Breaking away from usual NY bubbles...
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For some people the revelation that there are other sparkling wines beyond Prosecco comes as a surprise as enjoying a glass of this light refreshing fizz is very much the go-to drink when celebrating.
But is it the only one that offers a sense of frivolousness to the occasion? Obviously not as producers of sparkling wines and Champagne have been offering this option for generations but none has grabbed the headlines to the extent of Prosecco, whose economies of scale of production mean lower prices too.
However, the range and quality of other sparkling wines shouldn’t be forgotten and if you’re looking for alternatives to enjoy at New Year there are plenty to try.
Cava was usurped in the market by Prosecco and there are many available at comparable prices. It is made using the ‘method traditionelle’ as in Champagne and it’s worth paying a little more for a crisp appley taste with hints of lemon sorbet and pear, and a minerality that makes for a refreshing aperitif such as that from Villarnau with its Gaudi style sleeve.
Following the methode tradionelle theme there are delicious wines from Tasmania such as Jansz who make an elegant Brut and rosé and coined the term ‘Methode Tasmanois’ for its meticulous attention to producing quality sparkling wines that are still less than £20 per bottle.
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The name Jansz pays homage to Tasmania’s namesake, the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman who first sighted the island in 1642. In fact, when it was established in 1975, the Jansz vineyard was originally named after Tasman’s ship, the Heemskerk.
Franciacorta in Italy is home to producers such as Bellavista and Ferghettina where wines such as the elegant creamy lingering wine called Milledi from 100 per cent Chardonnay, a Brut and a rosé are made using the same grapes as in the Champagne region and same methode of production.
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Ferghettina have also patented the square-base bottle. This enables the lees produced in the bubble producing secondary fermentation in the bottle to slide up to the neck more easily, ready for expelling in the last part of production.
Our own nation’s sparkling wines have proven their worth time and again when taste-blind against Champagnes and though prices are comparable to those of Champagne the quality is often obvious.
Names such as Nyetimber, Camel Valley, Chapel Down and more have made their mark over the last decade or so with consistently good wines that have a lovely small bubbles, toasty aromas and elegant Champagne flavours.
There are others though such as Henners that are worth looking out for making wines such as the Henners Vintage that has a delicate nose with bready and citrus characters. The palate is biscuity and honeyed – with a fine, soft and creamy mousse. The finish is long and very elegant. Beautifully poised!
Similar quality can be found in the cremant wines from French regions such as the Loire Valley andBurgundy, where the methode traditionelle is the key to their qualitythough they use other grapes such as Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley.
These wines, such as that from Sauvion, blend a little Chardonnay with the Chenin Blanc and have a mousse that is rich and frothy with ripe up-front flavours of peach and white-fleshed fruits, followed by a refreshing finish.
So, if you’re looking forNew Year fizz to celebrate the dawn of 2018 why not look out for something new and buy a bottle of your favourite Prosecco too!