What to drink this week
Affordable late-summer sparklers
I have to admit to a proclivity towards Champagne—and especially vintage Champagne—in this column. However, vintage Champagne is not for every day (pace Mme Bollinger) and the popularity of the world’s most famous fizz can eclipse the excellent quality in traditional-method sparkling wine being achieved all over the globe. Finesse, purity and complexity are increasingly not the monopoly of those who ply their trade in Reims and Epernay.
Harry Eyres raises a glass of reasonably priced Champagne to summer
Why you should be drinking it
Affordable fizz is a great enabler of summer good cheer, especially when the gods have favoured us, as they have in 2017, with warm days—and even warm evenings. It’s perfect for parties, but can also accompany quite serious food.
What to drink
Miguel Torres’s Chilean winery, founded in 1979 and based in Curicó, has flown slightly under the radar in recent years, at least in the UK. Torres Chile is making some excellent sparklers and I especially liked the Cordillera Brut Pinot Noir 2013 (below, £13.25; www.winedirect.co.uk); it’s pale in colour with a clean, crisp, appley nose and, on the palate, you find satisfying weight, purity and freshness. Torres also makes Estelado (£10.99; www.robertsandspeight.co.uk), a pink sparkler from the País grape, introduced into Chile from Spain in the 16th century and generally despised. The result is pretty and rather delicate—it’s not especially dry, but goes surprisingly well (I found) with curried chicken. Brown Brothers in central Victoria has long excelled at traditional-method sparkling wines and the Brown Brothers Brut Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier (£17.99; www.sandhams wine.co.uk) has far more richness and complexity than I’d expect at this price.