Beginners Guide to Fizz

Who doesn’t love a glass of fizz? There’s nothing better than some bubbles to help lift ones mood or get one into the party spirit!  Gone are the days when we only drank fizz to celebrate a special occasion, it’s now many people’s go-to drink.  This is because there are now so many sparkling alternatives to Champagne readily available and at a fraction of the price.  

Prosecco, from the Veneto region of Italy, is the most well-known and best-selling sparkling wine in the UK and needs no introduction. Although its rise in popularity over the last few years has been quite phenomenal and unprecedented, one needs to be aware of the fact that there is good Prosecco and not so good Prosecco!  Whereas quality Proseccos can offer the consumer great value sparkle, some mass-produced, British bottled ones should be avoided!

Here’s a couple of quality Proseccos which offer great value for money:

Prosecco Il Fresco, Villa Sandi 
A great quality Prosecco from the excellent Villa Sandi, soft, fruity and elegant.

Amori  Prosecco
This great value Prosecco is too good to be missed! A gentle easy-going sparkler from north eastern Italy it is a hugely enjoyable, everyday drinking wine, ideally served as an aperitif

However in the world of sparkling wine, one needs to remember that there is more to life than Prosecco!!

If you are battling through middle age like me you will be old enough to remember when Cava was ‘en vogue’. Back in the eighties to early nineties Cava was the go-to fizz and if you mentioned Prosecco, nobody knew what you were talking about.

If you haven’t tried Cava recently (within the last ten years), why not give it a try? The beauty about Cava is that it is made in the same way as Champagne but because the wine is generally aged for less time it is much less expensive.

Entry level Cava is only matured for nine months so I would suggest starting at Reserva level. This means the wine has matured on its ‘lees’ (dead yeast left in the bottle after the fermentation process has finished) for a minimum of 15 months, giving a much greater depth of flavour and character.

Castell D’Olerdola Brut Reserva NV 
The nose has hints of hazelnut and buttered toast and the palate is dry with a subtle honeyed edge. Rich, dry and full flavoured with a lemony hint on the finish.

You may, like me, be a true Francophile, in which case I would suggest you look to the regions of Burgundy, Loire or Alsace and pick up a bottle or two of Crémant.

Crémant is a French term for sparkling wine made outside the Champagne region from the same traditional method, and like Cava, is matured for less time and therefore cheaper. The other key difference being that they are not restricted to using the main grape varieties found in Champagne and can use local Varietals such as Riesling in the case of Alsace.

These wines really can be of exceptional quality and represent fabulous value for money.

Two suggestions for you to try;

Crémant de Bourgogne, Domaine Roger Luquet
Made using 100% Chardonnay to give finesse and elegance. Dry, but full-bodied, rich, fruity and supple.

Dopff & Irion Crémant d’Alsace Brut Blanc de Blancs 
From a small, five-hectare biodynamic estate, this has pretty almost floral hints, fresh and lively in the mouth with a clean fresh finish

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