You know the tingling sensation you get when you soak in a sea salt bath? That’s the feeling I get every time I take a sip of a really nice sparkling wine. The bubbles gently tingle my tongue almost like ballerinas performing ‘pas de bourrée couru’. Random, but true if you think about it.
First thing that comes to mind when we think of sparkling wines is Champagne, and why wouldn’t it? Creamy, buttery, and toasty notes with nice acidity and a refreshing long-lasting finish. Nothing wrong with Champagne… unless you are on a budget. I won’t lie, I wish I could have Champagne every morning – although my doctor would not approve – but who actually says Champagne is the best option for every occasion? There are so many amazing sparkling wines out there you might want to consider, especially now that celebrations are around the corner and you’ll find yourself popping corks in dinner parties again and again.
Instead of me laying out options and bottles that you can try, let’s explore some countries that produce amazing sparkling wine.
France is not all about Champagne when it comes to fizz. There are so many other exceptional wines. Crémant: a wine produced in the same way as champagne with second fermentation in the bottle. More than 20 wine regions in France produce Crémants, including Loire and Alsace!
Crémant de Bourgogne: Not far from Champagne lies Burgundy. A wine region known for its amazing range of crispy to buttery chardonnays and smooth and elegant pinot noirs. Now imagine those amazing grapes, viticulture experience and skilled people producing sparkling wines. It’s hard to get it wrong!
Fun fact: Burgundian Cremant was first celebrated in 1830 by Alfred de Musset in one of his poems and has continued being people’s favourite ever since! This guy knew how to enjoy life!
Try: Domaine Fournillon Crémant de Bourgogne Brut 2018 – Crispy and delicate; just what you need for a celebration.
Crémant de Loire: In the Loire Valley, it’s all about chenin blanc. Giving notes of quince, pear and lemon this grape variety is dominant in Crémants from this region. Give it a try with any fish or even chicken with cream sauce.
Try: Langlois-Chateau Crémant de Loire – Enjoy as an aperitif or with fruity pudding!
Prosecco: No need to say more. I think we all know and have tried this fizzy wine either in a cocktail or on its own. If you are in the mood for a more fruity and floral wine then you are in the right spot. Prosecco wines do not follow the traditional Champagne method for their production. Instead, the second fermentation takes place in sealed stainless steel tanks allowing the primary characteristics of the grapes to show!
Try: Sensi 18K Prosecco Gold – 100% glera grapes, fruity, floral and honeydew melon
Franciacorta: Italy is definitely not just about fruity Proseccos. If you want a more yeasty and bready-flavoured sparkling wine, Italians have your back. Franciacorta is made using the same method as Champagne, with second fermentation in the bottle. This doesn’t mean you will be tasting Champagne, but rather a complex, less mineral and zesty sparkling as the climate is warmer, meaning riper grapes.
Try: Ferghettina Franciacorta Brut DOCG – The family originally started with 3-4 hectares of vineyards but is now one of the finest Franciacorta wineries!
England is now very much on the wine map with delicious sparkling wines being its speciality. The majority are made using the same process as Champagne. So, if you are looking for an elegant buttery Champagne alternative and want to try something new, they might be for you!
Try: Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs 2017 – Aged on its lees for three-and-a-half years, this one is rich, tropical and delicious.
Cava: Sí, me encanta mucho! Cava is another Champagne alternative made using second fermentation in the bottle. From brut, to vintage and rosados, this wine region produces some of the best value bubbly wines!
Try: Brut Rose Festival Perelada Cava – Something different made from pinot noir and garnacha made by one of the higher quality producers in Cava.
I recently tried sparkling grüner veltliner and I was amazed! Not many sparkling wines are made using this grape variety, which has a lot to offer.
Try: Schlumberger Sparkling Grüner Veltliner Klassik – One of the most popular wines from Schlumberger with refreshing green notes.
Wine buddies, there are definitely so many more brands, countries, techniques, and bottles to try! These are just some that I find interesting to try and perfect to share. Now, if you are a Champagne addict, perhaps consider trying something new just before popping that bottle. It might surprise you!