ripeness.

Other English Sparkling Wine I can recommend:

  • Hambledon Brut NV (£29 at M&S)
  • Finest* English Sparkling Wine NV (£17.50 at Tesco)
  • Taste the Difference English Sparkling Brut (£21at Sainsbury’s)

When champagne is obligatory but budgets are tight

Aldi continue to offer this well made champagne (that uses exactly a third each of pinot noir, chardonnay and meunier) which is often discounted in price further at Christmas if competition gets tough.

There is excellent balance to Veuve Monsigny Champage Brut (£10.99 at Aldi and 12%) which ensures that the wine has lemon fruit, tingling apple based acidity and brioche in pretty much equal measures.

Step a little up the price points

This is another long standing line for the Co-op, made for them by Piper Heidsieck and, deservedly, the winner of several awards for its quality.

Pinot noir leads the blend in Les Pionniers Champagne NV (£16.99 at the Co-op and 12%) which opens with small, busy bubbles that lead invitingly into apple and citrus fruit and then round everything off with biscuit centred savoury edges.

For real luxury though, read on.

Chardonnay takes the lead role in this champagne from a house that deliberately ages its wines for longer and uses predominantly grapes from grand cru and premier cru vineyards.

There is certainly a creamy richness and biscotti roundness to Gosset Grande Reserve Brut (£49.99 at Laithwaites in an elegant display box and 12%) which also has energetic bubbles, apple, pear and peach fruit and a lively, minty acidity.

Other Champagne I can recommend:

  • Adrien Chopin Champagne Brut (on a limited Morrisons parcel at £18)
  • Champagne Bissinger Premium Cuvee Brut (£17.99 at Lidl)
  • 2009 Le Mesnil Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Champagne (£33.99 at Waitrose)

Since this is the last pre-Christmas post, it only remains for me to wish you and yours  a great time over the festive season and a terrific 2018. MidWeek Wines will be back on the “day job” in mid-January with its usual focus on the latest offers as they come on stream.

 


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Comments

4 Comments

Chris Willis - ex LIF etc a (very) long time ago!!).

Thanks Brian for your final post of the year. As always an interesting and inspiring read – keep them coming.

Currently cold here in Surrey but, as yet, no snow.

Best wishes for a good Christmas and a healthy and safe 2018.

Brian Elliott

Great to hear from you, Chris and the very best to you and yours

Nigl walker

Season’s greetings and thank you for a so many beneficial hints.

Brian Elliott

Many thanks, Nigel, and I am glad that my suggestions are hitting the spot for you. Here’s to more of the same in 2018


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