Four to fizz for sum­mer

Prosecco isn’t theonly sparkling wine in town

The Irish Times Magazine - - DRINK - WINE JOHN WIL­SON

Achilled glass of sparkling wine goes down a treat as the sun sets on a warm sunny evening. I love good Cham­pagne, but the bud­get doesn’t al­ways stretch that far, and cheap Cham­pagne is rarely worth the money. Sales of Prosecco con­tinue un­abated, but there are plenty of al­ter­na­tives at prices that won’t break the bank. I have come across some great alt sparkling wines re­cently from Cava, Fran­ci­a­corta ( in Italy) as well as Eng­land and even Lux­em­bourg. How­ever, all these cost well over ¤ 30; all of the wines I’ve cho­sen cost sub­stan­tially less.

For sev­eral years now hip­sters and cool kids alike have been sip­ping Pét Nat ( or Pétil­lant Na­turel) wines. These are lightly fizzy wines, made by the old­est sparkling wine method of all. In the past, they of­ten hap­pened by ac­ci­dent; half- fin­ished wine stopped fer­ment­ing in the cold of win­ter, and then be­gan again as tem­per­a­tures rose in spring- time. If the wine had been bot­tled in the in­ter­ven­ing pe­riod, then a sec­ond fer­men­ta­tion took place in the bot­tle, giv­ing the wine a light sparkle. Pro­duc­tion was ( and is) hard to con­trol, and the re­sults can be un­re­li­able.

Pét Nats are typ­i­cally lower in al­co­hol and have fewer bub­bles than Cham­pagne. They are funky, rus­tic, cloudy, fizzy, fruity, un­pre­dictable – and fun. Of­ten sealed with a crown cap rather than a cork, they make a re­fresh­ing change. They pro­duce Pét Nats in Prosecco, where it is la­belled col fondo.

Cham­pagne, Cava, Spumante Prosecco, the var­i­ous Cré­mants and most New World sparkling wines are all taxed at twice the rate of friz­zante Prosecco and Pét Nats, both of which are clas­si­fied by Rev­enue as still wine. All the more re­mark­able then that the two fully sparkling wines below still come in at less than ¤ 20.

I have writ­ten about the Aldi Cré­mant de Jura be­fore. It re­mains one of the best- value bot­tles of fizz, but for a change I’ve cho­sen the Cré­mant de Loire. The Loire Val­ley pro­duces plenty of good well- priced sparkling wine. The best I have tasted re­cently is the amaz­ing Triple Zéro La Taille aux Loups from Jacky Blot (¤ 35.60, Wi­nes­di­rect. ie). Su­perValu has the very de­cent Bon­namy white and rosé for ¤ 19.95. Al­ter­na­tively Tesco has the ul­tra- reli­able and very tasty Ja­cob’s Creek Rosé Sparkling for ¤ 17.99 ( pro­moted to ¤ 16 at times). Spar, Eurospar, Mace and Londis all of­fer the fruit- filled Jaume Serra Cava Brut for ¤ 15.99. On a more ad­ven­tur­ous note, the Tesco Finest Pig­no­letto (¤ 15.99) will please Prosecco lovers, or Marks & Spencer even have a Brazil­ian sparkling wine for ¤ 14. For those who want Prosecco, the or­ganic La Jara below was my favourite for less than ¤ 15.

La Cheteau Cré­mant de Loire NV Blanc de Noirs, 12%, ¤ 12.99 Lightly flo­ral with ripe rasp­ber­ries on nose and palate. You could use this in all sorts of sum­mer cock­tails, or drink sim­ply by it­self. Stock­ists: Aldi.

La Jarra Prosecco Friz­zante, Or­ganic, 10.5%, ¤ 14.95 El­der­flower and pear aro­mas, clean and crisp with very mor­eish rounded pear fruits with good citrus acid­ity.

Stock­ists: La Touche, Grey­stones; Lis­ton’s, Cam­den St; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Green Man Wines, Terenure; Fal­lon & Byrne, Ex­che­quer ST; Martin’s Off Li­cence, Clon­tarf; Clon­tarf Wines; Kelly’s, Clon­tarf

Col Ta­maríe, Vi­gna San Lorenzo, 11.5%, ¤ 23- 24 A sin­gle vine­yard or­ganic wine treated with ‘ uni­cist homeopathy’. Lightly fizzy, mildly funky with del­i­cate citrus and pear fruits. Much more in­ter­est­ing than Prosecco. The pre­fect sum­mer aper­i­tif.

Stock­ists: Green Man Wines, Terenure, ; Sheri­dan’s Cheese­mon­gers, Dublin & Kells; SIYPS. com.

Lan­glois l’Ex­tra, Cré­mant de Loire, 12.5%, ¤ 17.95 Lan­glois, is owned by Cham­pagne house Bollinger, and while you won’t mis­take this for Cham­pagne, it is a lovely glass of fizz, with a lightly creamy tex­ture and sub­tle peach and yel­low fruits. Stock­ists: O’Briens

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