Guzzle and Graze - is sparkling wine evolving or revolving?
PUBLISHED: 16:03 28 July 2014 | UPDATED: 16:23 28 July 2014
Hi, I'm Scott, a thirty something chap living in Addlestone. I have a huge passion for wine and food. Having worked in the wine trade for the last six years, I've developed the way I stare, swirl, sniff and sip - and would now like to share some of that experience with you here…
Sparkling wine is, well, pretty much its own entity. Especially now because of its huge growth and popularity – be that the glory and finesse of Champagne or the pure fun and frolics of Prosecco. It’s here to stay!
Its Fizz, Bubbles or Sparklers - out there on its own, singing in tune with the angels and pleasing people in a way that provokes and evokes emotions, memories and creates new ones. Like wine, but not quite.
Everyone loves a good celebration, be that an exam pass, a new baby or a new haircut! We all like to indulge in a little expressive smiling because of something nice that has happened. This is where sparkling wine sits best, I think.
It’s accessible, it doesn’t have to cost the world and most importantly you don’t really have to ‘think before you buy’ – I will elaborate on that. It was my wife’s 30th birthday recently and the very first thing that I thought about organising, was a bottle of Laurent Perrier’s finest: their rosé in my opinion.
I get brownie points for getting the fizz in and she enjoys a good glass (or maybe four, ahem!) of some decent kit. Conversely, when my wife finished work to have our daughter, I bought her a bottle of Prosecco, which was enjoyed all the same.
The question is, why did I change my buying habit on those two events? Was it because my budget didn’t permit at the time of the latter, so I simply got what I could with what was in my wallet (which is receipts and cobwebs at the best of times!)? I actually can’t answer that, or come to a solid conclusion other than another question – is there a sparkling wine for every occasion or are we just following suit on what other people do?
Perhaps there is a sparkling wine for every occasion, but who dictated that to us? Special occasion or not, should I simply get her LP Rosé all the time, simply because she is what L’Oreal tells us? I fear this is becoming more of a debate now, when these posts are far from that, so let me alleviate some of this cogitation and start writing about fizz… properly!
Did you know that a flute of Champagne has the same calories as a banana? That doesn’t make a glass one of your five-a-day sadly! Did you know that there are around 50 million bubbles in a single bottle of Champagne?
Champagne is a thing of beauty, decadence and brings perpetual joy when in the company of a bottle and a flute - and a plate of fish and chips I’ll have you know, too. If nobody reading this has tried these two together then you MUST, I insist.
It is the best flavor and texture matching partnership on the planet, and I have done hundreds of food and wine sessions before and so far, not found one that makes me go “Oooh and Ahhh” in such a way that I forget where I am and let it take me away, to somewhere else, to somewhere tranquil; where the trains are made of gravy and biscuit wheels. It’s that good.
Here are a few of my current favourite sparkles from Champagne:
Champagne AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs £29.99 from The Wine Reserve in Cobham.
Blanc de Blancs means white on white and thus the grapes are 100% Chardonnay. All the fruit is from their own Grand Cru vineyards in the village of Chouilly and the wine, after its second bottle fermentation, was bottle aged for four years. Tons of tasty and tidy white fruits and delicate floral aromas.
The flavor goes on and on (much like I did above!) - this time though, in a far less opinionated way, instead beautifully buttery and wickedly gorgeous. Give it a tickle.
Champagne GH Mumm Le Demi-Sec £23.99 from Waitrose
Now I am aware that this is the Champagne sponsor of F1 and has been for donkey’s years, but I have to ask you, have you tried their demi-sec? Demi-sec means off-dry and so there is some sweetness wit this wine. Crafted mainly from Pinot Noir (around 60% of the blend) with the rest being Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. I am always bowled over with the tantalising flavours of honey and gingerbread and then dried fruits, yet there is still some lightness about it. This is no pop-the-cork-and-guzzle, this is an after dinner treat… especially when served with Tarte Tartin… or Fois Gras and figs for the bold and the brave… I double dare you!
On from Champagne, I wonder if we would now class the likes of Prosecco, Sekt, Cremant and Cava as the ‘best of the rest’? Well certainly not, but it does and has worked out that way.
Each to their own I say; there is nothing nicer than a glass of Cava in the garden with a few peanuts, or a cheeky Cremant with some whitebait or a glass of Prosecco with… well, nothing. I am just in the mind set that if you know someone that loves something, allow him or her the freedom of enjoying it.
For my missus, that just so happens to be France’s finest, but for the rest of my friends and family, it’ll be Prosecco, Lambrusco and a few cans of Carling along the way no doubt and I’ll have it no other way.
Thanks for reading and see you soon.
Guzzle & Graze