Tag Archives: sparkling wine

Sparkling Wine – an MW’s perspective

Hallgarten Head of Education, Beverly Tabbron MW, has used the last few weeks to ponder sparkling wine, the different forms and her favourite styles.

Sparkling wines have always been the choice for celebrations, and bubbles always make things go with a swing.  Champagne in particular has always been regarded as the aspirational fizz of choice, and the one to choose for that special occasion.

However Prosecco is now a go-to choice for many consumers. It is on all the shelves and can be seen on TV shows; hairdressers and cafes – as well as restaurants – might even offer a welcome glass of Prosecco on arrival. Like ‘Champagne’ it is almost a brand all by itself.

There is a wide range of Proseccos available for consumers to choose from, and we were delighted to launch our new Prosecco range from the Praprian Estate, owned by our long standing producer Paolo Sacchetto, which includes two sparklers which are both vegan and organic. Two hugely topical characteristics in wine and one of the main reasons why we introduced the range.

We like to encourage people to try something different and entice them away from their usual Champagne and Prosecco choices, so here are a few that could add a different sort of sparkle:

Made in the same production method as Champagne, but from the far north east of France is the Crémant d’Alsace ‘Saint Julien’ from Dopff au Moulin in Alsace. Dopff pioneered the production of Crémant when Julien Dopff attended an exhibition in Paris in 1900 and was introduced to the ‘Champagne method’ of producing sparkling wine with the secondary fermentation in bottle. He experimented with this back at his Domaine and voilà, Crémant d’Alsace was born!

We have all seen that England is establishing itself a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its sparkling wines produced mainly on the chalk soils of Sussex and Hampshire.  This is the same chalk strain that passes through Champagne giving good acidity and freshness, ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the main grape varieties that go into the production of both Champagne and English bottle fermented sparkling wines.  A great alternative to Champagne, and one that is grown and produced on our own doorstep.

For something different, a favourite of mine is the Pignoletto Frizzante ‘Romandiola’, a lightly sparkling wine made from the Pignoletto grape, slightly off-dry and a cross somewhere between Pinot Grigio and Prosecco in taste.  It’s a really refreshing and quaffable style, and not too fizzy either – in my eyes, one of the best wines to serve as an aperitif on a summer’s day.

Featured in issue two of Assemblage.

New Year’s Eve Crackers

Which fizzy tipples are most likely to make a New Year’s Eve celebration go off with a bang? Here we look at what will add some sparkle to your celebration.
Something classic…
Champagne Collet Brut, Art Déco NV

A Champagne from one of the new additions to our portfolio; a broad style  with developed biscuity notes from extended ageing on the lees and a lovely long and savoury finish.

A real foodie Champagne that is perfect as an apéritif or served with a light game starter.

Something English…
Sugrue-Pierre, The Trouble with Dreams Brut 2013

You don’t have to go far when looking for an English sparkling wine to impress than Dermot Sugrue’s Trouble with Dreams 2013, which recently took the top spot in the Independent English Wine Awards.

A pure and elegant multi-award winning sparkling wine, showing lemon and apple aromas, leading to a palate of delicate stone fruit and crisp acidity. Long, biscuity and absolutely delicious.

Something French…
Gérard Bertrand, Code Rouge, Crémant de Limoux NV

As a Champagne alternative, the trend for Crémant has grown dramatically in 2017 with those who are after a fizz with a difference.

King of the Languedoc, Gérard Bertrand’s attractively styled Code Rouge has an enticing floral aroma with notes of pear and citrus,refreshing and vibrant on the palate.

This Blanc de Blanc shows great finesse and elegance and works as well as an apéritif as it does with exciting Asian inspired cuisine.

Something South American…
Doña Paula, Sauvage Blanc NV

Guaranteed to be a talking point amongst guests, Doña Paula’s Sauvage Blanc is Argentina’s first 100% Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine which shows intense aromas of orange blossom, hints of
grapefruit and an intriguing touch of mint.

An SWA Silver Medal winner in 2017, this fizz also doubles up as an amazing apéritif or served alongside rich fish dishes of salmon,
tuna or shellfish.

Something Italian…
Feudi di San Gregorio, Dubl + Spumante Greco NV

Another conversation starter, this is a traditional method sparkling wine with a fine and persistent mousse made using 100% Greco.

Floral and fruity aromas of pumpkin flowers, honey, mango and citrus fruits contrast with the chalky vibe of the Greco grape. A good weight on the palate combines with youthfulness and a persistent minerality typical of the terroir.

Something to kick off the event…
Quady Winery, Vya Extra Dry Vermouth & Quady Winery, Vya Sweet Vermouth

No better way to welcome guests to an event than with a pre-dinner cocktail. Quady Winery has designed the Perfect Manhattan, using two of its signature Vermouth creations.

  • 60ml straight rye whiskey
  • 15ml Vya Sweet Vermouth
  • 15ml Vya Extra Dry Vermouth
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Lemon or orange twist

Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and twist a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel over the top.

 

What to serve with your strawberries at Wimbledon

The quintessential pairing of strawberries and cream is traditionally served alongside Champagne, but what are the alternatives? Here we look at the other strawberry based dishes that could be served up over Wimbledon and what is best to serve with them.

 

Strawberries and cream

Although it is traditional to serve Champagne on Murray Mound or Henman Hill with strawberries, a sparkling wine with a bit of residual sugar will be equally delicious, such as the San Silvestro, Moscato d’Asti DOCG NV which has 88g residual sugar. This sparkling wine is fresh, fragrant and delicately sweet with a fine mousse.

 

Unsweetened strawberries or served plain with a little sugar

Perfectly ripe berries, especially wild strawberries can be delicious with an off-dry sparkling wine such as Carpene Malvolti, 1868 Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore DOCG Conegliano Valdobbiadene NV which is lively, with a crisp acidity and 16g residual sugar.

 

Strawberry tarts or shortcakes

The additional sweetness you get from the pastry or shortbread means your wine needs to be that bit sweeter. We’d pair either of these desserts with Berton Vineyard, Botrytis Semillon 2015 with its luscious, honeyed flavours of peach and apricot.

 

If you’re not a fan of strawberries, you can still embrace Wimbledon’s Britishness with Bacchus and serve a glass of New Hall, Bacchus Reserve 2016, from Purleigh in Essex. New Hall’s vineyards benefit from a very special microclimate and Purleigh is one of the warmest and sunniest spots in the country (unlike centre court).

 

2017: It’s sure to be a grape year

Sparkling wine:

2016 has without a doubt been the year for sparkling wines in the wine industry. A trend that we have seen growing and growing, with the UK seeing a huge 80% rise in sparkling wine sales over the past five years – according to HMRC figures.

Italian sparkling wine has become the dominant force in this arena; recent Mintel figures reveal that 28% of all consumers have purchased Prosecco in the past six months, compared to just 18% that had bought Champagne and 18% that had bought Cava.

We predict this demand for Italian sparkling wine continuing well into 2017 with Prosecco being joined as the market leader by its co-patriots; Lambrusco and Pignoletto (pronounced peen-yo-let-o).

Originating from North-East Italy, Lambrusco, a red sparkling wine, is the name for both the grape and the designated growing areas in which it is produced. The wine’s bright acidity, subtle fizz and dark tannic fruit lends itself perfectly to foods synonymous to Italy, such as fatty charcuterie and hearty pasta sauces.

Pignoletto, is an ancient grape variety originally grown in the hills outside Bologna in Emilia-Romagna, North-East Italy, not far from where Prosecco is produced. Like Prosecco, Pignoletto is made using the charmat method (second fermentation in steel tanks) which produces a crisp, refreshing and fruity wine – a great alternative to Prosecco!

Natural, organic, biodynamic and sustainability:

Natural, organic, biodynamic and sustainability are the current buzz words in the wine industry and are set to become front of mind for the customer in 2017. These styles have become commonplace on wine lists and the shelves of independent retailers in recent months, with consumers keen to explore wines which have greener credentials and have been produced with minimal intervention or impact on the environment.

Emerging regions:

In 2017 the popularity of wines from emerging regions will continue as customers are keen to try more exotic and interesting varietals. Two Eastern Mediterranean nations in particular are set to take off – Turkey and Greece. Not only has the quality of Turkish wines improved dramatically over the last 5 years, but Turkish influenced restaurants have also become increasingly popular thanks to the rise in eastern Mediterranean cuisine and the Mangal theme (think new openings such as Neil Rankin’s Temper and Yosma).

Also set to grow is the demand of Greek wine. The whites in particular stand out from the crowd with their striking elegance and finesse, and aromatic qualities that offer the consumer an excellent and cheaper alternative to old world favourites, as well as providing the opportunity to taste something different and exciting.

The trend of quality over quantity is one we will see develop further in 2017 as consumers are becoming more likely to opt for a more premium wine that is memorable. This is partly due to an increase in wine knowledge with today’s consumer becoming more discerning, and party due to overall a decline in overall alcohol consumption.

Whatever 2017 holds, we are sure to see both the on and off trade branch out and experiment with new and interesting wines to feed their customers imaginations.