December 8th: Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne review

Wine Advent Calendar December 8th: Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

It’s my daughter’s birthday today which calls for FIZZ. I know it’s Thursday but I can’t think of a better excuse. Look, tomorrow’s Friday so I’ll do fizz again. That’s a good excuse too.

I’m coming down from a couple of weeks of mega-tasting prosecco and champagne and cava and all sorts of things that have bubbles in them. Partly for my Christmas print columns, partly for a mega taste test double page piece on Christmas bubbles and partly because – well I like bubbles.

Tell you what though – two things.

I pour bubbles down the sink when I’m in proper tasting mode and don’t really think what I’m doing. But one morning this week I woke up and reflected on how bloody lucky I am. I can do this thing, taste amazing fizzy wines to enjoy at Christmas (and some not so amazing truth be told) and then construct some words and put them in a certain order that makes sense and share them with someone like you (whoever you are – hello, you still there?)

But some people can’t afford food at Christmas, let alone fizz. That’s very humbling and its worth a moment of reflection. Help someone like that if you can,  if only by gifting a smile.

The second thing – on a lighter note – this fizz is one of the nicest I’ve tasted in that cacophony of bubbles. A blast of bubbles.  A fizzangeroonie of fizz.  A woosh of oooooohs.

It’s here. I’ll tell you more and explain the hearts in a minute.

Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne

What is it: It’s a champagne from Asda. Yes, Asda. 

Where’s it from: All champagnes come from Burgundy in France. By French wine law, they’re not allowed to come from anywhere else, although other sparkling French wines can be made in the same way. Here’s the geography stuff.Asda Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne review

I’ll tell you some more: I’ve already mentioned in this wine advent calendar countdown that I took some fizzies to a staying-in girlie night (see Aldi’s sparkles from December 2).  I was fed up of pouring wines down the sink, so I wanted to share the love / the life-changing luck / and I like making my pals my guinea pigs and sharing some nuggets of wine info whether they listen or not.

At the end of the night I gave them some little sticky hearts to pop on the wines they loved the best and Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne came out tops. By far. I’ll save the Skinny Prosecco verdict for another blog #absolutelynostars #defiantlynostars

The grapes:  Three grape varieties can be used in Champagne – this is a blend of two of them pinot noir (78%) and chardonnay (22%). They were hand picked from vines averaging about 20 years old.

What of the taste?  I can be boring and give you my descriptions, but I’ll share my girlie mates’ words because they don’t have to prove themselves as wine critics. They tell it like it is.

Very sharp, nice and dry. You can tell it’s not prosecco.
Real bubbly. Easy drinking. Nice aroma. Lip smacking good!
Real depth to the smell. Could sit and sniff it all day. Citrus and apples, cinnamon.
Ticks all the boxes. Very sparkly – loads of bubbles. Smells of vanilla – very easy drinking – I’ve now fallen out with cava!
Vanilla, brioche, apple crumble.
Lovely aftertaste tangtastic but a little dry for me.

Tickles your nose, sharp, lovely. Top of the pops. Leaves your mouth in a state of ecstasy.
Keeps the fizz well. If they could put that smell in a candle I would buy it!!

That enough for you?

The small print: It is 12.5% abv. This Asda champers is £15 as I write (Christmas prices) – it has an RRP of £19.75.

The best bit: I didn’t tell you it was an award winner – I didn’t tell the girlies either. Yes indeedy – Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Champagne picked up two cracking awards this year including Great Value Champagne under £22.

 

Ten Christmas fizz ideas (because we all love wine and bubbles)

Christmas fizz glass of bubbles
It’s time to brush up on the lyrics to those classic Christmas tunes; pop on the Christmas jumper and have a jolly good time with your chums, your workmates and your nearest and dearest. There’s no better way to add  sparkle to your festive fun than with some Christmas fizz.

Christmas fizz, glass of bubbles


Christmas fizz: Cava and Moscato

Camoli Moscato (£4.99, Aldi) The word “dolce” on the label means “sweet” – but don’t turn your nose up just yet. Pop this in the fridge and give it a humdinger of a good chill and at only 6% abv it’ll tingle your senses at the start of an evening without slam-dunking them into shock before all your pals arrive. Also a great tastebud tease with pudding.

Codorníu Cuvée Barcelona Brut (RRP £12.99 Sainsbury’s and Waitrose) Cava is made in the same way as champagne but with different grapes and has more flavour and complexity than prosecco. This has aromas of ripe red apples, ribboned with orange zest, and citrus flavours really zing. Hide it behind the tree and keep to yourself.


Christmas fizz: Champers under £20

Bissinger Champagne Premier Cru  (Lidl, £15.99) This is a shiver of fizz which is lovely as an aperitif.  Go on then, pour as the family arrives on Christmas Day. The grapes come from some of the best vineyards in the Champagne region and the winemakers have used them to make a Champers which is fruity, fresh and not too dry.

Les Pionniers Non-Vintage Champagne (The Co-op, £16.99)  This has just been named best non-vintage bubbly by Which?, beating brands including Lanson and Veuve Clicquot. Breathe in the aromas of pears and ripe red apples which fizz out of the glass with a zesty pippety-pop while also delivering a backbone shiver.

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 Extra Special Louis Bernard Vintage Champagne (Asda, £18, down from £30, until December 31) I love this vintage champers from Asda. It is one of the most mouthwatering supermarket vintages I’ve tried. Great price too for a bundle of citrus, tropical fruit and those familiar warming brioche aromas.

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne (Tesco, £18)  If you like your champagne dry with no syrupy sweetness then this is the drink for you. Any drier and you’d be spitting dust. Don’t let the bubbles fool you, this is a hardcore, no-nonsense champagne packed with bold flavours.

J de Telmont Grande Réserve NV (Majestic, £19.99 or a bulk buy Mix Six Price of £13.32} This fizz leans towards fruity as opposed to complex flavours of  brioche and comforting warm bakeries. It’s a lovely Champagne though, crisp and refreshing.


If you enjoy prosecco, click here. You know you want to.

Christmas fizz: Champers over £20

Gimonnet-Gonet Blanc de Blancs Cuvée Or (£23.50, Your Sommelier) Your Sommelier is an independent online retailer which ships French wines over to the UK, including this family-owned Champers.  This is a blanc de blancs, which means it is a Champagne made entirely from chardonnay  – it was delicious with a couple of raspberries popped in the glass. Your Sommelier is running a special flash Christmas sale until December 21.

Jacquart Brut Rosé Mosaique (Sainsbury’s, £35) I took this along to a gathering of   girlie friends  – sometimes its rude not to share the love.  It’s a pink – and girls love pink sparkles. Well, not always, as they can be hyper sweet, but this one is dry and fresh with delicate bubbles which tinkle happily for a good while.

Champagne Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvée (www.spiritedwines.co.uk, £38)  This is a champers to savour, not to hurry, no matter how giddy you are wearing your party hat. There’s crisp flavours of apples and citrus with brisk and bright aromas of grapefruit and apples.

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Some of these reviews were first  published in the saturday extra magazine December 5, 2015

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