A Fizzing Christmas

POSTED ON 05/12/2015

When our judging panel was asked to select champagne, prosecco and muscat based on value for last month’s Which? tasting of Christmas fizz, we came up with some shocks but no real surprises. It was neither Veuve Clicquot nor Moët et Chandon that covered themselves with glory but the toasty-rich, nuttily dry Les Pionniers Champagne, £16.99, The Co-operative, and the outstandingly creamy and savoury Waitrose Blanc de Blancs Brut, £24.99, down to £19.99 from Wednesday, while Tesco’s finest* Premier Cru Brut, £18, also impressed.

Freshness and fun are prosecco’s signature with its off-dry sweetness helping to make this simple Italian fizz il fenomeno del giorno. Most of them were reliable enough with Morrisons’ fragrantly appley and crisp La Gioiosa Prosecco, £7, down from £10, the standout, while Lidl’s Prosecco Conegliano, £7.49, and Iceland’s Vespucci Prosecco, £6.50 were respectable in their value price tags. The top two sparkling muscats, the fragrant sweet fizz that merrily washes down mince pies and Christmas pud, were M&S’ bright, lemony Asti, £9, and Aldi’s refreshing Camoli Moscato Spumante, £4.99.

Apart from the Which? tasting, my own best value fizzes begin in the bargain basement with Aldi’s tangy, lemon sherbety 2012 Philippe Michel Crémant du Jura, £7.29, Tesco’s creamy, dry finest* Blanquette de Limoux 1531, £8.50, and Codorniú’s mouthwatering Cava Brut, £9.99, down to £6.50 - £6.99, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Majestic multibuy. Lovers of sparkling rosé have fun in store with Lindauer’s summer pudding tart New Zealand Sparkling Rosé, £9.99, Co-op.

Creeping over the £10 mark, favourites include the lemon zesty, crisply dry Château de L’Aulée Crémant de Loire, £12, Oddbins, the toasty, rich and zingy 2010 Graham Beck The Rhona Blanc de Blancs, £13, or £9.75 at 25% off any 6, until Monday, then £10, from Tuesday, and the champagne-like, digestive biscuity Villion Blanc de Blancs, Viljoensdrift, £13.70, Tanners. Back with lovers of rosé fizz, Kent’s 2010 Chapel Down Rosé Brut, £19.39, Booths, is strawberry sherbet-like and tangy. Now is a good time to look for Champagne price bargains; two of the best are the revitalised Canard Duchêne Authentique Réserve, £18.99, down from £25.49, Waitrose, from Wednesday, and Majestic’s stalwart, J de Telmont Grande Reserve Champagne, £19.99, or £13.32 on multibuy.

Something for The Weekend 5 December 2015

Night In

2013 Pinot Noir Limited Edition, Leyda Valley, Cimarosa.

Flanked by good value Carmenère and Malbec under the Cimarosa label at the same price, this raspberry-scented Chilean pinot noir is seductively strawberryish with a light touch of toasty oak balanced by Pacific breezy freshness. £6.99, Lidl.

Dinner Party

2014 Taste The Difference Chablis Premier Cru Brocard

Youthfully vibrant with a refreshing spritz on the tongue, this stylish chardonnay is a teeth-chatteringly crisp, bone dry white Burgundy shot through with lime-citrusy fruitiness and a firm spine of cold steel. £14.50, down from £16, Sainsbury’s.

Splash Out

2013 Font de Michelle Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Powerfully scented with plums and spices, this is a youthfully vigorous, richly concentrated Southern Rhône blend full of intensely flavoured, opulent dark red fruits tempered by notes of pepper and liquorice spice and muscular grip on the aftertaste. £25.99, Waitrose.


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