Champagne on ice that’s great, yes please. But what’s this? Champagne WITH ice?

Moet Ice Imperial champagne with ice

I know I’m not fashionable. I only have to look in my wardrobe to know that. I don’t listen to the latest tunes and I prefer to watch a Doris Day film rather than a superhero leaping from a building dressed as a spider.

But I am what I am.

The other week I was invited to a special tasting with winemaker Marie-Christine Osselin from Moët & Chandon. I love meeting people who are at the heart of making wine, its a great chance to pick their brains.

But back to my fashion sense, or should I say awareness. We went through Moët’s range of champagnes and then … what’s this? A champagne to drink with ice? Sacre bleu!!

Yes indeedy, Moët have created Moët Ice Impérial which is designed to drink with ice (£45 Clos19.com and Selfridges, 12% abv). I’d never heard of this idea but it seems a few people have – some folks at the tasting said, oh yes, this is great, and a workpal tells me she’s seen the champers on holiday. (The workpal was on holiday, not the champagne – I don’t think it would be very good at packing a suitcase).

 

Part of me was kind of, well, why would you spoil a champagne with ice? But it’s fashion apparently. There you have it, I’m not fashionable.

Marie told our little gathering that the ice is even used as part of the blending process – this is when the winemaking team decides what proportions of each of the core champagne wines – pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay – they will use to create the flavours and style of wine they want.

I tried the champers both on its own (no ice) and with ice, together with a slice of pink grapefruit. I wasn’t a huge fan of the champagne “neat” but yes, with the grapefruit and ice it went up another level and was fruity and refreshing, but a tad sherberty. It is sweet, that’s for sure. I can imagine it being a wow in the heat of the Mediterranean sun.

Then – just days after my Moët experience, along came another wine in a similar vein. Freixenet ICE White (RRP £12.99. Morrisons, Tesco and Ocado, 11.5 % abv) is also designed to be tasted with ice.

This cava is a blend of the traditional cava grapes macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada, together with chardonnay, and has been aged in Freixenet’s cellars for up to 14 months. I chunked some ice into a bowl of a glass (my gin glass) and glugged in the cava.

Again, sweetness is king here and the fizz had aromas of honeysuckle, sweet peas and tropical fruit, with an underlying lift of vanilla and biscuit. It’s one to consider for summer afternoons on the patio.

 

Also in my glass …. I’ve moved from one chapter of my life to another. To mark it, I had a sip of more fizz. And why not. Gremillet Rose d’Assemblage Brut, (£24.99, WineTrust100, 12% abv) is a champagne made from pinot noir (70%) and chardonnay (30%) and is a lush salmon pink colour with bubbles that are happy to greet you. It has aromas of ripe strawberries and red berries and that oh-I-so-love aroma of vanilla and freshly-baked biscuits. To taste, its a fizz whizz of red fruits and citrus with a good acidity.

*Published in May 2017 in over 20 regional UK newspapers including:

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

Fizz Face-off: I compare Asda’s sparkling £5 Progrigio and a same price cava

cava fizz

If you’re a regular in Asda you might have noticed that the retailer has brought out a new sparkling wine to catch the attention of prosecco drinkers.

The sparkling wine world is increasingly popular in the UK but very crowded. Every time a butterfly flutters its wings, a new sparkling wine is born, each one trying to take a piece of that marketplace.

 Progrigio (£5, 11% abv) is Asda’s new sparkling wine and  I’m told that it is “a unique wine that blends the effervescent versatility of the bestselling sparkling wine grape in the world, glera, and the classic full flavours and crisp acidity of the wine which has become a worldwide symbol of Italian winemaking, pinot grigio”. I know this because I read it here at Progrigio.com.

What do I think of it? I’m making life difficult for myself with a mini- Scientific Experiment.

I was in Asda a couple of days ago and spotted a cava, also for a fiver. I love cava and think it’s massively overlooked by fizz lovers.

I bought Marques Del Norte Cava  (11.5% abv) and challenged myself to a fizz-off with these two wines.  I’ve given points out of 5 on bubble strength, aromas, the taste and overall impression. Yes. I’m sitting on the settee doing this right now on my own. Call me sad.


Progrigio:

Bubbles
Well it has bubbles – 2 marks.
Aromas
Apples, grapes, a hint of flowers but also something plasticky
– 2 marks
Taste
Mouth-watering acidity but fruit flavours disappear very quickly leaving a tinny aftertaste  –  1 mark

Overall impression – 2 marks


Marques Del Norte:

Bubbles
This cava enjoyed being poured – 3 marks
Aromas
Cava is made in the same way as champagne which means there’s aromas of fresh apples, citrus, and newly-baked buttery bread – 3 marks
Taste
Apple, a touch of caramel (like the edges of a crispy apple pie); the juiciness retains some flavour after you’ve sipped – 3 marks

Overall impression – 3 marks


I’ll leave you to do the sums.
(Because I’ve never been very good at sums.)