I’VE been sitting here thinking about strawberries and Wimbledon and the Longest Day (because, scarily, we have reached that daylight milestone).
Where do I take you this week, I’ve been asking myself. What homework do I set you in my continued challenge to encourage you to drink something new. To cast away the grigio and run free, barefoot across the bottled landscape; wind billowing through your hair, the sun glinting off your clasped shiny corkscrew. (Not sure running barefoot across bottles is a good analogy. So tread carefully.)
I‘ve been torn. But no more. I’ve shrugged off the image of my one reader (that’s you) running around crazily looking for wine, and have landed on Chambord.
Purely by chance. I poured a glass of prosecco, Plaza Centro Prosecco (Tesco, £6.49 until July 1, reduced from £12.99). It‘s OK. It’s prosecco. A good light lemon flurry of pouring bubbles enjoying the contact with fresh air longer than most, and a burst of citrus in the mouth. You’re never going to get a complexity of tastes with prosecco, unlike a cava or a crémant. I needed an added “something” to liven up the brain cells I use for words.
Then I remembered I had a bottle of Chambord one of my closest friends had bought me. (A 20cl bottle is in Tesco for £7.50).
If you’ve never tried it, I urge you to do so. The Chambord website tells me:
“Chambord is the premium black raspberry liqueur with a fine French heritage. Chambord stands alone in its category — and in its iconic, captivating packaging.”
The bottle is so pretty. It should be gracing a dressing table.
I poured a little glug into the glass and it turned a glass of sparkles into a fruity cocktail treat. A weekday luxury as I’m tapping on this laptop with Corrie on the TV. Come on Peter Barlow, shape up.
Chambord is 16.5% abv and gave the prosecco more oomph and a delightful raspberry depth. Sparkles aside, there’s a heap of cocktail ideas you can create, including vodka, Chambord and soda (pop a raspberry in too). Or Chambord suggests a French Martini, which is vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice.
Yums. Lovely little summery treats.
If you want to look for other sparklers to celebrate the summer, then a good starting point could be a handful of supermarket own-brand wines which dominated the Great Value Sparkling category in the recent International Wine Challenge Awards.
- Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut 2013 (£10) was awarded the Great Value Awards for sparkling under £12.
- The Co-operative picked up the mid-range Great Value Award (sparkling wines between £12 and £20) for its Les Pionniers NV Champagne (£16.99).
- Waitrose won the Great Value sparkling under £25 award with its Blanc de Noirs Brut NV (£24.99).
If you want a pink sparkle without the home-made element then Freixenet has two lovely cavas Cordon Rosado (RRP £9.99) and the classy-looking Elyssia Pinot Noir (RRP £14.99).
Both are widely available. The rosada uses two “stand up and be counted grapes” trepat and garnacha and delivers bright red fruits and blackberries. Elyssia is one to grace a special dining table and has a lightness of touch that pinot noir brings and lots of summer fruits.
So what do I always say? Go forth and experiment.