We may not choose to celebrate the New Year as we usually do – but we will!
Perhaps we could spend the savings from not ‘going out’ on treating ourselves to a nice bottle of sparkling wine, but with so many on offer, which should we choose?
Here are some of my ideas for a top sparkler to indulge in on New Year’s Eve.
Champagne has long been considered a ‘celebration’.
Whether it’s for a birthday, wedding, or even a Formula One win – it’s the wine for many on a special evening.
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It’s made by the traditional method – where a blend of base liquors is put into the bottle and small amounts of yeast and sugar are added before capping the bottle.
Yeast eats sugar and produces more alcohol, as well as carbon dioxide – a process known as second fermentation.
The carbon dioxide gradually dissolves into the alcohol, creating air bubbles.
The longer it is aged, the greater the flavour, the bread or brioche from the yeast becomes – a trait that defines a good Champagne.
A great example of this style and one of the super cheap is the Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut NV, £14 instead of £28 in Sainsburys.
- Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut Champagne, £14 from Sainsburys – Buy now
It’s a classic blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier and crunchy like a green apple but with lovely hints of peach and apricot and a truly distinctive savory bread character.
Heidsieck & Co Monopole Champagne has been around since 1785 and is one of Champagne’s oldest and most prestigious Champagne producers.
This is a good deal on a really good glass of Champagne – and one not to be missed.
Cava, from Spain, is made in the same way as Champagne but from different grape varieties.
It offers a perfect alternative to Champagne but doesn’t have the same price tag. Tesco Cava NV Brut, £5.75, is a great example.
- Cava Brut Non Vintage, £5.75 from Tesco – Buy now
It has the same green apple crispiness as Champagne but with more lemon and grapefruit flavors and a hint of nutty.
I’ve always found that Cava has more ‘earth’ characteristics, not unpleasant at all, but helps distinguish it from a Champagne.
How about an Italian sparkling wine that starts with P? No, not Prosecco but Pignoletto.
This wine, like Prosecco, is made in a slightly different way from the traditional method.
Here the base wine is put into a large barrel with a little sugar and yeast and the barrel is sealed.
The second fermentation takes place in the tank, creating air bubbles.
The process is usually much shorter than the ‘traditional method’ so the wine will be fresher and more fruity – no yeast endings.
- Pignoletto DOC Spumante Extra Dry, £6.49 from Aldi – Buy now
Aldi’s Pignoletto DOC Spumante Extra Dry, £6.49, really delicious.
It is more floral (think jasmine) than Prosecco with ripe pear, peach, apricot, a hint of tropical fruit and a hint of ginger at the end.
As the name suggests, it is very dry and makes a perfect aperitif. It is also very food-friendly and will pair perfectly with canapes, appetizers and fish main courses.
For those who prefer non-alcoholic sparkling wine, try the Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay – £7.49 from Majestic as part of a six-variety blend.
- Noughty Organic Sparkling Chardonnay 0%, £7.49 – Buy now
If you’re an ABC (Anything Except Chardonnay), don’t rush.
I recently gave this one a private tasting and it worked out, even for ABC-ers!
Wine plays an important role in the balance of a wine and removing it can upset the entire taste and sensation.
Thomson and Scott, however, have created a truly lovely and well-balanced wine.
The sparkle may not be obvious but it’s fresh and delicious with citrus and fresh apple flavors
Neil is a Head Tutor at Essex School of Wine, and runs a number of online tastings (wine, gin and whiskey) that can be enjoyed in the safety and comfort of your own home. They also make a great gift for the wine lover in your life. For more details, click here.
For more tips, update for 2022 with The Batch Lady’s espresso martini recipe.
And you poured beer all wrong and you don’t have to make it too slow.
Can’t cope with the thought of that leftover alcohol? A mother who knows how to enjoy every drop of wine and save money.
https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/4367419/wine-expert-new-years-eve-fizz-tips/ I’m a wine expert and here are the stylish bottles to choose for New Year’s Eve