Alistair Gibson: Is the prosecco bubble bursting?

There have been a number of reports recently about the possibility of a prosecco shortage.

Saturday, 30th April 2016, 6:00 am
Cremant de Jura
Cremant de Jura

There have been a number of reports recently about the possibility of a prosecco shortage.

We seem to be falling ever more in love with this Italian fizz.

Indeed the UK is the biggest market and now it would appear producers can’t keep up with demand.

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Blanquette de Limoux

It seems unlikely that this is no more than just a ‘good story’ especially as last year’s harvest in the region was a record-breaker and that production overall has tripled in the past six . This is mainly because more vineyards have been planted.

However, it did make me think about what the alternatives might be for inexpensive fizz should the prosecco bubble ever really fizzle out.

Philippe Michel Cremant de Jura (Aldi £7.29) comes from the little-known, in the UK at any rate, region of Jura.

This butts up against the French Alps where more than half of what it exports is sparkling wine. So it’s an important fizz region.

McGuigan Family Reserve Shiraz 2015

This is made from 100 per cent chardonnay in the same way as Champagne and constantly receives great reviews because of its value.

It’s really well-made and almost smells of spring with fresh lemon notes and a lovely clean finish. It would be perfect on its own on a summer’s evening – when that summer finally arrives. This really is a bargain.

Aldi seems to have a nose for great value sparkling wines because The Exquisite Collection Blanquette de Limoux (Aldi £7.99) is another one.

It is produced in Limoux in south-west France, reputedly the oldest sparkling wine region in the world.

Foremost Syrah 2015

Again, this is made in the same way as Champagne. It is very dry with Granny Smith apples, citrus and a hint of pear, delicate bubbles and another dry finish.

Either of these two sparklers would be more than happy as a prosecco substitute and if I’m honest they are superior to many proseccos at the cheaper end of the shelf.

Staying with the bargain wine theme, here are a pair of reds I’ve tasted over the past few weeks.

New Zealand is beginning to produce some really interesting cool climate syrah in North Island, generally made in a much more European style than their Aussie cousins’ beefy shiraz.

Blanquette de Limoux

Generally these wines are currently quite expensive, but if you want to see what all the fuss is about then Foremost Syrah 2015, Hawkes Bay (Lidl £8.99) is a great place to start.

There are dark fruits, violets and a touch of white pepper with ripe tannins. It’s all wrapped up with a fresh finish. Try this with a leg of lamb or roast beef.

If you prefer Australian Shiraz and can wait a few days then McGuigan Family Reserve Shiraz 2015 (Waitrose £8.99, but on offer from May 11-31 at £5.99) is great value when of offer.

This is a good glass of full-bodied red with rich red fruits and a hint of spice and chocolate.

This would be perfect the first time you light up the barbecue with some charred lamb chops.

McGuigan Family Reserve Shiraz 2015
Foremost Syrah 2015