Bollinger Special Cuvée

Britain’s sparkling wine market is still worth £1.5bn and 140m bottles of bubbly are sold here each year. Most of the market is made up of prosecco, which has surged in popularity as a champagne alternative over the last few years.There are occasions, however when only champagne will do. Thankfully we found cause to celebrate…

Pewley Down English Sparkling Rosé 2016

I’m a great fan of English wine. It’s not cheap however, and for £32.50 I have high hopes indeed. This wine was a bit of a gamble; I was unaware of this Surrey producer. This compares well with other English Sparkling Wines on price and I found it to be a delicious, celebratory wine. Tasting…

Franciacorta, Castel Faglia, Italy

Italian fizz rose from nowhere about 12 years ago when the prosecco boom began. Demand was huge for cheap fizz, and it was less harsh than Cava. The backlash began a few years ago in response to the acidic, insipid £6 stuff on sale – and it’s image as a drink to get you drunk….

Valiosa Brut NV Spain Laithwaite’s

This Spanish fizz from La Mancha came into being when the opportunist Solis brothers heard that there was a global prosecco shortage a few years ago and decided to try growing Glera grapes in the hot, inland plains south of Madrid. It didn’t work, so they employed similar methods of production (the Charmat or ‘tank’…

Provobis Vino Frizzante Secco – Giordano

Giordano wines are a mixed bunch; the wines are variable in quality but are at the cheaper end of the spectrum. This wine was as usual very vague about details. Giordano took just under a month to deliver my last case. Laithwaites and Virgin take 2-3 days. This wine is decent enough and as part…

Maison de Cirque – Blanc de Blancs. Mas produced…?

Forgive the bad pun. When he started out in the late 1990s, Mas set out to make wines to export: “Selling wines to the French is like trying to sell hamburgers to the Americans.” Consequently, he exports, to 58 countries, 97 per cent of the 20 million bottles he produces annually. I think the problem…

Mumm Cordon Rouge NV Champagne

A champagne whose label perhaps doesn’t carry the cachet of others in the same price bracket that denotes quality. At £35 a bottle it should be good… Thankfully it was delicious – better than I expected. Tasting notes: Biscuity, aromas of lemon and pastry. Notes of toast on the palate. This also had bite as…

Prosecco Conegliano, Sainsbury’s ‘Taste the Difference’ 2018

Good prosecco costs a little more, and this is good sparkling wine and good value at £10. Currently it’s £8 a bottle which is a bit of a steal. Tasting notes: Lively, crisp, aromatic. Pale lemon colour. Frothy mousse. Easy-drinking due to well balance acidity. Fresh with lemon, stone fruit and apple flavours and a floral…

Chapel Down

The Chapel Down vineyard is near Tenterden in Kent. It was started in 1995 and 25 years later it is England’s leading winemaker. English wine has been in the ascendancy for several years, gaining public support, critical acclaim and international accolades. My first experience of English wine was Denbies near Dorking – a beautiful spot,…

Soffio Prosecco

Prosecco sales in the UK went up by 75% in 2014 alone; this year sales overtook champagne and 1 in 3 bottles of sparkling wine sold today will be Prosecco. But will this wine strip your teeth of enamel…? This is OK sparkling wine at £9, but we quickly used it to make Aperol Spritz….

Chapel Down Classic Non-Vintage Brut

Chapel Down near Tenterden produce English fizz on similar chalky terroir to that of the Champagne region, using the traditional method and the same grapes. Taittinger have bought a large plot of land in Kent. Champagne producers can add 10% of wines from outside the Champagne appellation to their blends and last year Moet &…

Cuvee Royale Crémant de Limoux, Waitrose

How does Waitrose Crémant de Limoux compare with other fizz at similar price points?  Sparkling wines from Limoux, nestling in the foothills of the Pyrenees are said to pre-date champagne. In 1990 the term Crémant was introduced for non-Champagne sparkling wines in France, an AOC for more “modern” or internationally-styled sparkling wines. AOC regulations dictate…