Last Friday, we decided to throw a little bash to test out some sparkling wines. There’s nothing nicer on a summer evening than a glass of fizz and – unsurprisingly, my family were quick to volunteer when the subject of a party with a little tasting of some summer Champagne and sparkling wine was mentioned. As usual, I was completely useless and didn’t take any photos (apart from a very blurry selfie), but we had a fab time and discovered loads of wonderful summer sparklers for you. Here are our top tips:
Firstly, I had a quick chat with my lovely wino pal, Helen McGinn, who recommended that we started with the lightest sparklers and moved on to the Champagnes, with maybe a soft, sweeter sparkler with the dessert. For food, I cooked a double batch of my slow cooked barbecue pulled chicken, and then provided loads of wraps, baguettes and soft rolls, along with Jamie Oliver’s classic guacamole (literally the best guacamole recipe ever), Donna Hay’s prosciutto and sage garlic bread, and a bowl of fresh coleslaw, followed by a cheese board with all sorts of crackers, colourful tomatoes and fresh fruit. I had also planned an enormous pavlova piled high with berries. Trouble is, I inadvertently bought single cream by mistake, so our pavlova was rather… erm… deconstructed. Still, it tasted lush:
For the wine, I turned to the experts at Vinatis. They’re a wine French company who are mega friendly and helpful. They only sell wines they love and they were so nice (thank you, Carolina!) suggesting Champagne, as well as Prosecco, Cava, Cremant de Bourgougne and other fizz for us to try (I love that on the site there’s a ‘I have no clue’ button for when you really need help). All of it arrived beautifully packaged. Mr E and I were very impressed and will definitely be using them for our wine orders in the future.
We started, as Helen advised, with the lightest choice, the cleverly named FRV100 (eff er ves cent, geddit?) by Jean-Paul Brun. It’s a gorgeously light, rosé sparkler, which although not sweet, was full of soft berry flavours and made for a delicious aperitif.
Next up, and while we were eating, we sipped on a very special Prosecco: Val D’Oca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry (phew!). Everyone knows that Prosecco has become hugely popular and it’s quite unfairly become known as a ‘cheap’ alternative to Champers, but this one is a great quality DOCG, the rarest and one of the best – it was absolutely delicious: dry but not acidic, aromatic and with a lovely delicate ‘mousse’ of bubbles (get me using technical terms).
We followed this with Domaine Voarick Crémant de Bourgogne. Cremant is another sparkling wine from France, processed in the same way, but because it doesn’t come from the Champagne region it obviously can’t be called Champagne. On average, they’re better value than Champagnes but often similar – or better – quality. This one was really good: an 85% Pinot noir, 15% Chardonnay mix, appley and fresh.
For our non-sparkling wild card, we slipped in a bottle of Miraval Rosé 2015, famous of course because it’s the Provençal rosé produced by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. We tasted it before at Le Bristol in Paris and absolutely adored it. it’s a fabulous, dry rosé, full of citrus and red fruit flavours and floral aromas. One of my faves.
I know it sounds terrible, but I’m not massively keen on Champagne, so Carolina suggested Laurent Perrier Brut, explaining that I might find it a little less dry than say, Mumm Champagne. I didn’t have any of this, but was reassured that it was dry, bubbly and delicious. Enough said.
With our deconstructed dessert, we served a Cantina Colli Euganei Moscato Rosato (top right) a soft, sweet sparkling wine from Italy. The bubbles are soft, and almost creamy and it went so well with the sweet meringue and tart fruit. It’s fruity and aromatic, softly sweet but not cloying. We’ll definitely buy this again. It went just as well with the cheese too!
Huge, huge thanks to Carolina at Vinatis for her patience and all her lovely wine selections, and for my family, for coming round, celebrating and making me laugh. I love you all. Sorry about the pavlova. And the selfie xx