Bubbles from around the world
Of the roughly 3,255,555,555 cases of wine produced each year in our world, 10 per cent is sparkling. Champagne and prosecco slug it out for top spot and, although the latter produced about 600 million bottles last year, it would seem that champagne has nudged into the top position.
I do not intend to write about either as I suspect many bottles of each will be taken home this weekend.
Let’s travel around the planet and see what we can find.
Bird in Hand 2018 sparkling pinot noir is a wine that I love for people to taste that believe they do not like either, or all, of the following: Australian wine; pinot noir; sparkling wine.
Its deliciousness should solve all three problems. The wine is made 100 per cent from Adelaide Hill pinot noir, harvested during the cool nights to preserve freshness and flavour.
The colour is beautiful blush pink and the nose exhibits flowers, strawberries and cherry. Australian critic Dan Murphy calls it elegant, delightful, crisp and creamy. $26.15.
We stop next to sample the Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut that captures the delicate cool-climate flavours of New Zealand. From vineyards in Hawke’s Bay and Marlborough, they created a sparkling wine not to stand alongside the Old World, but to stand out as uniquely Oyster Bay. Its wonderful style and zesty fruit vibrancy are simply unforgettable. Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut is made from 100 per cent chardonnay grapes, which give the wine elegance, finesse and minerality.
The lively bubbles in the wine are a result of natural secondary fermentation, which brings to life the delightful and refreshing character.
When a champagne is made only from chardonnay it is referred to as a blanc de blanc and, as you may know, most regular champagnes usually consist of more of the red pinot noir and pinot meurnier grapes than chardonnay, although all three are used. This Oyster Bay sells for $25.35 and a rosé pinot noir has the same price tag.
Stephen Cronk, who recently visited us, will tell you about the lovely new addition to the Mirabeau Provence rosé wines that we presently bring in from his family: “We had some experience with both major methods of sparkling wine production, namely the méthode traditionnelle (like with champagne, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle) and méthode charmat (like prosecco, the second fermentation takes place in a larger tank).
“We opted for charmat, not only because it makes a very good product at an affordable price, but also because it is actually more authentic for Provence wines and plays to their strengths.
“When you buy a bottle of La Folie brut rosé you will find a gorgeous bottle of ballet-pink Provence rosé with a delicate effervescent sparkle. The nose offers up a fresh, soft scent of strawberry and raspberry with hints of gooseberry and blackcurrant. The mousse is mouth filling and fine. Flavours of red berries, grapefruit with a little spice and a lovely long finish. Delicious and refreshing, it’s relatively low in sugar, at a pleasant level between extra brut (very dry) and brut.” $23.75 and a very attractive bottle.
France makes 20 per cent of the world’s bubbles, followed by Italy at 18 per cent and Germany at 15 per cent; Spain, at 10 per cent, is our next stop. Segura Viudas Heredad Brut Cava, like all cava, is produced using the traditional champagne method and the light yeasty flavour, along with apple and lemon are the results of macabeo and parellada grapes. If you are buying this Spanish wine for a gift, I can assure you that the pewter base and label make for a very impressive package that looks well above its pay scale. $31.15.
We will start to wrap up our country-hopping journey in Italy in a northeast area called Franciacorta that is know for the finest sparkler in this land of wine. Ca’Del Bosco Cuvée Prestige, a blend of chardonnay, pinot nero and pinot bianco, is produced by the champagne method and from organic grapes. It is beautiful.
Disgorgement takes place in the absence of oxygen using a unique system designed and patented by Ca’del Bosco. The procedure avoids oxidative stress or the need for additional sulphites, making Ca’del Bosco Franciacortas purer, more appealing and longer lived.
Finally, every bottle is given an individual marking to ensure its traceability. It is as good as a bottle of bubbles can be! $44.80.
With so much discussion on the word impeachment, I will end in Northern Napa at the Schramsberg Winery that was established in the 1800s.
Although Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of drinking Schramsberg on his honeymoon, it was really Richard Nixon that put them firmly on the map when he took this wine to China in 1972 to celebrate “friendship” with chairman Mao.
The Schramsberg 2015 blanc de blanc has bright aromas of apple, tropical fruit and baked bread, which intermingle with hints of lemon blossom, vanilla wafer and baked pear. Candied citrus, green apple, apricot and pineapple vibrate on the palate, which ends clean and refreshing with a quenching drive.
If you visit their deep cellars carved into a mountainside you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in champagne. All Schramsberg sparklers use this traditional production method. $46.
All the very best for 2020.
•This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit wineonline.bm
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