Ottawa Citizen


- ROD PHILLIPS Email Rod Phillips at rod@rod­phillip­son­ Join him on­line Thurs­days, 2 to 3 p.m. at ot­tawac­i­t­i­, and fol­low him on Twit­ter at @rod­phillip­swine. Food · Alcoholic Drinks · Wine · White Wine · Wine styles · Prosecco (Trieste) · Italy · Spain · France · Palace of Versailllles · Chardonnay · Lambrusco · Sparkling Wine · Freixenet

This is the an­nual sparkling wine col­umn, in which I cus­tom­ar­ily say that it’s a pity so many peo­ple con­fine their sparkling winedrink­ing to the last two weeks of De­cem­ber, to­gether with a few scat­tered oc­ca­sions like mar­riages, births, and an­niver­saries.

The thing about sparkling wine is that there are so many good ex­am­ples out there, they needn’t cost much, and most peo­ple really en­joy drink­ing them. And they don’t go flat as quickly as many peo­ple think. With an in­ex­pen­sive stop­per, the bub­bles will hold for days. I have a feel­ing that the cel­e­bra­tion-sparkling as­so­ci­a­tion also works in re­verse: you not only drink sparkling wine on a happy oc­ca­sion, but drink­ing sparkling wine makes you feel happy. I al­ways have a bot­tle of bubbly in the fridge, and I don’t have many friends (any friends, ac­tu­ally) who turn down a glass when they drop by.

Some­times it’s cham­pagne, some­times it’s Cava, some­times prosecco, some­times some­thing else. But there are rarely any com­plaints.

So, there’s no rea­son not to en­joy sparkling wine at this time of year, but there’s no rea­son to stop when the cal­en­dar flips to Jan. 2. (I’m as­sum­ing some drink­ing will con­tinue into the small hours.)

It really is time that sparkling wine was lib­er­ated from the cel­e­bra­tion ghetto it’s too of­ten in, and I’m en­cour­aged by con­tin­ued strong sales of sparkling wine in On­tario and else­where.

The four re­viewed to­day cover a good price range, but there are many ex­cel­lent al­ter­na­tives avail­able. From On­tario, look for: Henry of Pel­ham Cu­vée Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine ($29.95, LCBO 616441), which is made in the same way as cham­pagne, and de­liv­ers ter­rific fruit and clean crisp­ness; Trius Brut Sparkling Wine ($24.95, LCBO 284539), a vi­brant-tex­tured bubbly with wellde­fined fruit; and Cave Spring Cel­lars Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling Wine ($29.95, LCBO 213983), made from Chardon­nay, with fo­cused fruit and brisk acid­ity.

Prosecco (from Italy) and Cava (from Spain) are of­ten very good value.

Look for: As­to­ria La Robinia Ex­tra Dry Prosecco ($13.95, LCBO 593855), which is zesty and dry, with solid fruit; Codor­níu Brut Clas­sico Cava ($12.85, LCBO 215814); and Freix­enet Cor­don Rosado Brut Cava ($12.95, LCBO 217059), a rosé Cava with ripe, sweet fruit flavours.

From France, there are very at­trac­tive re­gional bub­blies, such as Château de Montgueret Cré­mant de Loire Brut ($19.95, LCBO 217760), as well as cham­pagnes. Try Ni­co­las Feuil­latte Re­serve Par­ti­c­ulière Brut Cham­pagne ($44.80, LCBO 537605) and Pol Roger Ex­tra Cu­vée de Re­serve Brut Cham­pagne ($60.85, LCBO 217158), both of which are very good value.

As you can see, there’s no short­age of op­tions. Of course, you might want to spend more for hol­i­day fizz, but you can still get very good sparkling wine at a rea­son­able price for ev­ery­day drink­ing.

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