Christmas wines 2020

The best Christmas fizz: My 2020 festive sparkling wine choices under £20

Christmas sparkling wines 2020 best Christmas fizz

Every year I run a consumer page blind taste-test to discover my pick of the bubbles for Christmas and New Year. In 2020 it was more complicated than usual as I didn’t have a gang of tasting elves with me! Instead my small social bubble tasted wines for the benefit of your festive social bubbles.  Here’s Part One and my 10 choices for the best Christmas fizz under £20.


The best Christmas fizzStar buy: The best Christmas fizz

Champagne Comte De Senneval Brut Milllesime 2014 (£19.99, Lidl)

This is a vintage champagne and wine producers only make a vintage champagne when the growing conditions have been just right. When grapes are perfect. When winemakers are excited about what they’re creating.

The champagne’s aromas are heady with ripe, ripe apples, a buttery biscuit base, citrus and a touch of caramel.

The sharp apple flavours are vibrant and a keen acidity ripples through the mouth. We blind-tasted; and then tasted again.

A vintage champagne, which awakens the senses like this, and is under £20, has to be my star buy.

Social Bubbles Score: 5 / 5


Best buy: The best Christmas fizz

Classics Crémant De Bourgogne Brut (£10, Marks & Spencer)

the best Christmas fizz“Somewhat fluffy” wrote my fellow social bubbler about this wine; a “surprising fizz” and “maybe champagne”.

Actually it’s a crémant made in the same way as champagne.

I enjoyed its soft, balanced structure, long finish and ripe fruits.

Those fruits being mango, apricot and peach.

I was pleased to see we were in tune with the judges from the International Wine Challenge who have given this wine the trophy for Great Value Sparkling between £12 and £20.

Social Bubbles Score: 4 / 5


The best Christmas fizz: Four more choices for your social bubbles

 

Adrien Chopin Brut Champagne NV (£18, Morrisons)

This champagne won this year’s Which? Champagne Test but please take note: We didn’t know which sparkles we were tasting when we sipped.

When we revealed this champagne after our tasting I realised it is worth every drop of praise it receives this year.

It has “a nice elongated bubble” said my partner in crime.

I said “vibrant nose, ripe with apples, apple crumble, vanilla, red fruits. It is lush, so delicious.”

Need I say more? This champagne is such great value.

Social Bubbles Score: 5 / 5

Chapel Down Sparkling Bacchus Brut (RRP £17, Waitrose, Majestic)

This English sparkling wine elicited some oohs when we perceived elderflowers; and then aahs when grapefruit took hold of our finely-tuned citrus-seeking senses.

Then just when we weren’t expecting it, a peek of pineapple tapped us on our bind-tasting shoulders.

It’s a wine which is very much about fruit, orchards, hedgerows and crisp refreshing sensations.

If you want lighter celebrations instead of biscuit and toast, then it’s an ideal wine for you. There’s a third off the RRP at Waitrose in December.

Social Bubbles Score: 4 / 5

Tesco Finest Prosecco (£8)

I never really tire of sipping this prosecco, which was the winner in my festive prosecco category last year.

In my Christmas blind-tasting this year (the year we’d like to wave off, without looking back) it happily shared flirts of fun and fizz and fruit.

This sparkler captured our social bubble hearts and every pop of fizz was mightily enjoyed.

The wine needed to wow in the “under £20” category alongside champagne, cremant and cava. It succeeded, making £8 a happy price.

Social Bubbles Score: 3 / 5

Graham Beck Brut (£16.99 or £11.99 in a buy six deal at Majestic)

In our social bubble of bubbles, we found this sparkling wine from South Africa to be a very friendly wine indeed.

It has turned heads before, as it was chosen to be served at Barack Obama’s victory celebrations.

Chardonnay and pinot noir combine to make this champagne-style fizz a light delight of apples, subtle vanilla and a gentle creaminess.

This is a good price when in the buy six deal, making it more competitive with the flavour popping bubbles elsewhere in this under £20 category.

Social Bubbles Score: 3 / 5

SPAR Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG (£10.50)

Here’s another favourite, which once again, for another year, teased my blind tastebuds with its spritely pear, apple and lemon notes.

I love it when the Big Reveal is made (I wrap my secret santa tasting bottles in mail bags) and a wine’s label peeps out.

When you see DOCG on a prosecco label, and the words Valdobbiadene (or Conegliano, or superiore), they indicate that you’ll be spending your money on a prosecco that is a step above in quality.

Social Bubbles Score: 3 / 5


The best Christmas fizz:  My final under £20 choices for 2020

Specially Selected Crémant du Jura 2018 (Aldi, £8.49)

The classy shape of this Aldi bottle of bubbles was a giveaway to me in its mail bag disguise, but not so much to my fellow blind-taster.

So I’ll let her words speak here. “Mmmm, apple fruits! I feel like I’m in an orchard!” … and then … “it’s quite elegant” … and then … “I can sip this over Christmas and not get bored with the flavours”.

I don’t disagree with any of that.

At a halfway house between £8 and £9, it’s a jolly nice festive fizz staple created from chardonnay grapes.

Santa’s Social Bubbles Score: 3 / 5

Marques del Norte Cava Brut (£7.25, Asda)

We love a drop of cava in our Fizz Towers.

This cava has a nose of burnt sugar, caramelised apples, vanilla, biscuit, and slices of fresh green and red apples.

The wine is quite dry but it is very mouthwatering and even lemon zest gets a look in on the palate.

It’s simply a nice drop of cava and nudged out Lidl’s Arestel Cava Brut (£5.29) from this top 10. Why? I interpreted and contrasted our blind-tasting notes and we felt It had more complexity for the money in terms of aromas and flavours.

Social Bubbles Score: 3 / 5

Maison de la Rougerie Crémant de Bordeaux Blanc Brut (£8.75, Iceland)

I had no idea you could buy a crémant in Iceland.

Please make up your own jokes!

Don’t ask me if it sent shivers down my spine, or if was I chilled out.

The wine has a lemony nose, with conference pears and ripe apples.

I perceived a bitterness and the palate wasn’t as fruity as the nose. “It feels fancy but not too heavy,” said my social bubbler.

If Iceland is your Big Shop destination then maybe its one for you.

Santa’s Social Bubbles Score: 2 / 5


First published in UK regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales –  Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle  – Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express 

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