So the festive frivolity continues! It’s that time of year when there’s a need for fizz at the beginning of the evening… And then again at 5 to midnight! So what to chose? There are so many different styles of bubbles out there and here are a few of my current favourites, some of which have a user-friendly price tag.
I am a huge Champagne lover but I’m aware that it has many guises.
Saying that you like Champagne is just like saying you like music – There’s so much more to it than that. And with a long evening of partying ahead of us, it’s important to get it right! One of my favourites for the beginning of the evening is J de Telmont Grande Réserve NV Champagne from Majestic Wine Warehouse. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it’s quite a savoury Champagne with a melted butter character and a prominent bubble to it. It’s definitely one to have with food rather than sipping on it’s own and would be great with all those savoury nibbles you get at a NYE party. It’s normally £19.99 but is currently on a multi bottle deal at just £13.32. Foodies – Go grab some!
One Champagne that I’d happily drink all night long, whether there is food or not is Morrison’s M Signature Champagne. Easily my favourite this season. It’s light, lemony quality and fine bubbles make it so delicate and easy to drink. Some Champagnes are easy to put down after a glass or two, but I’m quite happy to sip this one until after the midnight chimes! And now it’s reduced from £19 to £15, you really can’t go wrong.
But it’s not all about Champagne. I’ve no doubt that Prosecco sales will be at their yearly high on the run up to New Year’s Eve celebrations. One of my faves is Asda’s Extra Special
Prosecco. It’s down to £6.50 from £7 so it’s well worth grabbing a few bottles. (Add it to some of M&S’s Spanish Clementine juice and you have the best bucks fizz in the world!) But there is a new kid on the block: Pignoletto is it’s name and is fast become a firm favourite of fizz lovers looking for a bargain for parties. It’s Italian and, like Prosecco a few years ago, is becoming popular in the UK. Pignoletto is the name of the grape and it’s made in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. It doesn’t have Prosecco’s trademark pear drop character, it’s more zesty and has a mineral freshness and is steely dry. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Pignoletto is currently down to £7.50 so get some in for your new year toast!
Once again, Tesco’s Finest Blanquette De Limoux Chardonnay comes up trumps and is a great sip if you want something in between Champagne and Prosecco. The wine is from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France and contains hints of stone fruit. There’s a savoury finish coupled with delicate bubbles which are really pleasing and at £8.50 it’s a classy drop for the price. I really like this fizz and urge you to try it if you haven’t already. Ooh – While you’re in there, and if you have lots of people over – Their non vintage Cava at £5 is delicious. Great in cocktails or neat with fish and chips!
But one of my favourite genres of fizz is definitely pink! Perfect in the
summer sunshine but also my sip of choice with smoked salmon on Christmas Day. And it’s with rosé bubbles that England is taking the wine aisles by storm. There are so many locally grown pink wines around at the moment and my absolute favourite is Nyetimber rosé from West Sussex. It’s got a deliciously strong red current tang to it with a fantastically bright finish with a hint of savoury cherry. OK, it’s not cheap at £45 a bottle in Waitrose but for a treat, it makes me smile. (Just don’t share it with too many people!)
But if you want to go a bit more classic, a great tasting pink Champagne is Marks & Spencer’s Oudinot rosé. With an exciting hit of fresh Strawberries and a twist of sherbet it’s outstanding. Very different to the Nyetimber, so don’t drink the two back to back or you might be disappointed as the 2nd will never taste like the first! My tip is to move on to white Champagne after the first bottle of pink! Oudinot rosé is currently £28 but if you want a real bargain in M&S go for the white non vintage dry Champagne as it’s only £15 a bottle and is lovely too.
I also have to mention The Co-Operative’s bargain of the festive season. It’s their Les Pionniers NV Champagne at the bargain price of £16.99. According to Which? Magazine, it’s the best buy Champagne this year and I love it. It’s not a complex Champagne but it’s great for the price. And while you’re in your local Co-Op, check out their 2006 vintage Champagne. It’s smooth and sophisticated. Its only £24.99 but you imagine it has a more expensive price tag.
So whether you go for a bargain, or you splash out (or even if you mix it up according to how much you’ve had to drink like me) just make sure you’re not driving and that you have a very happy new year! Bring on 2016!