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I’ve had a few emails recently about non-grape-based drinks made in a wine style. Whether that’s fruit wine or ‘Champagne method’ cider. What’s on your radar here that I should check out? I might try and find some and do a tasting for the future.
With Hallmark’s favourite holiday just a week away, I thought I’d do a quick roundup in Taste of some of my favourite sparkling wines. Lyme Bay - who I’ve featured in the roundup - were originally going to be part of the podcast, but due to some scheduling issues unfortunately never got to it.
Twitterers should follow Lyme Bay’s Liam Idzikowski as well as Nyetimber’s Brad Greatrix. The pair often get into great discussions about English terroir and some of the more in-depth details of winemaking.
Comte de Senneval Champagne (£12.99 from Lidl) remains my favourite sparkling wine under £20. We bought a few cases at Christmas and still have some left over. This smells of lemons and biscuits, and it doesn’t have that cheap, aggressive bubble to it that a lot of cheaper plonk does.
Lyme Bay Sparkling Rosé (£28.99 from the winemaker) is a pleasure to drink. You can really get a taste of the pinot noir in here. It’s fruity, for sure, but there’s some great complexity beneath it that keeps sending you back for more.
A pub near my old workplace used to stock Ridgeview’s Bloomsbury Brut (available at Waitrose for £28.99), which means I drank it a bit more often than most. This has got some citrus as you might expect, but with a honeyed character to it that really gives it depth.
Sparkling wine in theory can have any grapes added to it, but each region tends to favour some of its own.
Champagne uses pinot noir, pinot Meunier, and chardonnay. England’s rise to fame in part mirrors the adoption of those grapes there as well. Champagne and England are both regions.
Cava is dominated by three main grapes: macabeo, xarel-lo, and parallada. Of which, the first two make excellent dry whites too. Cava is the name for Spanish sparkling wine but can only be produced in the Catalonia region. Prosecco is the name of the grape (to add extra confusion to the naming).
Prosecco can be made in Conegliano, and Valdobbiadene. It occasionally has other grapes included but less frequently than elsewhere. Sekt is the German name for sparkling wine.
Sekt can be produced all over Germany and Austria, and can use a variety of grapes including the traditional Champagne trio, and German stalwart riesling. My primer on Sekt is a great starting point to learn more.
Sparkling wine is often described in terms of ‘mousse’. This is how bubbly the top of the glass (or ‘head’) is. The length this lingers for is typically an indicator of quality.