What to drink this week

Af­ford­able late-sum­mer sparklers

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

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.

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