Don’t you want champagne? Try another sparkling instead… | Wine
“I don’t know why someone spends more on sparkling wine than this sparkling Aldi – what’s his name? My friend muttered.
“Their Crémant du Jura? ”I ventured out.
“This is it,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t think most people can tell the difference with champagne.”
Considering it’s only £ 8.49, he’s right, but the same could apply to a lot of other wines – and foods – for which we’re paying more than we strictly need. So let’s see why champagne, and English sparkling wine, for that matter, could be more expensive.
Winemaking is more complicated to begin with. Champagne and Champagne-type wines are made through a long process in which the wine undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, which gives them greater complexity of flavor and finer, more elegant bubbles. At its best, like that produced by one of the smaller champagne houses, Drappier’s Clarevallis (currently on offer for £ 42.99 at allaboutwine.co.uk, 12.5%), it is a serious wine that even I am tempted to splash about. This may not be what you are looking for, as Tom Stevenson, author of Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wine, says: “Most prosecco drinkers don’t like yeast-aged sparkling wines and if they had the option of tasting Prosecco and Dom Perignon or, say, Cristal blind, they would always prefer prosecco. “
For the relatively young UK industry, this is also an expensive process, planting and establishing vineyards and investing in specialized machinery for making and bottling sparkling wine, not to mention trying to make wine in a marginal climate. And because most are harvested by hand, as in Champagne itself, it is also intensive work.
On the other hand, there’s the fact that champagne is made in huge quantities – we’re talking millions of bottles for the most well-known names, and a lot of the money we pay for that is spent on marketing and packaging. of fantasy. In this, however, they are not alone: I recently tasted a franciacorta (see below) in a square triangular bottle that must have cost a few bobs, but if you drink sparkling wine to celebrate or make a statement, it might be worth spending more. The price of champagne also takes into account significant discounts, and there is certainly a billing element on the odds just because they can.
Frankly, if, like my friend, you find a sparkling that you enjoy at the price you want to pay then go for it by all means, but if you don’t venture further there are more interesting and characterful wines out there. which you will miss. Here are a few that might tempt you.
Five sparkling wines off the beaten track
Ferghettina Franciacorta Brut Saten 2017 £ 25.67 drinksandco.co.uk, 12.5%. Franciacorta is the Italian answer to champagne, but slightly sweeter, more ripe and, in the case of this saten (specialty of the region meaning silk), more peach. Mostly flashy bottle, show-off, too.
Boschendal Brut Rosé £ 14.49 The General Wine Company, £ 15 the wine box, 12.5%. Unusually, this classic South African cap is made from 100% Pinotage, but it’s pale, elegant and beautifully bottled. Super sparkling for a summer wedding.
M&S Found Blanquette de Limoux £ 10 Marks & Spencer and Ocado, 12%. Made from the local mauzac grape, this sparkling sweet from the south of France, generally considered to predate champagne, has an appealing apple character.
Prince Charmat £ 12.99 Majestic, 12%. I must admit that I chose this mainly for the pun of a name. Charmat is the technique used to make prosecco, although this tongue-in-cheek English rip-off is drier and more characteristic. the take away bottle for a party.
Domaines Vinsmoselle Cuvée Antoinette Brut Crémant de Luxembourg £ 14.99 (on mix-six offer) Majestic, 12.5%. If you find the champagne too dry, but want a change from prosecco, try this semi-dry wine from Luxembourg that includes a dash of Riesling. A good aperitif in the summer evening.