With lockdown restrictions easing, we thought it would be a good time to talk about some of the best sparkling wines. It’s been a tough year so far for most of us, and we’re ready to enjoy some fizz with family and friends.
Before we pick out our favourites, here are some sparkling wine basics.
A quick guide what makes sparkling wines so special
What are sparkling wines and what makes them so special? Of course, it’s the bubbles! These wines sparkle because of the high levels of carbon dioxide in them. How that fizz gets in there differs from wine to wine. A quality bottle of champagne gets its bubbles naturally from the fermentation process in the bottle.
Cheaper bottles of sparkling wine such as prosecco use the ‘charmat’ method. This involves a second fermentation process in a large tank. Finally, the cheapest and simplest method is injecting carbon dioxide into the bottle.
So, is there a difference? Unsurprisingly, yes. Bubbles found in a glass of champagne are longer lasting and ‘finer’ than ‘charmat’ fizz. The bubbles in this case are a result of a natural aging process that also adds to the flavour.
5 sparkling wines to serve at your next summer party
- François Montand Brut Blanc de Blancs
Champagne is sparkling wine that only comes from the French region of the same name. It predominantly uses Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. We’ve picked out this particular French wine as a great example of the Champagne method of winemaking. It comes from the limestone hills of the François Montand vineyard and has a smooth feel in the mouth, with lovely citrus aromas.
- Sacchetto Prosecco Extra Dry ‘Fili’
Prosecco comes from the Veneto region of north eastern Italy. It is a dry sparkling wine often made from Glera grapes. It sometimes has the unfair reputation of being a poor substitute for champagne.
But there are some interesting examples to try. This is one of our favourites at Ideal Wine Company, an excellent and complex sparkling wine with a floral, yeasty flavour. Delicious as an aperitif.
- Domaine Carneros Blanc de Noir
If you want to try out the American take on sparkling wine, this is a great place to start. The Domaine Carneros Blanc de Noir is a classic Californian sparkling wine. Zesty, with citrus notes, and perfect for a summer’s day in the Napa Valley.
- Spätburgunder Sekt Geisenheimer Mönchspfad
As a part of the Treaty of Versailles, France locked down the name ‘champagne’. And this is why we now call German sparkling wines ‘sekt’. Over the years, sekt has been lower profile among wine lovers than champagne or prosecco, but they’re just as good as other German wines.
The one we’ve picked out is the Spätburgunder Sekt Geisenheimer Mönchspfad brut rosé from the Bardong winery. Pale pink with a hint of strawberries, it is perfect for a summer party.
- Dellara Cava Brut
Cava is the classic Spanish sparkling wine and it’s a big favourite for sparkling wine fans. Made from Macabeu grapes, its depth of flavour comes from the second fermentation process that takes place in the bottle.
Our pick is the Dellara Cava Brut. It might seem cheap and cheerful, but it is surprisingly well balanced and fruity too. There’s a hint of apple in there and it has a dry finish. Pop a bottle in the fridge and enjoy with friends.