The New Year is soon upon us, and New Year's Eve is the one day of the year where the world consumes enough Sparkling wine to keep the producers happy for yet another year. The bubbles are central for celebration in many homes, followed by great food, family and friends.
Sparkling wine comes in many variations from Exclusive Champagnes to simple and fruity Proseccos. The choices seem almost endless and the quality and experience vary to a great degree based on the production methods, the quality of the grapes and the area in which the wine comes from. All this is often reflected in the price.
Prosecco, Cava, Cremant and Champagne are well known for many but if you venture outside the comfort zone of these well-known names and try something a bit more exotic and different you might be surprised by both the quality and the price. Less known sparkling from Italy like Franciacorta and traditional method bubbles from Trentino is slowly climbing the global popularity scale. German small scale Sparkling by the name of "Deutshce Sekt" and South African "Cape Classique" has mad a very good impression in recent years, showing a high quality yet affordable prices.
Even England has announced its arrival with several sparkling wines that can even compete against the quality and style of Champagne.
Here are some of my personal favourites that reflect hard work and quality yet with an affordable price.
Fratelli Berlucchi Casa delle Colonne Franciacorta Brut
A developed wine with a lot of flavour intensity. Aromas of yellow apples, honey and citrus with hints of brioche and dried apricots. A very long finish
Pairs with: Turbot, lobster and chicken
Drink: 3-4 years
Producer: Fratelli Berlucchi
Pongracz Cape Classique
Aromas of yellow apples and lime, with a hint of red berries and biscuits. Fresh and fruity flavours.
Pairs with: Scallops and shrimps
Drink: 2-3 years
Producer: Cave de Pongracz
Country: South Africa
District: Western Cape
Von Buhl Riesling Brut 2015
Citrus, ripe apricots, nuts and brioche dominate the nose. The palate is very fresh and lively with an intense and long lasting mineral driven finish.
Pairs With: Scallops, shrimps, mussels and clams.
Drink: 7-8 years
Producer: Weingut Reichsrat Von Buhl
Launois Grand Cru 2010 Blanc de Blancs
Nice elegant and creamy bubble. Aromas of ripe yellow plums, green apples, citrus and brioche. Fantastic flavour intensity with a great concentration. Well developed flavours of brioche and toast with a long mineral driven finish.
Pairs with: Shellfish, lobster and chicken
Drink: 5-8 years
Producer: Launois Pere & Fils
Marius has worked in several parts of the wine business for the last 16 years. He is currently working as a Category Coordinator for wine and spirits in the Travel Retail business. He is also a part of a tasting panel for the financial newspaper in Norway and writes articles and lectures in his spare time.Marius has a huge passion and dedication for the wine and spirits industry. He is a certified Sommelier and is currently undertaking the WSET Diploma in wines and spirits education.