Champagne needs no introduction. The instantly recognised silhouette of the bottle; the signature sound of a popped cork, followed by the magical clink of champagne flutes; it all oozes sophistication and elegance, and signals that something special- a toast, a speech, or a cause for celebration- is about to follow.
But perhaps its formidable reputation is becoming its downfall. In the search for more affordable fizz, the UK has become the largest consumer of Prosecco in the world, putting away millions of pound’s worth of the Italian sparkling wine annually. Whilst it can’t boast the same depth and complexity as its more expensive French cousin, it offers us great-tasting fizz and the experience of Champagne regardless; the silhouette, the cork, the flutes, they’re all the same, and Prosecco is not the only contester creeping out of Champagne’s elite shadow. Amongst the whispers down the grapevine, two big topics are coming up again and again - France, and England.
Crémant d’Alsace is France’s best-kept secret, but the UK is starting to notice. The region makes French sparkling wines using the méthode traditionnelle- the same method as Champagne- but with a more diverse range of grapes to choose from; resulting in beautifully varied wines, and a lower price tag.
Try our Domaine Klur for £24.00, and see for yourself why this is an absolute essential this summer. Still a rare occurrence in France, winemakers have used biodynamic practises and wild yeast for fermentation; it’s this care and attention to detail that makes this a truly special bottle. A beautiful blend of fruit and brioche, a glass of this looks perfectly at home at a summer picnic, and will take Sunday brunch from average, to exceptional.
English Sparkling Wines
In the pursuit of happiness, you might find it closer to home this year. As climate change causes the South of England to warm up to temperatures rivalling the Champagne region, many are looking to the English sparkling vineyards with increasing intrigue.
Davenport Vineyard’s first sparkling wine blends the 3 traditional Champagne grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier) with Auxerrois, a lesser known but ardently beautiful French grape. The result is a stunning wine that has a personality much like Champagne - yeasty, biscuity, with a melt in the mouth mousse - refined with the sweet hints of peach and grape.
Based in East Sussex, the winemakers have been making wines since 1991, and are committed to making every action they do environmentally friendly and sustainable. The ethos of the company is local; every wine is organic, using natural yeast, and made without any animal products. The 2010 was their first sparkling wine, which makes the fact that it won Bronze in the 2017 UK Wine Awards even more impressive. As sophisticated as it is refreshing, it certainly deserves a place in your cellar or ice bucket this summer.
In fact, the only thing it is lacking in is a hefty price- and doesn’t £29.00 a bottle taste so much sweeter? Pick up a bottle here, and don’t wait for a special occasion to crack it open.
Red Sparkling Wines
Yep, you read that correctly- red sparkling wine exists, and it’s delicious. For a long time, the lesser-known member of the sparkling wine family has been considered overly sweet, cheap, and generally, a bit underwhelming. That’s changing, however.
The Australians saw the potential here a while ago, and have been reaching for the sparkling Syrah (Shiraz) in place of still red wines whenever there’s a meaty dish, or something decadently chocolatey to be enjoyed. The combination is heavenly, and it’s such a versatile style that it slips seamlessly into every occasion, especially summer barbecues.
Likewise, Italy shouldn’t just be associated with Prosecco - they also produce Lambrusco, a red sparkling wine.
Magically effervescent, with a velvety smoothness that comes from ruby red fruits and spicy herbs, it often packs a punch even at its characteristic 11% ABV. This semi-sweet, lightly tannic style flourishes when paired with the classic Italian choices; pasta and antipasti. Emilia Romagna, the land of Lambrusco, also specialises in balsamic vinegar and parmigiano- sipped alongside the rich, strong flavours, this lighter, slightly sweet, wine blossoms.
Curious? Our Venturini Baldini, Monoblocco Lambrusco a fine expression of the style. Try it once, and you might find yourself a convert!
Champagne still has a place in our hearts, but there’s a whole world of sparkling wines out there that are begging to be experienced. Have a browse through the Club’s selection; whether your heart tells you to keep it classic with Prosecco and traditional-style Cava, or jumps at the thought of trying the Xarel-lo (link) grape, or a sparkling red wine for the very first time, now you can.
All it takes is a few clicks.