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
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?
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
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.
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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