BUB­BLING OVER

It is ex­cit­ing to see the qual­ity of sparkling wine across a range of price points, styles and coun­tries, says JOHN BELSHAM.

Cuisine - - XMAS CLASSICS -

WINE IS ONE of the few things that slows down our mod­ern-day life, if only for a mo­ment. Great wine­mak­ing is a slow and pa­tient pur­suit. Great sparkling wine­mak­ing is even slower, as it can of­ten take a decade or longer to build a re­spectable re­serve stock pro­gram for blend­ing non-vin­tage sparkling wines. How­ever, of­ten the dif­fer­ence be­tween old wine­mak­ing coun­tries and new is not about ex­pe­ri­ence or ca­pa­bil­ity or land or ded­i­ca­tion; it is about fi­nance and time. Most in­vestors in new world ven­tures do not ap­pre­ci­ate age­ing wine in­ven­tory and tend to avoid them, whereas in coun­tries like France much of a wine com­pany’s value is in its bot­tled re­serves.

With an un­der­stand­ing of the lev­els of ded­i­ca­tion, in­vest­ment and time re­quired by sparkling wine pro­duc­ers, it is ex­cit­ing to see the com­mit­ment to qual­ity across a range of price points, styles and coun­tries, old world and new. With so many beau­ti­ful sparklings to choose from, it cer­tainly re­minds us to slow down, cap­ture the mo­ment and en­joy.

Hun­ters Vine­yard

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