Times are tough – but it doesn’t need to be a grape-depression. Here are four alternatives to Champagne – that aren’t Prosecco or Cava

 

So here we are – separating from Europe, more elections, an ongoing housing crisis and a jumpy exchange rate. Times are not looking good.

So if you are anything like us – asset poor, cash poor, wine rich – it might be time to put down the Dom Perignon Vintage and tighten belts. But it doesn’t need to be a grape-depression.

Try these alternatives to Champagne…. that aren’t Prosecco or Cava.

 

English Sparkling

We are seriously giving the French a run for their money when it comes to the fizz. With an increasing number of medals and awards around our necks, even the top French palates seem to be getting flustered when it comes to UK-produced bubbles – picking ours over theirs (Sacré bleu!). Apparently it is all to do with our climate getting warmer (thank you global warming!?) and the chalky soils. Ok – so at around £25-£30 it is not cheap, but when the good stuff tastes on a par with, say, a £65 bottle of Billecart-Salmon Grand Cru champagne – we say, let them eat scones over cake.

What we drink: NY Nyetimber Classic Cuvée  – Using Champagne grape varieties, the result is a creamy, rich brioche-type mouthful teamed with a cutting slice of citrus.

 

Crémant

Crémant (pronounced “cray-mont”) is where it’s at! The word literally means “creamy” but evolved to refer to French sparkling wines from certain regions – specifically not Champagne.  Made in the same way, with often the same grapes (or that of the region), you can get similar quality and style fizz, but without the eye watering price tag.  Burgundy, Loire and Alsace all have their versions and prices sit at around £10 a bottle. Crémant de Bourgogne (it’s everything but the Champagne name) flies under the radar but is especially one to look out for.

What we drink: Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, Domaine la Croix Montjoie – All the style and complexity of its A-list cousin, but down to earth and deliciously moreish.

 

Franciacorta

If we say “Italian fizz”, you think Prosecco, right? But Franciacorta is really Italy’s answer to Champagne.  Still relatively unknown here, it is named after a small region in the northern part of Lombardy. Franciacorta is made, again, in the same traditional way and with the same grapes – Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay – as its French counterpart.  You might find it a bit pricier than Prosecco – but you can’t help compare its quality and lovely brioche taste so familiar with Champs. This stuff will keep you topped up in a drought. Bellissimi…

What we drink: Bellavista – Franciacorta Cuvee Brut NV – Like a delicious creamy glass of blended fruit and hazelnuts.

 

Sekt

So with bubbles going off everywhere, Sekt – and in particular – good German Sekt, seems to be rather silent at this party. Why? Well, because the Germans like to drink most of it – and the best of it. In fact, they have the highest per capita consumption of sparkling wine in the world (and you thought it was all beer and wϋrst). It means that what does make it over here tends to be the bulk stuff. But we like a challenge – and a Riesling – and have found a new favourite. You can get a good quality bottle –from £18. Also look out for Austrian Sekt – which is on the up.

What we drink: Reichsrat von Buhl Riesling Sekt brut 2013– Brilliantly fresh, light, yet slightly off-dry. Perfect as an aperitif.

Times are tough – but it doesn’t need to be a grape-depression. Here are four alternatives to Champagne – that aren’t Prosecco or Cava

So here we are – separating from Europe, more elections, an ongoing housing crisis and a jumpy exchange rate. Times are not looking good.

So if you are anything like us – asset poor, cash poor, wine rich – it might be time to put down the Dom Perignon Vintage and tighten belts. But it doesn’t need to be a grape-depression.

Try these alternatives to Champagne…. that aren’t Prosecco or Cava.

 

English Sparkling

We are seriously giving the French a run for their money when it comes to the fizz. With an increasing number of medals and awards around our necks, even the top French palates seem to be getting flustered when it comes to UK-produced bubbles – picking ours over theirs (Sacré bleu!). Apparently it is all to do with our climate getting warmer (thank you global warming!?) and the chalky soils. Ok – so at around £25-£30 it is not cheap, but when the good stuff tastes on a par with, say, a £65 bottle of Billecart-Salmon Grand Cru champagne – we say, let them eat scones over cake.

What we drink: NY Nyetimber Classic Cuvée  – Using Champagne grape varieties, the result is a creamy, rich brioche-type mouthful teamed with a cutting slice of citrus.

 

Crémant

Crémant (pronounced “cray-mont”) is where it’s at! The word literally means “creamy” but evolved to refer to French sparkling wines from certain regions – specifically not Champagne.  Made in the same way, with often the same grapes (or that of the region), you can get similar quality and style fizz, but without the eye watering price tag.  Burgundy, Loire and Alsace all have their versions and prices sit at around £10 a bottle. Crémant de Bourgogne (it’s everything but the Champagne name) flies under the radar but is especially one to look out for.

What we drink: Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, Domaine la Croix Montjoie – All the style and complexity of its A-list cousin, but down to earth and deliciously moreish.

 

Franciacorta

If we say “Italian fizz”, you think Prosecco, right? But Franciacorta is really Italy’s answer to Champagne.  Still relatively unknown here, it is named after a small region in the northern part of Lombardy. Franciacorta is made, again, in the same traditional way and with the same grapes – Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay – as its French counterpart.  You might find it a bit pricier than Prosecco – but you can’t help compare its quality and lovely brioche taste so familiar with Champs. This stuff will keep you topped up in a drought. Bellissimi…

What we drink: Bellavista – Franciacorta Cuvee Brut NV – Like a delicious creamy glass of blended fruit and hazelnuts.

 

Sekt

So with bubbles going off everywhere, Sekt – and in particular – good German Sekt, seems to be rather silent at this party. Why? Well, because the Germans like to drink most of it – and the best of it. In fact, they have the highest per capita consumption of sparkling wine in the world (and you thought it was all beer and wϋrst). It means that what does make it over here tends to be the bulk stuff. But we like a challenge – and a Riesling – and have found a new favourite. You can get a good quality bottle –from £18. Also look out for Austrian Sekt – which is on the up.

What we drink: Reichsrat von Buhl Riesling Sekt brut 2013– Brilliantly fresh, light, yet slightly off-dry. Perfect as an aperitif.

Nathalie

Author Nathalie

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