Sparkling Wines

When we think about Sparkling Wines, Prosecco & Champagne automatically spring to mind, but there are many types of sparkling wine produced around the world.

Sparkling wine has significant levels of carbon dioxide, which gives the wine its sparkle! Sparkling wine is usually white or rose, but there are some examples of sparkling reds like our delicious Ponte Rabaso Frizzante. The sweetness of the wines can range from dry Brut styles to Demi Sec sweeter varieties.

Prosecco is an Italian DOC or DOCG wine produced in one of the nine provinces in the Veneto & Friuili Venezia Giulia regions of Italy. At entry level you have light bodied, fresh, crisp examples, with refreshing acidity like the Vignana Prosecco (Glera grape) ideal as an aperitif.

At the other end of the scale is Symphonaie Prosecco DOCG Valdobbiadene Extra Dry. Prosecco Superiore is made under two smaller DOCG designations, where only the sparkling spumante style can be labelled superior. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG, which can only be made in the hills between the towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene north of Treviso, and the smaller Asolo Prosecco produced near the town of Asolo.  Ideal as a sundowner aperitif!

Earlier this year a good piece of Prosecco news was broken to the world that finally a Pink Prosecco will exist. The Prosecco DOC Consortium announced it has updated its rules for production. You may have had an Italian Rose sparkling in the past like Ponte Aurora Rose but technically this has not been a Prosecco. So, this is all wonderful news for 2021 and flutes should be at the ready!

Venturing into France, we have the options of Aimery Crémant de Limoux Brut & Aimery Crémant de Limoux Rose. Sparkling wines designated Crémant were originally named because their low carbon dioxide pressures give them more of a creamy, than fizzy mouthfeel. Sparkling Crémant de Limoux Brut and Rose are the oldest sparkling wines of the world produced in 1531. We know that the Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Hilaire discovered how to make sparkling wines 100 years before Dom Perignon. They have also won multiple medals at wine competitions.

Spanish Cava is a white or pink sparkling wine produced mainly in the Penedes Region of Catalonia. Cava is a Greek term that was used to refer to a “high end” table wine or wine cellar and comes from the Latin word “cava” which means cave in English. Caves were used in the early days of Cava production for the preservation or aging of wine. Segura Viudas Cava is an excellent example of a fresh, clean light sparkling wine made from Macabeo, Xarel lo Macabeo and Parellada, ideal with Tapas or as an Aperitif.

A quick, hop skip and jump to South Africa, and we have the Franschhoek Vineyards Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut. The grapes are hand harvested in the cool of the morning and picked at lower sugar levels for that bracing freshness required in Cap Classique. Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are whole bunch pressed and only the premium quality juice is used and then left to settle in tank for 48 hours. The clear juice is then racked from the lees and fermented separately.

After fermentation, the wine is left on the primary lees until blending. Different base wines are then selected to represent the style and character the winemaker is looking for. It is during the second fermentation in the bottle that the magic of Cap Classique comes about. The bubble transpires in the bottle and gives the life and joy to the wine.

The wine is then matured on the lees in the bottle for 12 to 15 months. After disgorgement (removal of the lees) and dosage (addition of sugar liqueur), the Franschhoek Brut Royal NV is ready to be enjoyed

Finally, back in the good old Uk. With the summers getting warmer, prestigious producers are buying up plots in the UK for English Fizz. Balfour make a fantastic sparkling called Balfour Leslie’s Reserve, made in Kent.  Named after their producer Leslie, blending cuvees from 3 years harvests, creates a youthful fresh fruit style. It uses the classic champagne trio of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier creating tasting notes of fresh brioche and red apple on the nose, with refreshing flavours of lime and redcurrant on the finish. This tastes fantastic with canapes, white fizz or good old English fish and chips!

Vanessa Roberts

Wines & Spirits Manager, Crown Cellars & Distilled