There’s nothing like a glass of sparkling wine to mark an occasion. In the past, champagne cast such a large shadow that sparkling wines from elsewhere were often seen as cheap copies of the real thing.
This has now changed and people realise that there’s a diversity of sparkling wine styles, of which champagne is just one. Here are seven sparklers that are a delight.
L’Extra Langlois Crémant de Loire Brut NV, Loire, France £13.99, Majestic, 12.5% alcohol
This is a deliciously focused sparkling wine with a smoky, mineral, savoury edge to the bright green apple and citrus fruit. It’s direct with keen acidity and lots of personality.
Tesco Finest 1531 Blanquette de Limoux 2015, France£9, Tesco, 13% alcohol
It’s claimed that in 1531, Benedictine monks from the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire discovered the second fermentation in the bottle, making blanquette the oldest sparkling wine in the world. I’m not sure of this claim, but this is a real treat. It’s pure and fruity with grape, pear and citrus fruit flavours and a hint of sweetness.
Conde de Haro Cava Brut 2013, Rioja, Spain £12.95, thewinesociety.com (01438 741177), 12% alcohol
A new wine from famous rioja producer Muga, this is boldly flavoured and complex with pear, citrus and yellow plum fruit, as well as hints of toast and nuts.
Miguel Torres Cordillera Pinot Noir Brut Blanc de Noir 2013, Curico, Chile £15.99, sandhamswine.co.uk (01472 852118), 12% alcohol
This wine is all about the fruit. It’s fresh and tangy with bright, pithy citrus fruit. Very lively with a hint of cherries and a juicy purity, it’s sophisticated stuff.
Brown Brothers Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier NV, King Valley, Australia £18, brownbrothers.com (01442 870900), 12.5% alcohol
Here’s a toasty and quite classy wine with bold pear and peach fruit, and rich, almost toasted bread notes. There’s an attractive citrus freshness and a hint of pithy bitterness on the finish. It’s a very accessible sparkler.
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Crémant de Loire NV, France £11, Sainsbury’s, 12.5% alcohol
Zippy and lively, this has ripe apple and pear fruit flavours, some stony, herby hints, and crisp lemons on the finish. There’s an attractive intensity to this wine.
The Society’s Exhibition English Sparkling Wine NV, England £21, The Wine Society (as before), 12% alcohol
English sparkling wine is the latest thing, and this example is delicious. It has a hint of pear and grape richness and cherry liqueur in the background, but the core theme is lemony fruit. It has a real zip to it.