Add a bit of sparkle to your Christmas
We can’t stop drinking sparkling wine in this country. Seriously. While every other wine category flounders – despite all the propaganda suggesting that we are drinking more, Kantar figures show an overall decline in retail wine sales – sparkling wine is flourishing.
Prosecco in particular is huge. Majestic said its sales were up 39 per cent in the six months to the end of September and that a prosecco – Prosecco Corte Alta NV (£6.99 when you buy two bottles) – was its fourth bestselling wine, behind The Ned sauvignon blanc and NV champagne from Veuve Clicquot and Bollinger. “We’re finding that it’s not just for celebrating, it’s a social drink to have with friends and family on a Friday or Saturday night,” says Majestic’s Emma Raper. “Very fashionable – and we expect that trend to continue.”
What about other fizz? (“Oh God, you’re not using that awful word fizz are you?” I can hear my friend Robert, whom I’ve asked to help me taste, saying. “Why do you people do that? I suppose at least it’s not as bad as ‘bubbles’.”) Well, other fizz is popular too: cava, sparkling wine from other parts of France, Italy and Australia (in particular Tasmania) and from our own green south of England, all have far more credibility than they used to.
No longer just a poor man’s budget replacement, non-champagne sparklers are styles we actively seek out: and rightly so. There are times when I much prefer the clear, simple, pear-andsnowflake taste of prosecco to that of champagne. Sometimes I’ll happily pay more for it – the price of prosecco keeps on rising, while at Christmas you can still pick up a plausible bottle of champagne for under £10 (example: the Aldi Veuve Monsigny NV I recommended earlier this month).
If you’re looking for a cheaper sparkling wine, don’t discount wines you may never have heard of.
One of the star wines I tasted for this piece was a Crémant du Jura. It came in an impressive Krug-like bottle that even met with Robert’s approval – “This looks good,” – until he caught sight of the label on the back. “Oh, no,” (this in tones of great revulsion). “It’s from Aldi. Aldi!”
To be fair, he’s been living out of the country for a few years, which may explain