SAM Wylie-Harris pops the corks on the best sparkling wines for this festive season, including the long-awaited rosé prosecco.
Christmas party season may feel a little off-kilter this year, but one thing’s for sure – we’re no less keen to enjoy some festive fizz!
In fact, more so than ever.
Who doesn’t love that heaven-sent hiss when the cork’s pulled, and millions of feisty bubbles burst onto the scene?
Tulip flutes at the ready, here’s what’s top of our pops this season…
1. Villa Sandi Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut Millesimato, Italy, £14.99, Bellavita
The new kid on the bubbly block, pretty pink prosecco is finally here!
After a change in Italian law enabling the production, heaven-sent rosé prosecco has hit the shelves just in time for Christmas – and we’re head over heels in love with the pink stuff.
This one’s from Villa Sandi (a highly respected estate and producer of some of Italy’s most celebrated sparkling wines) and is the colour of a fashionable Provençal pink.
Made largely from the glera grape and topped up with pinot noir, think classic notes of ripe pear and peach, along with subtle red berry fruit and florals, in a dry (brut) style. Bellissima!
2. Bouvet-Ladubay Instinct Saumur Brut 2015, Saumur, France, £11, Lay & Wheeler
Behind this promising label is a classy crémant that combines a creamy texture with fresh orchard fruit aromas, zesty lemon and underlying bready notes.
Expressive and a joy to drink, it was awarded 90 points (outstanding) in 2019 by Robert Parker Wine Advocate and will appeal to those looking for something that looks the part – and tastes out of this world without having to break the bank.
3. Vaux Cuvée Vaux Deutshcher Sekt Brut 2016, Pfalz, Germany, £16.70, Jascots
German sparkling wines aren’t always on our radar, which is a shame when you consider how good their traditional method sparkling wines (sekt) are, especially from high-profile producers such as Schloss Vaux.
A vintage blend made from pinot noir (a champagne variety), pinot blanc and riesling, this is exceptionally fresh and a great all-rounder with its assertive, fruity palate, lovely combination of apple and melon flavours, along with citrusy fruits and well-balanced acidity providing the perfect support act for seafood canapés and Christmassy crostini.
4. Della Vite Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Valdobbiadene, Italy, £25.99, Selfridges
A sprinkling of stardust surrounds this A-list prosecco.
A joint venture between the model/actress/socialite Delevingne sisters – Cara, Poppy and Chloe – and the Biasiotto family of winemakers, the dark frosted bottle and gold writing is as swish and poised as the prosecco inside.
Utterly delicious with a delicate, creamy mousse, floral aromas and perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, it’s right on point.
As Poppy Delevingne puts it: “We’ve always spoken about starting a business together but were keen to find something we could all really get behind and that was equally meaningful to each of us.
“Prosecco has always been our ritual, wherever we were in our lives, laughter and lifelong memories were made over cold glasses of prosecco so it was the obvious perfect fit for us.”
5. Roebuck Estates Classic Cuvée 2014, Sussex, England, £35, Roebuck Estates
A real tour de force from this Sussex producer, Roebuck Estates were awarded Best in Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020, as well as a Platinum medal for this splendid sparkler – and it’s only the second vintage.
A classic champagne blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, it’s beautifully fresh with hints of baked apple, orchard fruits and lemon zest, along with a toasty richness and truffly, earthy note rounding it off beautifully, evoking a lovely sense of the countryside.
6. Champagne Lanson Le Blanc De Blancs, France, £59.99, Selfridges
When only champagne will do, this blonde bombshell is an exciting new release from Lanson – and blanc de blancs non-vintage champagne doesn’t get much better than this.
Made entirely from chardonnay grapes, it’s fabulously elegant and refined, yet with vitality and structure.
Attractive florals and white fruit aromas are enhanced by a wonderful nutty, yeasty complexity, with pristine fruit riding on the finest beads of bubbles with a long, fresh, seductive finish. Class in a glass.
7. Chapel Down Classic Non-Vintage Brut Magnum, Kent, England, £60, 1.5L, Chapel Down
Nothing beats a showy magnum for a family gathering, and for a classic example of quality English fizz, you can’t find much better than this star performer.
A flag-bearer for English wine, Chapel Down’s fresh fruity bubbles display aromas of red apples, citrusy fruits and freshly baked bread – with a lively, mineral character part of the supporting cast and apple and lemon flavours providing freshness and drive.
A trophy choice for party nibbles and light starters.