Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 19 December 2016

Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 19 December 2016

Top Ten sparkling wines to see you through Christmas and New Year this week. And we’ve got quite a choice ranging in price from £6.50 to £160. Spanish cava has been making a come back against the popularity of Italian prosecco – champagne is ever popular and it turns out if you make it using the same techniques in Argentina it tastes equally as good at half the price.

Chandon Brut sparkling made with the méthode traditionelle  has been grown and made in Argentina since 1959 when Möet and Chandon, the French champagne house, decided to explore vineyard locations outside France (so the recent buying up bits of Kent to plant champagne grapes comes in long tradition of planting elsewhere to spread the risk). The latest version vailable from Majestic for £16.99 makes a slightly more tasty version than citrusy champagne at the same bottle price.

If you did want to stick to Kent, then Gusbourne Estate produce an English sparkling for Berry Bros & Rudd at £24.95 (order by Wednesday 21st for guaranteed Christmas delivery) that comes with flavours of toast and baked apple.

Plenty of interesting cavas around this year: Morrisons Cava Brut £6.50, the Co-op’s Truly Irresistible Cava £6.99, Lidl Amorany Cava Brut £7.49, reliable Codorniu Cava Seleccion Raventos at Majestic £9.99 and the no sugar added ‘Brut Nature’ Enoteca Cava Gramona 2000 from Berry Bros & Rudd at £160. Yes that’s right £160.

Katriona Felsted, wine buyer for Berry Bros, describes the £160 cava as a ‘hand sell’ – i.e. you’re only likely to buy it if the wine buyer was talking to you and leading you through the reasons why you’d want to buy it. And why would you buy it? Well it tastes quite nice with its pastry flavours, but this is more of a conversation piece where champagne just won’t do. It does match lobster and scallops rather well, or baked ham.

And if you can’t face the thought of opening it this year you could lay it down in a cool place for another ten. You might have forgotten how much you paid for it then.


Top Ten Sparkling Wines for Christmas and New Year


Morrisons Cava Brut

£6.50 Morrisons

Sharp apple and biscuit flavours.


Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry

£6.99 Aldi

Flavours of banana with lots of light bubbles. Good with food.


Co-op Truly Irresistible Cava

£6.99 Co-op

A pleasant fizz.


Amorany Cava Brut

£7.49 Lidl

Sharp apple.


Codorniu Cava Seleccion Raventos

£9.99 Majestic

Honey, nuts, apple – lots of flavours that are a great match to Asian foods.


Chandon Brut Méthode Tradionelle, Argentina

£16.99 Majestic

Match the nuts and apple flavours to smoked salmon.


Berry Bros & Rudd English Sparkling by Gusbourne Estate

£24.95 Berry Bros

Aromas of fresh bread and lemons, flavours of toast and baked apple.


Champagne Pol Roger Reserve Brut

£42 Berry Bros

If you want champagne then why not get in the stuff that Winston Churchill famously liked? Flavours of treacle tart.


Champagne Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2008

£80 Berry Bros

Flavours of bread, almonds and apple.


Enoteca Cava Gramona 2000 Brut Nature

£160 Berry Bros

Treat this as a non-sparkling white wine and you’ll do fine.


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© Paula Goddard 2016