By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 28 October 2017
Forget cheap Champagne, try one of my picks of sparkling wines from around the world under £20:
France: EXQUISITE CREMANT DU JURA 2013 Philippe Michel ***STAR VALUE***
(12%; £7.99 Aldi www.aldi.co.uk)
Yet again Aldi stole the show for value with their Chardonnay-based Jura fizz. Sleek packaging, crisp fresh citric flavours; what it lacks in toastiness and depth, it makes up for in fresh vibrancy to keep your party fizzing.
France: CREMANT DU JURA BRUT NV Domaine de Montbourgeau
(12%; £13.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
A nutty Chardonnay for those who like fizz very dry. It says Brut on the label, but it seems Extra Brut to my palate without any dosage. Initially floral with zippy freshness and apple flavours; a touch rustic on the finish. An interesting find made by a small 9 hectare family estate run by 3 generation winemaker Nicole Deriaux near L’Etoile town in Jura.
Argentina: CHANDON ROSE
(12.5%; £13.99/£17.99 Majestic Wine www.majestic.co.uk)
Moet & Chandon have had plenty of practise at making Argentinian fizz, they have been here since 1959. They cleverly use grapes from different altitude levels; soft delicate rose fizz with a yeasty nose; rich and vibrant.
France: CREMANT D’ALSACE KUEHN BRUT CUVEE PRESTIGE
(11.5%; £11.99 Virgin Wines www.virginwines.co.uk)
Something a little different. A creamy fizz based on Pinot Blanc, with lots of local flavour with a charming pear and lemon aromas and nutty undertones. From a traditional Alsace producer established in C17 based in Ammerschwihr, a tiny village west of Colmar.
Spain: CAVA CONDE DE HARO BRUT 2013 Muga ***STAR BUY***
(12%; £12.95 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
You might well have heard of Muga, the family are one of the top producers in Rioja. They have turned their hand to a traditional method fizz made from Viura and Malvasia. With two years ageing it has wonderful depth, rich toastiness and complexity. Restored my faith in Cava.
France: BERRY BROS & RUDD CREMANT DE LIMOUX NV Antech
(12%; £12.25 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com)
I am a big fan of Limoux’ elegant traditional method Cremants; they have a purity, minerality, honeyed spicy character and textural richness. Predominantly Chardonnay, with Limoux’ classic addition of 15% Chenin Blanc and Mauzac in the blend. Made by the long established Antech family, one of the traditional fizz makers in the region.
Tasmania: JANSZ BRUT NV ***STAR BUY***
(12%; £17.50 Oddbins www.oddbins.com)
The wild unforgiving cold climate of Tasmania is the source of Australia’s best fizz grapes. Made by Yalumba in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, this is sleek, elegant and well made with yeasty biscuity nose, bright citric flavours, hazelnut notes and creamy silky finish. Very popular with tasters.
Italy: PROSECCO SUPERIORE LOT 25 2016 Vinicola Follador
(11.5%; £9.99 Aldi www.aldi.co.uk)
If you can still find this exceptional small parcel of Prosecco on Aldi’s shelves, snap it up. It has unusual herbal notes with stone fruit, apricot flavours, but is much richer and fuller than other Proseccos I have tried; very stylish with a long length for the price. Smart packaging too which will definitely impress.
Italy: IL FRESCO ROSE BRUT VILLA SANDI
(11.5%; £13.95 Valvona & Crolla www.valvonacrolla.co.uk)
A mix of Glera, the white grape used for Prosecco, blended with Pinot Noir. A delightful strawberry toned light rose with cranberry fruit flavours and dry finish. It hails from Valdobbiadene, in the heart of Prosecco country made by the renowned Polegato family.
Italy: PROSECCO LA VI 2016 Canevel ***STAR BUY***
(11%; £17.95 Valvona & Crolla www.valvonacrolla.co.uk)
The pick of the Proseccos we tasted. It might seem pricey, but you get what you pay for with its smooth succulent floral bouquet and apple flavours. You can serve this on its own as an aperitif or with shellfish.
France: CREMANT DE BOURGOGNE LA CROIX MONT OIE
(12%; £19.50 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com)
One of the more expensive Cremants from Burgundy from a young team in the Morvan foothills. Like many Cremants it is Chardonnay-based, but with Pinot Noir, Gamay and Aligote added for good measure. Exotically richness, complex, elegant and very impressive.
Chile: MONTES SPARKLING ANGEL BRUT NV
(12%; £15.50-£16.99 Oddbins; Valhalla’s Goat, Glasgow; Harrison Fine Wine; Fine Wine Co Musselburgh)
Cooler microclimates in Chile are finally being used to grow grapes for sparkling – and Montes’ fizz is one of the better efforts imitating Champagne in its grapes and method. A well-made Pinot Noir dominant fizz with toasty nose and fresh citric fruit palate.
Join Rose Murray Brown MW’s Champagne v Sparkling Wine Tasting at Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh on Thursday 23 November £45 www.rosemurraybrown.com