Fizz for the festive season
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.