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to pop This NYE
The bells will soon be ringing in 2022 and, whatever your plans, you’ll need some bubbles! But what to choose? We’ve rounded up the top categories of sparkling wines to suit every budget and celebration. We’ve included a few recommendations of our own that we hope you’ll love too. So grab your 12 grapes, your glasses and get ready to party this New Year’s Eve!
While often maligned as the low-budget bubbles, we love Prosecco for its fruitiness, freshness and value for money. Produced by the tank method, whereby a second fermentation in sealed tanks produces the CO2 required to make it sparkle, Prosecco wines retain all of the peach and melon character of the Glera grape. No bready or yeasty notes here, just pure fruity fun which is ideal for getting the party started and will work great in cocktails too. Prosecco is produced in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions in the North West of Italy, though some of the best examples come from the hilly sub-region of Conegliano Valdobbiadene: a geographical indication you can watch out for on labels!
Cava: the Local Bubbles
When in Catalunya, it’s got to be Cava! A great alternative to often pricier Champagne and a unique style in its own right. The sunny climate of Penedès, where the majority of production takes place, results in ripely flavoured grapes and the local varieties that predominant bring their own special character. Looking for ageability? Check out Xarel-lo! Parellada brings floral notes while Macabeu brings green apple aromas and viscosity. Wines must be made using the Traditional Method, which involves ageing the wine on the bread- and brioche-scented lees. The result? A toasty and ripe style worthy of any celebration and a great food-paring wine too.
But, what about Corpinnat?
In 2019, several producers of Cava broke away from the DO to bottle wines under the marca colectiva of Corpinnat (meaning ‘heart of Penedès). Among a range of rules, wines must be certified organic, come from sustainable vineyards, be made from hand-harvested grapes and contain a minimum of 90% indigenous varieties. The minimum ageing requirement for Corpinnat wines is 18 months. While we don’t love Cava any less, some of our favourite local sparkling producers now bottle under this labelling term. So we couldn’t talk about bubbles without mentioning these guys…
Champagne: the Queen of Sparklers
Are you planning to push the boat out? Then Champagne it is! Produced in the very cool climate of Northern France since the 17th century,the ultimate sparkling wines are prized for their zippy acidity, intense aromas and often incredible ageability too. Like Cava and Corpinnat they are made using the Traditional Method, providing layers of biscuity complexity and making them fantastically gastronomic wines as well. So while Champagnes are perfect for welcoming the new year, they’ll also pair beautifully with oily foods like smoked salmon, soft cheeses and pâtes. Predominantly made from the grapes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier, there are in fact eight varieties permitted producing a vast range of different styles. So much to discover in 2022!
Also, check out...
- Prefer wines with a bit of sweetness? WCB loves: Ceretto Moscato d’Asti 2021, available from Decantalo for €14.95
- Sparkling reds? Yes, indeed! WCB loves: Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Ancestrale Fondatore 2020, available from Vinissimus for €11.00
- Aromatic German bubbles made from perfumed Riesling. WCB loves: Koehler Ruprecht Sekt Brut Riesling 2010, available from Vinissimus for €20.90
- Or how about something quirky? WCB loves: Pepe Raventós Ancestral Xarel-lo 2017, available from Gourmet Hunters for €32.80
We hope we’ve provided a little inspiration to get those corks popping this 31st December and perhaps to try something new. Who knows what 2022 will bring, but let’s start it with a bang! And if you’ve not thought of your New Year’s Resolution yet, how about a new challenge? Check out 2022 course dates by clicking here, or read more about WSET courses here. See you next year!
*Prices correct at time of publishing 27th December 2021
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