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Sparkling wines

From June 2015, posts and features on Champagne and other French sparkling wines migrated to their own special page HERE. Otherwise, you can find pieces about, for instance, Crémant de Bourgogne on that dedicated Burgundy page and Limoux fizz there, which was updated in July 2015 HERE.
You don't really need a special time of the year to be more inclined to crack open some bubbly aside New Year, birthdays or summer say, although it does help if you can indulge in the garden, backyard or better still outside on your hols. If you're travelling or chilling in France or elsewhere in €uro land where they produce fizz (Germany, Italy, Catalonia...), Champers and other sparklers (Sekt, Prosecco, Cava...) are less expensive than in the UK, Ireland, North America or the Scandi nations because of lower taxes. So, you'll find plenty of links on this page pointing to sparkling stories and recommended bubbly on WW.com (still 'work in progress' as they say...).

From https://www.facebook.com/vinoltrepo

Italy and Spain

Zeitgeisty wines (Feb. 2021)
LombardyItaly - Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Nero Metodo Classico Brut - I didn't make a note of the producer, or whether it was vintage or non-vintage, of this delightful bottle bought in a supermarket in Sicily several months ago. Nevertheless, it serves as a great 'generic' example of one of Italy's best 'traditional method' sparkling wines made from Pinot Noir in the north. Classy bubbles with rich toasty brioche notes, maturing savoury sourdough flavours and fresh acidity still running through the lively finish. Photo above from the Consorzio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese's Facebook page (hover over image).
Mas Miralda Cava Rosado Vintage 2017 and 2016 (12% abv) - One of Asda's 'Extra Special' labels and almost always on offer at a bargain £6 or £7 (£8 'usually'), this superior rosé Cava is produced by the Marques de la Concordia group although not sure if it always was? As the latest 2017 vintage tastes quite different from the previous 2016 (also reviewed last year) - this could just be an age thing as the '16 was richer toastier and fruitier, and the '17 is fresher and more appley although still a nice buy and may well deepen in flavour in bottle.
Marques del Norte Cava Vintage 2018, Jaume Serra (11.5%) - Another good Asda buy at £6, this reliable Cava offers nutty and apple notes with refreshing frothy finish.
Emendis Nu Allongé Cava Brut Nature (11.5%) - Made by Anna and Jordi Valles from the Xarel-lo grape variety, this classy Catalan fizz treads the fine line well between toasty yeasty and roasted almond with aromatic freshness and very dry finish. £11.99 Virgin Wines (excluding any wine club members' discount).

Prestige Cava Rosado Prestige Cava Brut
At first, I thought this dynamic duo were the usual Marks & Spencer Cavas with flashy new labels and a price rise, but they are additional to the range and definitely noticeably tastier and toastier quality-wise for the £10 price tag. Made by 'Sevisa' in Torrelavit up in the hills to the west/north-west of Barcelona, which is probably Segura Viudas, part of the Freixenet group and well-known for their reliably classy Cavas. The 'Prestige Brut' is classically made from local grapes Macabeo and Parellada and shows fine fizz, floral yeasty nutty aromas and lovely crisp mouth-feel layered with subtle richer oat-biscuit flavours. The 'Prestige Rosado' rosé is probably the star of the pair and shaped by 'mostly' or '100%' (slightly contradictory info on Mark's website) Catalan red variety Trepat, which has similar long-lasting elegant bubbles but is red-fruitier with rose petal notes, well-poised palate offering crisp bite, toastiness and delicious lingering fresh fruitiness. Both are pretty dry, '1 out of 5' on that popular scale (one being the driest, five the sweetest), and 12% alcohol by volume.
Marqués del Norte Cava Brut Vintage 2018, Jaume Serra
A fairly long-standing Asda label (usually £7.25, £6 at the moment), although this bottle has a black label with gold lettering and band, whereas the shot on their site has a black surround with a gold 'badge' centre and red lettering, so it looks like they've changed label or vintage? Jaume Serra is another name you can count on in Cava-land and this winery produces a lot of good quality own-labels. This 2018 is also made from the traditional Cava grape varieties and seemed less fizzy than the Marks' two, but had enticing apple and roast almond characters, perhaps a touch lighter (11.5% abv) with crisp yet soft finish. 'No. 2' on the dryness scale.
Mas Miralda Cava Vintage Reserva 2014
Another Asda label, possibly from the same supplier but this time under their 'Extra Special' banner and an older vintage aged in bottle for longer (obviously). More developed on the nose and palate with richer biscuit tones, oilier rounded texture (12% abv) with lingering freshness although for drinking straightaway. £9 a bottle although I think it was £7.50 on offer.
Mas Miralda Cava Rosado Vintage 2016
The rosé version of the above is even better, especially if you can get it for a bargain £7 on offer. Deliciously toasty with rich red fruits and dark choc texture, still fresh and fizzy too.Cava Brut Nature 2016
This Cava is made from Chardonnay as well as Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada (with 11.5% abv) by Marqués de Monistrol, part of United Wineries for J. Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' range. This dry and nicely mature Cava is a Brut Nature style (sometimes called Brut Zero or Zero Dosage), which means not sweetened at all like regular Brut styles can be let alone those confusing so-called 'Extra Dry' ones which are actually even less dry! It had delicate yeasty notes alongside almond and apple flavours, again for drinking up rather than keeping. Sometimes on offer for £7.50-ish or £9 full price.
Cava Rosado
Tesco's good-value all-rounder rosé Cava delivers plenty of fruity flavour for the money - strawberry, raspberry and chocolate, refreshing acidity and off-dry finish. Also produced by Jaume Serra. £6
Jaume Serra Cava Brut
JS is cornering the market it seems - this gold-label version is available on and off in some of B&M Bargains' licensed stores (which isn't many) for about £6.49 from memory. Similar style with nice mix of yeasty, frothy and refreshing.
Barcelona Cuvée 1872 Cava Brut Rosé
Apart from evoking that Freddie Mercury song, this special celebration bottling by the mighty Codorníu packaged in a pretty 'modernist stained-glass window' decorated bottle is also supposed to replicate winemaking methods of the time. Such as where some of the base wine is fermented in oak casks before second fermentation in bottle, using 'the choicest traditional red varietals' whatever that means since their site also talks about Parellada, which is a white variety unless there's a red sibling too? Anyway, the net result is very tasty and berry fruity with subtle yeast-lees richness and refreshing finish. Winemark stores in NI - usually something like £12-£13 but much better value if you do one of their '£5 off two' type deals (their website is hopeless with very few of their range or current prices on it).

Wines of the moment and other strange fruits (Feb. 2020): A couple of Cavas from Sainsbury's and Marks.
Pink fizz with spicy food (Chinese and Indian BYO restaurants Ballyhack Belfast, July 2019).
(2018 to 2016 to follow...)
Wines of the week: three Cavas (May 2015).
Cava guide (Spain, on-going: updated Aug 2015)
Find more Spanish fizz by doing a Cava search (click there).

England and Germany

Gusbourne Estate, Kent, England.

English Wine Week and wine guide June 2016: the latest version of this guide...
As well as the sparkling wineries above, for the first time I've broadened the reach to take in still whites, rosés and reds (the focus had previously been just on 'traditional method' sparklers). Buy the guide for just £2 or equivalent in your own currency.


Click HERE for more about card payments, your privacy and terms and conditions. I will email the PDF supplement to you once I receive payment confirmation from PayPal. Enjoy.

English sparkling wine supplement (updated May 2015) - 'I've put together a 14-page special supplement on English sparkling wines, which is fizzing over with great 'Champagne' lookalikes, and taste-alikes, from 15 exciting English wine estates, vineyards, wineries and brands featuring Upperton, Hattingley, Brightwell, Digby, Henners, Hush Heath, Jenkyn Place, Danebury, Gusbourne, Chapel Down, Bolney, Bluebell, Ridgeview, Knightor and Furleigh...' See above for updated updated version.

Champagne & sparkling wines festive fizz (Dec 2013) featuring nice bottles that crossed my path: Cava, Prosecco, the Cape, England, Champagne and sparkling Shiraz.
England: Furleigh Estate, Dorset featuring their 2009 Classic Cuvée (Oct 2012).
Reichsrat von Buhl Riesling and Pinot Noir Sekt, 2004 to 2009 vintages (Nov 2011).
Champers vs English fizz: Pierre Gimonnet et Fils and Gusbourne Estate, Kent (Sept 2011).
English Wine Week (almost): Ridgeview, Nyetimber (W. Sussex) & Camel (Cornwall) (June 2010).

Australia, South Africa & Chile

Winter wines of the moment (Feb.2019): Graham Beck's Val Rhona.
Isla Negra Brut sparkling rosé, Chile (May 2011).
Pirie & Petaluma Very classy Australian bubbly (Feb. 2010).

Even more international fizzy links:
Zeitgeisty wines (Feb. 2021): Hungary - Andoni Sparkling Wine Sec NV (11.5%) - It says 'blended from four of Hungary's native grape varieties' on Virgin Wines' website, so your guess is as good as mine: easy-going fizz modelled in the style of 'Hungarian Prosecco' with a light touch and off-dry finish (£10.99 although I paid a good bit under a tenner).
New York State, Finger Lakes: Seneca and Cayuga (Nov. 2019): 2018 #356 Bubbly Dry Riesling from Boundary Breaks Vineyard.

Champagne & French sparkling retrospective

Champagne Drappier IV Quattuor (June 2015) - After this one, Champagne links can be found HERE.
A couple of Champagnes of the moment: Champagne Louis Chaurey Brut (M&S) and Premier Cru Champagne (Tesco) - New Year's Eve 2012 updated with super-duper Croser Sparkling from Australia.
Fizz of the moment: Royal Seyssel Brut: obscure yet pretty sparkling wine region in Savoy on the way up to skiing country in the French Alps (Sept 2010).
'Yawn, yet another luxury special edition': Champagne Gosset (Dec 2009).
Pass the Bolly or "If it's the 85 you were expecting me...": Bollinger feast including some fab old vintages (May 2004).

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.