Not all bubbly is Champagne…

Did you remember to start your festive feasting with a glass of bubbly?

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Christmas or Kwanzaa…there’s less than a 50/50 chance that you popped the cork – or pried a cap – off a bottle of sparkling wine to start the sipping before your finest feast of the season. With New Year’s coming there’s still time…

Not necessarily the first place you’d think of looking for sparkling wine, South African bubblies are just beginning to appear on our shelves. Two Oceans Extra Dry Sauvignon Blanc $13.29 is the most affordable of the three South African bubblies commonly available. The ‘grassy’, gooseberry character of the grape frames green apple, mango and melon fruit flavours.

Over the last few years Prosecco has become the best-selling sparkling wine in the world eating into the market share of France’s legendary Champagne. Prosecco production passed Champagne’s five years ago and is now 75 percent higher at 544 million bottles.

The best selling Prosecco in Canada has been marked down $2 from $17.99 for the month of December. At this bargain price Il Vino dei Poeti $15.99 mingles flavours of apples, pears and peaches typical of the Glera grape with a touch of creamy crushed white nuts. Look for the elegantly molten gold teardrop label on the bottle.

Marketed as chic but not pretentious, Prosecco’s success is undoubtedly tied to its price. In the same price range, Spain has been producing its sparkling Cavas in the north-eastern Penedès from Parellada, Macabeu and Xarel·lo grapes for more than 30 years

Usually $16.99, this month Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (+158493) is $15.49. It is a blend of 50 per cent Macabeo, 35 per cent Parellada and 15 per cent Xarel·lo… and a teaser of earthy citrus, apple and almond flavours. Quite rich and ‘creamy’, it has that authentically ‘champenoise’ toast-iness .

South America also makes bubblies, though only a handful are currently available here in BC.

Chilean connoisseurs should try Cono Sur Brut Rosé which is usually $18.99 but priced for December at $16.99. Made by the less costly charmat method (…like Prosecco!) this is Bio Bio Valley Pinot Noir coaxed into pretty pink party mode. Light strawberry fruit flavours mingle with cherry and sassy rhubarb over a core of apple and grapefruit.

Here in BC we have numerous choices. Our cool-climate vineyards help the grapes grow to full ripeness with the necessary levels of natural malic and tartaric acidity that great sparkling wines require.

Mt.Bubbles $21.99 – from West Kelowna based Mt.Boucherie Estate Winery – blends grapes from Lost Horn Vineyard in Okanagan Falls and Lazy River Vineyard in the Similkameen Valley’s South Cawston into a fully flavoured off-dry bubbly. Semillon and Riesling provide a base of apricot, peach and lemon rind aromas and flavours and a dash of Gewurztraminer adds lychee and rose petal notes.

In most wine lovers minds, sparkling wine from France means Champagne. And affordable examples start at $50.

In reality, almost every wine growing region in France makes some kind of sparkling wine from whatever grapes grow favourably. Often they are called ‘Cremant de…’ whatever region.

A blend of 70 per cent Chardonnay and 30 per cent Poulsard and Pinot Noir, Domaine Rolet Pere & Fils Cremant du Jura Brut $32.99 is an unusual bubbly that incorporates notes of plum and apricots over the green apple base. Traces of almond and toasty brioche betray the ‘Méthode Champenoise’ aging on the wine’s creamy lees.

And, finally, instead of indulging in an expensive bottle of Champagne this year… Consider attending the 41st Vancouver International Wine Festival which runs February 23 through March 3, 2019. Tickets for all public events go on sale Wednesday, January 9 at 9:30am.

Check VanWineFest.ca for details on the fantastic variety of events available.

Have a safe and very Happy New Year!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com

Just Posted

2019 FEDERAL ELECTION: Meet the candidates for the North Island-Powell River riding

In an effort to inform the North Island-Powell River riding constituents, we… Continue reading

New initiative challenges Campbell Riverites: ‘Don’t walk in the hallways’

Physical literacy is the foundation upon which healthy living is built … and it’s important to practice

Campbell River’s POTA is looking forward to an artsy autumn

Group’s major fundraiser and extravaganza hits Tidemark Theatre Oct. 5

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Emoni Bush scores tournament-high 18 points in loss to Bulgaria

Campbell Riverite and Team Canada to play Thailand tomorrow for shot at 13th place at U18 worlds

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

Most Read