What to drink: sparkling wine
Looking for a special bottle to drink, but not sure where to start? Luckily, we're best buds with Surrey's leading wine experts - and we've collared them for their top choices. This month - to celebrate the end of lockdown - we're popping the cork on fizz.
It was only a matter of time before Muddy went from drinking wine to featuring it as a regular column. And while some may say I’m rather an expert at the art of glugging wine, sadly my proficiency ends there. But the good news for you guys, is that we know all the right people to tap up for their insider knowledge on the best wines to drink.
Each month we’ll bring you the lowdown on a different tipple – starting right now with sparkling wine.
THE EXPERT: Nik Darlington at Pip of Manor Farm, Seale
47 AD Prosecco Frizzante NV
Brothers Christian & Andrea Tombacco make easygoing Prosecco that both tastes the part and looks the part. Their fresh frizzante is on the drier side, delicately scented and made from organically farmed grapes.
Domaine du Vieux Pressoir Saumur Brut NV
If you want the Champagne style (a totally different, more complex method than Prosecco) but not the Champagne price then look for the traditional method sparkling wines from other regions of France like Saumur in the Loire Valley. Frédéric Étienne combines organically farmed Chenin Blanc & Chardonnay for this brisk, dry, flavoursome, small-batch Saumur Brut.
Haywire ‘The Bub’ 2015
The biggest mover & shaker in the British Columbian wine scene in recent years – perhaps even the whole of Canada. Christine Coletta’s Okanagan Valley winery is a beacon of sustainability, farming their frontier vineyards organically and biodynamically. ‘The Bub’ is a traditional method vintage Chardonnay & Pinot Noir, naturally made with no dosage (the extra sugar for secondary fermentation in bottle) so it is bone-dry and bracingly fresh, and with achingly sophisticated citrus & toasty flavours from the ageing in bottle.
THE EXPERT: Emily Harris at The Grape Variety, Chipstead
La Jara Prosecco Frizzante
Made from organically-grown grapes, this Prosecco is floral and fruity, refreshing light and dry, this will be your sunny afternoon’s best mate!
Crémant de Limoux ‘Joséphine’
Made by a traditional sparkling method on an organic 13 hectare family estate in the South of Languedoc, this Champagne is floral and fruity on the nose while the mouth is savoury with fine bubbles. Fried scallops are its best friends!
Champagne Grand Cru Brut Rosé, Pierre Moncuit
Made with 50 year old vines, originating on a 130-year-old family estate in the heart of the Côtes des Blancs, 40km south of Reims, this wine screams elegance. It’s a blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir and is full of red berries and brioche notes on the nose. Excellent when paired with dessert.
THE EXPERT: Rupert Pritchett at Taurus Wines, Bramley
Taltarni Brut Taché Rosé 2013
The small Aussie island of Tasmania has been earmarked as one of the most promising regions for sparkling wine, although they do like to keep it for themselves – only only 20% of their fizz is exported! ‘Taché’ – the French word for ‘stained’ – refers to the delicate salmon-pink colour of this Champagne-style rosé, achieved by adding a dash of high-quality Pinot Noir to the final blend.
Champagne Henri Mandois Brut NV
A favourite in the Pritchett house. It’s what we call a ‘grower’ champagne – ie not from one of the big names – but what it lacks in marketing budget it makes up for in quality and heritage. Claude Mandois is now the 9th generation of his family to make this toasty, brioche-flavoured champagne in their organic premier cru vineyards – and at £29.99 a bottle you get ‘grand marque’ taste for far fewer pennies.
Bolney Estate was planted in the early 1970s on the edge of the South Downs and is now one of England’s premier wine producers. The company is still family-run, with Sam Linter, daughter of founders Janet and Rodney, heading up the winemaking team. This is a fresh and elegant English sparkling wine, ideal as an aperitif or sipped alongside smoked mackerel or salmon en croute.