Party season is almost upon us, so let Wine Soc guide you through your bubbly purchases…
Last Christmas everyone was talking about this bottle of fizz, and rightly so. At only £10.99 this brilliant Aldi Champagne beat the likes of Lanson, Veuve Clicquot and Laurent-Perrier in the ‘Which Best Buys for Christmas 2016’. The Leeds University Wine Society agreed putting it in top place, beating 8 other sparkling wines. The bottle is from the Champagne region in France. Only sparkling wines made from this designated area and produced under specific legislations are entitled to use this world famous term.
Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut, has all the typical flavours associated with how the sparkling wine is made. There is a freshness reminiscent of lemon-zest from the grapes primary fruit flavours. The fizz also has lovely aromas of bread, biscuits, brioche and almonds due to it spending time on its lees (dead yeasts) after the second fermentation- if you don’t know what this means than don’t worry, just pop along to the Wine Society (every Tuesday at 7.30pm in the Union) to find out more!!
This South African Sparkling wine is made in the same way as Champagne but obviously falls outside the small designated French area and therefore cannot be called ‘Champagne’. This wine is made from a traditional pairing of the white grape variety, Chardonnay and the black grape variety, Pinot Noir. These two grapes make up over two-thirds of all Champagne plantings, where only three varieties are permitted. Even though the Pinot Noir doesn’t contribute colour to the wine it is used to balance the Chardonnay and harmonise the wine. The aromas consist of fresh citrus and green fruits such as lemons and apples which add a crisp, freshness to the sparkling wine. There are also creamy notes that add richness and complexity to the final wine.
The Graham Beck estate is located in the Breede River Valley region, a few hours outside of Cape Town. Although the company doesn’t have the extensive history as many of the big Champagne houses they have created a big name for themselves in both South Africa and the international market.
Graham Beck Brut is truly a delight to drink and one we would all recommend. Pick up a bottle from Waitrose or Majestic.
For those of you who are familiar with the large Champagne houses the name Chandon might ring a bell. This pioneering company has undergone huge expansion from the traditional realms of Champagne and now has wineries in six other countries, covering four continents. These include China, India, Brazil and Argentina where this particular bottle is from. The Argentinean winery is located at the foot of the Andes in Mendoza. These perfect conditions allow the grapes to retain the high acidity levels required for the perfect sparkling wine as well as a depth of flavour. The wine is a traditional blend of Chardonnay and Pinot noir with 10 grams of residual sugar per litre giving its title of ‘Brut’ or ‘dry’. The aromas are fresh, with elegant citrus and green apple notes. The typical brioche flavours experienced in Champagne are also present from the second bottle fermentation. Many believe the companies expansion is well planned, with increasing risks of poor harvests from changing weather conditions in the Champagne region having a plethora of options can’t be a bad thing.