This week the spotlight is on sparkling wines, the one style of wine you can’t have a party without.
I hosted a wine dinner a few weeks ago with Kym Milne MW, winemaker at Adelaide Hills producer, Bird in Hand. I have seldom attended a wine dinner where all the wines were so universally enthusiastically received, but perhaps the most surprising wine of the evening was Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir 2019, Adelaide Hills (Waitrose £11.99 on offer from £15.99 until January 2, Hermitage Cellars £12.95).
Made in a similar style to prosecco using hand-picked pinot noir, this is a very pretty pale pink in colour with a lively mousse and notes of red fruits and citrus sherbet on the nose. The palate is very clean with more red fruits and a crisp, but fruity finish.
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This is a real crowd-pleaser and the perfect party fizz for the festive period to have in the fridge for whoever pops in.
Closer to home and a newly-released wine is Jenkyn Place Blanc de Blancs 2015, Hampshire (jenkynplace.com £38) produced from estate-grown chardonnay on this North Downs Vineyard.
The nose shows citrus, green apple and freshly-baked biscuits, followed by a creamy palate with some complexity, apple acidity and a very long finish.
This is beautiful sparkling wine and demonstrates once again the huge potential for quality sparkling wine here. You could serve it as an aperitif or with some fresh seafood.
Les Pionniers Brut NV (Co-op £18 on offer from £19 until January 3) consistently scores very highly and I make no apologies for including it again this year.
Made for the Co-op by Piper-Heidsieck, for my money I think this is the best sub-£20 Champagne available all year round on the high street. It offers a rich, biscuity nose with a creamy mousse and well-balanced acidity.
There is some complexity here before a lengthy finish – perfect if you fancy some fizz with your breakfast on the big day, but it would happily see you through the whole celebration.
Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut NV is possibly one of the most recognised wine labels in the world and doesn’t always get the greatest press, mainly because it is made in such large volume.
It’s currently celebrating its 150th anniversary and is available with a special gift box.
Moët & Chandon Impérial NV (widely available RRP £35 Waitrose on offer £27.75 until December 3) is made from all three main Champagne grapes.
It has an inviting nose of citrus and white fruits with some toasty notes, followed by a crisp, dry harmonious palate and a nicely layered finish.
Considering the volumes it’s made in I’ve often thought the quality is pretty impressive and is currently drinking very nicely – just in time for Christmas.