We’re hugely lucky to have a wide range of decent sparklers on UK shop shelves – crémants from France and premium English sparkling wines now take their place among the luxury champagnes and party-pop proseccos. But there’s another sparkling style that is well worth a foray at this summer’s parties and celebrations – New World fizz.
Most sparklers from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas are made in the traditional champagne method – second fermentation in the bottle, followed by long ageing on the yeast sediment (lees), and many are produced from one or two of the champagne grapes, most commonly chardonnay and pinot noir.
The fruit usually comes from cooler vineyards, such as Tasmania in Australia, where a crisp snap of acidity reigns in the finished wine.
As a result, they can give even champagne a run for its money, and they often have something of the same complexity as other top champagne-method sparklers, though, in general, expect a slightly richer, more brightly fruity style, which is especially good for matching with light savoury dishes and posh party snacks.
Of the five below, three are South African, which highlights the excellent value for money Cape sparklers achieve.
As well as these recommended buys, look out for more from the consistently impressive South African Graham Beck label, including a blanc de blancs 2017 in Majestic (£22.99 or £18.99 as part of a mixed six bottles) and the two Graham Beck “The Rhona” wines in M&S (both £15).
The sister wine to the Croser sparkling rosé below, Croser Sparkling Brut NV, Adelaide Hills, Australia (£19), arrives on May 22 and is another cracker, brimming with light pineapple yoghurt and lime, while Sainsbury’s brings in Villa Maria Sparkling Cuvée Brut NV, New Zealand, a prosecco-method (tank, not bottle-method) on June 25. It’s less complex and yeasty than others mentioned here, but has a crystal-clear lemon zing and bustling sparkle and will be a fair £14.
11.5%, Majestic, £16.99 or £11.99 as part of a mixed six bottles
Fairly new to Majestic, a bright golden fizz that’s notably rich and toasty with an orange-marmalade layer, but finishing dry. It’s another blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, aged for 18 months in bottle. This can take on fish pies or a buffet/picnic spread of cold roast chicken, smoked salmon and quiches, and the mixed-six price is very keen.
12%, Majestic, £16.99 or £12.74 as part of a mixed six bottles; Waitrose, £16.99
A pink blend of white chardonnay and red pinot noir, and a cracking one, too – majoring on tangy fresh raspberries with satsumas and red cherries and a creamier raspberry-ripple seam, ending dry. Try this with sushi or a prawn starter, not sweet dishes.
13.5%, Tesco, £20, launches May 22
Croser has long been an excellent Australian sparkling producer, and here’s a new wine in Tesco that’s worth the price tag – champagne grapes again, and a pale copper-coloured hue with a gorgeous aroma of strawberry ice cream, a cherry-drop tart streak and long finish. I’d chill it for crab, prawns or scallops.
12%, Waitrose, £18.49, down to £14.49 until June 6
Again made from chardonnay and pinot noir, this time grown in the relatively cool vineyards of Tasmania, this fine Aussie fizz is fresh and crisp with apricot and lemon fruit. Eighteen months ageing on lees has added nuances of freshly baked bread and nutty nougat. Snap it up on this excellent offer.
12.5%, Telegraph Wine Cellar, £26.10 or £23.49 by the case
This Cape fizz comes from Ken Forrester, known as a champion of chenin blanc, so it’s no surprise that this is the single grape used here. There’s plenty of its trademark fresh acidity and tangy apple flavour, and a hint of lemon curd in here, too. Aged for 14 months on lees, it’s got a richer creamy depth that works with light pastry canapés and starters, especially seafood ones.
More Susy Atkins: The sub-£10 high street rosés to buy now – including the best-value French pink around
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