Plunging us further into the festive spirit, here is part two of Window On Wine’s selection of seasonal sparkling wines. Last time I talked about Cava; this time it’s Prosecco and other non-champagne sparkling wines.
Let’s start with the wine which came top in this year’s Which? test of supermarket sparklers between £5 and £15 – Pongracz Brut from Morrisons. It’s the most expensive fizz in this two-parter at £13.99 (so not exactly comparable) but it was our favourite. Get past the name; admire the elegant bottle shape and enjoy this Champagne by another name. It’s delightfully dry and moreish with caramel, baked apple flavours which really linger on. Although it’s from the Western Cape, it’s made from two of the Champagne grapes (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) and in the traditional method which the South Africans call Cap Classique. I could start Christmas lunch (or breakfast – it did do well as a partner for a smoked salmon bagel!) with a glass of this.
W.O.W. Factor 8
Stylistically Prosecco is a different ‘beast.’ It isn’t a Champagne-a-like at all. It’s made from a different grape – Glera – and gets its bubbles from a different method. The secondary fermentation here comes in a tank rather than in a bottle. I always think of Prosecco as more light hearted, a perfect party fizz. It’s unlikely to offend; has low alcohol around 11 or 11.5% and less in-your-face flavours.
Asda’s Extra Special Prosecco and Lidl’s Prosecco Spumante di Conegliano both did well in the same Which? poll coming fourth and fifth respectively. For me, these wines avoid the confected pear drop thing which you sometimes get from Prosecco and I don’t like. The Asda prosecco had more apple aromas and grapefruit flavours; the Lidl one smelled more of lemon and tasted more of more pear. In both the flavours and aromas were delicate; the bubbles quite lazy. For a festive aperitif these fizzes would be dangerously gluggable!
Asda Extra Special Prosecco costs £6.48 – W.O.W. Factor 6.5
Prosecco Spumante di Conegliano costs £6.99 – W.O.W. Factor 6.5
If you are heading to a party or hosting one at home, then magnums of Prosecco could be fun! Sainsburys Taste the Difference Prosecco (at £19.99) and Aldi’s Prosecco Extra Dry (at £14.99) both come in 1.5 litre bottles and were both pretty decent.
And finally, regular readers are probably tired of me mentioning Aldi’s Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura which at £6.99 is one of my favourite low cost fizzes. The Mothership has already secured a bottle for us to drink this Christmas. We’re not the only fans though – check out Jancis Robinson and Terry Kirkby in the Independent.