Pop the cork on some fizz

ADD SOME SPARKLE: There is plenty of sparkling wine at good prices if you do not want Cham­pagne, says Chris­tine Austin.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Wine Column -

HAT with the Ju­bilee and the Olympics, 2012 has been a fan­tas­tic year and while the fash­ion for belt tight­en­ing seems to be drag­ging on for­ever, there is no rea­son for the eco­nomic gloom to spill over into the ex­cite­ment of Christ­mas. If we all pop the corks on sparkling wine this sea­son then our col­lec­tive spir­its will boost the na­tional feel­good fac­tor into next year.

Cham­pagne is the fizz of choice for many, but it doesn’t have to be; there are plenty of good sparkling wines from New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Eng­land, giv­ing ex­cel­lent flavours and in some cases a lot bet­ter value for money.

As al­ways there are shelves full of half-price of­fers, some of them worth their full price but many mas­querad­ing as great value but in fact hid­ing thin, acidic wines. To save you dis­ap­point­ment I have done the hard work for you by lin­ing up some of the best deals and tast­ing the wines. Here is my se­lec­tion of the best buys this Christ­mas.

Un­der £10

Pres­tige Cava Brut, NV, Spain, Marks and Spencer, down from £8.99 to two bot­tles for £14: A clear step up from many cavas, this has clean, cit­rusy fruit with a toasty flavour and a good fin­ish.

Bou­vet Ladubay Sau­mur NV, Loire, France, Ma­jes­tic, down from £11.99 to £9.99 un­til Fe­bru­ary 4: Made in the Cham­pagne method, by a com­pany owned by Tait­tinger, but def­i­nitely us­ing non-Cham­pagne grapes of Chenin, this wine still musters crisp, ap­ple-fresh fruit with lay­ers of com­plex­ity. Aper­i­tif-style



Cré­mant de Jura, France, Aldi, £6.99: Made from 100 per cent Chardon­nay in ex­actly the same way as cham­pagne, this wine has a soft creamy mousse and a fresh-tast­ing, crisp, dry fin­ish. It tastes well above its price point and should be a sta­ple for any large gath­er­ing.

Tesco Finest Bisol Prosecco, down from £9.99 to £8.49 un­til Jan­uary 1: A fam­ily-friendly fizz with balanced flo­ral aro­mat­ics and a fizzy, frothy taste that ends al­most dry. Pour this for large gath­er­ings and for present-open­ing on Christ­mas morn­ing.

£10 to £15

Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV, New Zealand, Ma­jes­tic, down from £19.99 to £14.99 un­til Jan­uary 30: Pure el­e­gance and com­plex­ity makes this well worth its price. It has lay­ers of toast and lime mar­malade with a style that could come from Reims.

Tesco Finest Pre­mier Cru Cham­pagne, down from £19.99 to £14.99 un­til Jan­uary 1: Yet an­other award in the In­ter­na­tional Wine Chal­lenge for this fizz. Balanced, yeasty and long with a clear cit­rus fin­ish this is a su­per­mar­ket cham­pagne you can be proud to pour.

Louis Chau­rey Cham­pagne NV, Marks and Spencer down from £30 to £15 un­til Jan­uary 1: This is crack­ing value at £15. It has good con­cen­tra­tion with meaty, yeasty com­plex­ity and won’t let you down if you pour it as an aper­i­tif this Christ­mas.

Ca­nard Duchêne Brut NV, Ma­jes­tic down from £25 to £15 un­til Fe­bru­ary 4: This is def­i­nitely a brand to watch since qual­ity is on the up while prices are still very rea­son­able. Treat your­self to this clean, ele­gant wine with hints of toasty

Cham­pagne is the fizz of choice for many, but it doesn’t

have to be.

com­plex­ity and maybe keep a cou­ple of bot­tles for next sum­mer.

£15 to £20

Sains­bury’s Blanc de Noirs Cham­pagne, down from £20.09 to £18 un­til Jan­uary 1: This is a broad-flavoured cham­pagne, full of yeasty, toasty notes and big enough to ac­com­pany sub­stan­tial canapés.

Jacques Bon­coeur Réserve Brut NV, Cham­pagne, Bon Coeur Fine Wine (01765 688200) down from £19.49 to £18.49: A stylish cham­pagne, spe­cially blended for this Masham-based mer­chant. Mainly Pinot Noir with just enough Chardon­nay to add el­e­gance and fi­nesse.

Chapel Down NV Vin­tage Re­serve, Eng­land, Waitrose £19.99: Keep the flag fly­ing with a glass of this flo­ral and ap­ple crunchy sparkling wine from the vine­yards of Kent.

£20 to £30

G H Mumm Cor­don Rouge NV, Tesco, down from £31.99 to £23.99 un­til Jan­uary 1: An­other brand which is now hit­ting its price point with con­fi­dence and qual­ity. A broad-flavoured fizz with plenty of body and toasty notes, drink this as an aper­i­tif, then carry it through to din­ner.

Oudinot Vin­tage 2005 Cham­pagne, Marks and Spencer, down from £29 to £24 un­til Jan­uary 1: I have been a

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