The best way to bring in the New Year is with a perfect *pop!* closely followed by fizzy frothiness streaming into a giddily clasped glass. Sparkling wine is so exciting.
With no science involved, here’s some ideas for your sparkling and party wines.
New Year sparklers for less than a tenner:
Tesco finest* Pignoletto (£8.99) is an alternative to Prosecco (Pignoletti is the name of the grape) but just ever so slightly different. It was very giddy when poured, like an over-excited puppy. Then when it settled into a soft delicate fizz, it was laced with peach and pear flavours.
I’ve mentioned Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Prosecco Conegliano here before. It won Great Value Sparkling in the International Wine Challenge and is reduced to £7.50 from £10 until January 1.
In ASDA, Wine Selection Cava at £4.70 is a great party wine and should make lovely Bucks Fizz … and their Extra Special Prosecco is a pocket-freindly £6.
Chink together a few glasses of French Connection Brut (£11.99 from £13.99 until January 5 at Bargain Booze) which has just enough celebratory creaminess and citrus bite to support you as you work out why every year whizzes by quicker than the one before.
Aldi’s Champagne Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut (£9.99) consistently hits the spot with a pocket-friendly siz-azzle of fine bubbles and lemon and apples.
Spend a little bit more:
Ayala, Brut Majeur (£25, winetrust100.co.uk) is a delicate, nutty, fresh and lemony Champagne, with just a touch of brioche. It has been marked a high 95 by the website’s masters of wine. Sip and reflect that this is served by the glass in the Savoy Grill.
A favourite Champers I tried at a festive tasting was Averys Special Cuvee Brut. The Champagne (from £19.99, www.averys.com) is elegant, rich, and biscuity but with ribbons of squeezed light citrus. Loved it.
The Co-op’s Les Pionniers Champagne 2006 vintage (£24.99) has picked up a silver from the International Wine Challenge.
It’s older sister, the 2004 vintage, has won many, many awards and the 2006 is expected to do even better. It has a layered palate of crisp apple and gentle citrus fruit and a delicious bready moreishness, with a lingering, nutty finish.
If you can get hold of the 2004 or the 2006 then 2015 will begin in a special way.
Over at Marks & Sparks, Abel Charlot Brut NV, is £16 down from £32 until January 1. That’s half price for a Champers with layers of shortbread, apple and lemon and a toasty caramelised nutty bite.
Take-a-bottle Party Whites:
Winemakers’ Selection Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2013, (£6.50, Sainsbury’s) is a stone fruit compote which is perfectly peachy as a backdrop to good party conversation.
Mud House Sauvignon Blanc (£10.49, Tesco) has vibrant, tangy grapefruit with some tropical fruit coming to liven up the party fun.
The Siren Chenin Blanc Chardonnay Viognier (£5,99, the Co-op) is a friendly white cuddle with apples, peaches, lemons and a dab of lime.
Take-a-bottle Party Reds:
Pop over to Amazon for Tussock Jumper’s Touriga Nacional Aragonez (I checked the latest price, £26.97 for three) which is rich, rounded, with mellow fruits and a peek of chocolate. To taste, hedgerow fruits, and a good spicy bite.
Saumur Champigny 2011 Château de Targé (£11.75, Majestic) is Cabernet Franc from the Loire and has strawberries, raspberries, a wave of a herb garden in a breeze with licks of lavender.
The Venturer Series Costieres De Nîmes (£4.79, Aldi) is packed with berries and brambles which are sprinkled with dried mixed herbs and black pepper. Hide it behind the bread bin at your party pal’s house.
I wish you all the best for 2015 and if you are starting an alcohol-free January then the best of luck.
Published in the saturday extra magazine December 27, 2014