Sparkling wines for 2017

If you’re anything like me you’ll have spent the last few months pouring over the wine trade press trying to get the inside track on consumer trends and fashions for the coming year. The truth is that all those hours I’ve spent toiling away and speculating have led me to a conclusion that I think any wine drinker in the country could have made in their sleep. Prosecco is incredibly popular and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future!

Prosecco officially overtook budget Champagne as the most popular sparkling wine at its price point some time ago but recent forecasts show that Prosecco sales are due to increase by an incredible 17.3% to 8.3 million cases by 2020. This is largely due to the fact that millennials have embraced the light Italian sparkler with an enthusiasm not seen since the craze for sweet white Zinfandel rose with many now turning to Prosecco as their drink of choice be it for celebrations, with lunch, or nights out or in.

Whilst we’re over the moon with the success of Prosecco and will continue to offer the very best expressions of this style that we can get our hands on, we feel that it’s our job as quality wine merchants to present you with the lesser known but equally fantastic styles of sparkling wine that are available.

Cremant

Cremant wines can only be produced in specific regions across France, including the Loire, Burgundy and Limoux, and must be produced according to certain rules. The grape varieties allowed differ from region to region. Crémants are made using the same method as used in Champagne where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle.

My personal favourite is the Cremant de Jura which is 98% Chardonnay which is the only permitted white variety for Champagne production. They then add a small amount of a sherry style wine for increased complexity and body.

Another French alternative is the Cremant de Saumur which is made in the Loire Valley from the Chenin Blanc grape. This crisp, elegant, and flavorsome wine is perfect for relaxing on the patio in the sunshine. Fingers crossed!

Cava

Cava originates from the Catalunya region of North Eastern Spain but can now be made all over the country. Whilst it is made using the same methods as in Champagne the 3 permitted grapes are different with Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Machabeo taking the place of their better known French cousins.

If you want Champagne style at Prosecco prices a good quality Cava can be a good bet but unfortunately over the past decade or so the reputation of the style has suffered considerably. This is largely due to massive over production in the 80’s and 90’s and a subsequent lowering of quality tarnishing the name of what can be a lovely, elegant alternative to Champagne.

English Sparkling

The English wine industry is going from strength to strength and it should be no surprise that trend is set to continue for years to come. Whilst there is a burgeoning market for home grown still wines it is the sparkling’s of the South coast which are gaining the most recognition and cementing Englands position as a serious wine producing nation. The chalky loam soils of Sussex and Dorset, rich in minerals and marine fossils offer comparable growing conditions to Champagne and with global warming in mind some of the larger houses such as Taittinger have been purchasing land around the South Coast with grape cultivation in mind.

Among the larger names in English sparkling wine production is Nyetimber who’ve won numerous global awards and whose Classic Cuvee regularly out does its French counterparts in blind tastings. On the other end of the scale you get tiny producers such as the English Oak Winery in Poole, the quality of whose wines far exceed their tiny production.

New World Sparkling

Sparkling wine is far from being a purely European pursuit and some of what’s coming out of Australia and South America is really impressive and great value. The Sunnycliff Wine Estate in Victoria, Australia are producing a sparkling wine that is clean, fresh, well balanced, and full of flavour from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Meanwhile in the foothills of the Argentinean Andes Patricio Gouguenheim crafts a soft sparkling rose out of Malbec, the regions signature grape. It is tank fermented so has a vibrant, fruity chartacter with lots of red summer berries, cherry, and strawberry.

All in all there’s ton’s to be getting on with in the sparkling department before you even consider going for Champagne so whether you fancy a complex cremant, an easy going Cava, or a refreshing Prossecco you’ll be spoilt for choice.

 

 

Comments are closed.