Fizz for the fes­tive sea­son

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De­cem­ber is the time of year for bub­bly: lots to cel­e­brate, lots of sun­shine and lots of lazy days in need of a fizzy boost. What­ever your bud­get, here are three good­ies to en­joy this fes­tive sea­son. Ri­et­vallei John B Chardon­nay Brut 2016 (R65) is my go-to party wine this year. The price is great (which means I can buy lots!) and it’s made from chardon­nay grapes that give the wine plenty of lemony, zesty flavours. It’s nice and dry and made in a fresh, fruit-for­ward style. You can’t go wrong top­ping it up with orange juice or peach nec­tar for a great Buck’s Fizz or brunch Bellini. Sauvi­gnon blanc is on trend at the mo­ment and this sum­mer you can cel­e­brate with some good bub­bly ver­sions. One of those is the Steen­berg Sparkling Sauvi­gnon Blanc (R120). It’s made in the Méth­ode Cap Clas­sique (MCC) style, which in­volves a sec­ond fer­men­ta­tion in the bot­tle, but it doesn’t spend too long in con­tact with the dead yeast cells so it re­mains crisp and juicy, with notes of le­mon, lime and crunchy green ap­ples. Try it with a smoked salmon salad or with sushi, or just sip it out­side on a sunny day. If you’re look­ing for a full-on, flavour-packed fizz, give the Avon­dale Ar­milla Blanc de Blanc 2010 (R260) a go. It’s made from 100 % or­gan­i­cally grown chardon­nay and has spent a whop­ping five years on the lees, giv­ing it a lay­ered, savoury taste pro­file with a seem­ingly end­less fin­ish: Think mar­mite, oys­ter juice and toasty brioche. Peo­ple of­ten for­get that sparkling wine is a great food part­ner. This one in par­tic­u­lar has enough weight to han­dle rich dishes like seafood, pork and duck – a classy ad­di­tion to any fes­tive gath­er­ing.

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