Accrington Observer - - LEISURE - ANDY CRONSHAW

‘The Pinot Noir dom­i­nance gives it bis­cu­ity bite on the palate where there is great el­e­gance as the peachy punch of the fruit comes through’

THERE have been sev­eral good ex­cuses for cel­e­bra­tory drinks over re­cent weeks. A land­mark birth­day, Eng­land’s progress in the World Cup and just the fact that we’re en­joy­ing one of the finest sum­mers I can re­mem­ber.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to some re­ports, those in search of car­bon­ated fizz to mix into their gin and ton­ics or spritzers may find them­selves dis­ap­pointed by a short­age of CO2.

Luck­ily, thanks to the magic of yeast - a sin­gle celled fun­gus, nat­u­rally fer­mented - wine pro­duces its own CO2 and is not af­fected by gas short­ages.

Sparkling wine made to the Method Cham­p­enoise rules pro­duces its own yeast ini­tially but some more, mixed with sugar, called the Liqueur di Ti­rage, is added af­ter fer­men­ta­tion.

There are sev­eral yeasts in­dige­nous to Cham­pagne such as Pas­teur or Eper­nay.

As this is added to the closed bot­tle the wine then un­der­goes a sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion and then au­tol­y­sis but re­mains fizzy.

While the wine ma­tures, the lees or dead yeast cells add fur­ther flavour be­fore they are dis­gorged from the bot­tle and the fi­nal ‘dosage’ is added to give some sweet­ness.

To me the magic of sparkling wine is all about the ar­ray of toasty, bready flavours that ap­pear dur­ing this process.

Two sam­ples I tried re­cently showed the dif­fer­ences you can find in Cham­pagne and Cham­pagne-style wines.

Cham­pagne Gremil­let Brut Se­lec­tion NV (£21.99 Vir­gin Wines, The Bot­tle Shop, Chea­dle Hulme £138.99 per case of six

Kwoff, Bury) Wow! Did some­body pop the toaster on? This blend of 70 per cent Pinot Noir and 30 per cent Chardon­nay has au­tol­y­sis notes in spades. In fact, it’s just the type of Cham­pagne I like to drink on its own with­out the need for food. The Pinot Noir dom­i­nance gives it bis­cu­ity bite on the palate where there is great el­e­gance as the peachy punch of the fruit comes through. To fin­ish there’s a fair dash of chalky, min­eral acid­ity.

For my money this is sim­ply one of the very best bud­get Cham­pagnes out there.

Dis­trib­uted by Stockport’s Boutinot you’ll find this in bars and restau­rants across the re­gion.

Jenkin Place Brut Cu­vée 2013 (£29.50 Wi­nos, Old­ham)

English sparkling wine is prob­a­bly the coun­try’s finest wine prod­uct; vy­ing in some cases with Cham­pagne for qual­ity, al­though quan­ti­ties are tiny in com­par­i­son.

But what bet­ter way to re­lax while watch­ing Wim­ble­don than a glass of this?

Chardon­nay dom­i­nates here, grown in the green­sand soils of the North Hamp­shire Downs.

The vine­yards, where hops once grew, sit on shel­tered south-fac­ing slopes at 100 me­tres above sea level where there are also frag­ments of chalk.

With this bot­tle the aro­mas are dif­fer­ent and there is a whiff of smoke about the green ap­ple aro­mas. The flo­ral palate is rich but very fo­cused and lin­ear in ex­pres­sion.

A great ex­am­ple of English sparkling wine.

Gremil­let Brut se­lec­tion

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