Friday, 12 December 2014

4 Really Great Sparkling Wines (Mostly) Under £20

It's celebration time, and no celebration is complete without bubbles. Over the festive period I like to drink my fizz all the time, but if I were to do this with actual champagne it would get rather pricy! Unfortunately, I can't share my personal favourite unless you have access to a Brittany supermarket. It is called Opera and I buy it for about 3€ a bottle, but it proves that you don't have to spend a lot for a good sparkling wine.
4 Really Good Sparkling Wines Under £25
Anyone can recommend champagnes (though I'm currently up on Kentish sparkling wines, if you want something for a special occasion I'd recommend Chapel Down's NV Vintage Reserve or Biddenden's Rosé (this links to 2010, but 2012 is lovely if you can get it) which has lovely raspberry notes) but I thought I'd set myself the very difficult task of sampling the cheaper sparkling wines that you can buy in British supermarkets so you call can know what is good to buy to sip on Christmas Day and to ring in the New Year with.

Gran Campo Viejo Cava Rose, La Rioja Spain

Okay, so I'll always associate Campo Viejo's delicious pink sparkling Cava with sitting on a warm terrace having lunch at their winery, but it is also the perfect pink bubble to ring in the New Year with, or to serve up for a pre-dinner drink, if you don't want to just serve something white, but you don't really want to be fussing around with cocktails. It is fruity and just that little bit sweet; I'd throw it out there as a great accompaniment for Christmas Day dessert, too.

Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Conegliano Prosecco 2013, Italy

I'll admit that Prosecco for me used to mean a cheap welcoming drink at press events, but actually a nice bottle provides something slightly sweet, but still refined that is good to go with a festive meal. This prosecco has a really nice mouth to it, oddly with a slight beer aftertaste, but in a really really good way. It makes it a bit more toothsome, and I really encourage you to try this. We enjoyed it with some pre-dinner nibbles (look out for my Cheese Straws recipe coming soon this season!), but it would be perfect to make Classic White Peach Bellini's for Christmas morning.

Sainsbury's Blanc De Noirs Champagne, Champagne France

I like Blanc De Noirs champagne with its deep, fruity flavours and this great value bottle from Sainsbury's is good if you're looking to splash out on a champagne this Christmas that you don't need absolutely anything else to enjoy it with. As well as being deep, fruity and a little bit rich, this champagne also tastes really nice and clean, and with all the supermarket champagnes I've tasted over the past few months or so this is the one I'd recommend for the midnight toast on December 31st.

Sainsbury's Blanc De Blancs Brut Champagne

Okay, so here we have the one that goes slightly over the £20 budget for this post, but Sainsbury's sent to me, we drunk it, and I felt that it was a good, all purpose champagne for the festive season so I thought I'd still include it as a recommendation for a champagne to go with food; it matches to practically anything much better than the Blanc De Noirs would. I'd give it a shout out to make one of my favourite festive cocktails, my limoncello and gin heavy Italian 75, and for any festive cooking that calls for champagne. I know this is good for that because on the last night at the French house we did not want to open a new bottle of white wine for a pasta sauce on Wednesday, we used a splash of this instead. Delicious!

Thanks so much to the team at Sainsbury's and the guys at Pernod Ricard for helping me out with a few bottles and guidance for this post. I hope you guys have found it helpful, and for more seasonal drinking, be sure to check out my '4 Really Great Red Wines Under £10' post, and my 'Cocktails' section!

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