Sparkling wine is associated with parties, celebrations and of course badly worded toasts at weddings, and 21st birthday celebrations across the country.
But why this association?
The history of Champagne is really interesting and centuries ago it began around 987 with the anointment and coronation of one of the Kings of France in Reims (Champagne country) and the local wine was promoted and drunk to celebrate.
Champagne was a poor, pathetic, pale pinkish still wine, trying to be a decent red wine. Bubbles in the wine, even up until the 17th century, was regarded as a fault and faulty wine was tipped down the sink, assuming the bottle had not yet already exploded.
As luck would have it the French discovered they could make a better white wine from red grapes (Pinot Noir) and thus would not have to compete and be compared with the nearby region of Burgundy, famous for producing some of the best Pinots in the world. The English high society loved what the French didn’t. The bubbles! Having coal-fired kilns compared to the French wood-fired kilns allowed the English to produce a glass bottle strong enough to handle the built up pressure of the CO2 inside the bottle, which is one of the byproducts when yeast cells feed on the sugars, another of course being alcohol.
Because of traditions and history, centuries later, we associate Sparkling wine with Royalty and celebrations.
Most of us aren’t very royal but we’ve all been to a party, the races or a good ol’ bash where the cheapest Sparkling is flying out the door quicker than a pair of discounted jocks at a Boxing Day sale.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Below I have listed three very different styles that are cool, classy and will jazz up any shindig, where your taste buds and guests will thank you for it.
The Aussie Pink
Cofield, NV Sparkling Sarah $18.00
I love this wine for its cool packaging, the salmon pink colour and how this wine is perfect for a warm lazy day either drinking on its own or matched with food.
The Frontignac grape is used in this wine with hints of strawberries, apple and musk. If I had to describe it to someone, it sits somewhere in the middle between a Moscato and a Brut style. This Sparkling Rosé is easy drinking with a fine bead that will make you wonder why you have not ever had this before. Great for parties, Spring Racing Carnival and Samba dancing.
Dal Zotto, Pucino Prosecco Sparkling NV $22.00
Melbourne’s Lygon Street of the country has to be the King Valley. Instead of quaint trattoria’s with red and white chequered tablecloths and spruiking waiters, there is an abundance of great wineries producing excellent wine from Italian grape varieties.
The Italian version of Champagne is Prosecco and Dal Zotto makes several cracking styles. Prosecco sounds very la-de-dah and exotic, which it kind of is, but here is the clincher, it is very approachable, easy drinking style of wine and I love it!
The wine is crisp, clean and almost water pale with hints of apple and lemon with elegant fine bubbles that gently rise to the top.
Made from the birthplace of Prosecco in Australia, why would you bother drinking anything else? It’s a winner all round.
A Little known Frenchy
Cuvee Des Filles, Cristian Senez $77.00
After the history lesson I gave you it would not be right if I did not include something from the Champagne region.
This wine is made entirely from Pinot Blanc grapes and showcases the lovely fruit characteristics elegantly. The fine moose (bubbles) celebrates the quality of the wine with hints of citrus, lemon, lime, and grapefruit with a touch of brioche. If you find that some Champagnes have an overpowering palate of bready, yeasty tones then this wine is for you. This clean, crisp wine was a big hit with the foodies and also those with less experience, when we cracked it open on a gorgeous spring day.
Cuvee Des Filles was like inviting the popular kid over to the party. It got along with everyone and it offended no one.
I learnt a great French saying; “joie de vivre!” – Life is meant to be enjoyed!
Share a bottle of this wine with your friends and life and enjoyment will just fall into place.
Available online at champagnesaustralia.com.au