Where to buy the best sparkling wine
Besides football, there’s another, more unexpected passion we share with Brazilians: sparkling wine. It’s so popular that the town of Garibaldi in south Brazil was one of the first of the far-flung places where Champagne house Moët & Chandon set up an outpost, Chandon do Brasil. You might think Brazil would be too hot, but they’ve been making sparkling wine for thirsty locals using Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Welschriesling (a central European white grape) since 1973.
While we go so crazy for Prosecco that there’s constant talk of a shortage, homegrown Moscato is the other fizz that’s big in Brazil. It’s made in vast quantities for the domestic market and has now made its way over to the UK. I prefer the original Italian Moscato, but it’s a good reminder that, if you’re looking for a glass of fizz to see you through the men’s 100m or the women’s marathon, there’s life beyond the P-word. Here are a few ideas:
Better value than Bollinger
The Loire – the so-called garden of France – is better known for its still wines, especially glittering Sancerre and piercing Vouvray. However, it makes cracking sparklers too. Look out for those from the producer Langlois, which is owned by Bollinger but whose wines cost a fraction of the price. Majestic has L’Extra par Langlois Brut NV, Crémant de Loire for £12.99.
French and floral
The word ‘crémant’ is simply an indication that a wine is effervescent and has been made using the same method as Champagne. Made in a wild part of France in the foothills of the Pyrénées, a place where eagles soar and wild flowers grow in abundance, these are under-valued wines. Try Cuvée Royale Brut Crémant de Limoux NV (£11.99, Waitrose) or Tesco Finest 1531 Blanquette de Limoux NV France (Tesco, £8.50).
A fruity Spanish Cava
It’s back! I’ve been avoiding it for years, but while we were all becoming obsessed with Prosecco, Cava quietly raised its game. Meanwhile, demand for Prosecco is so high that quality has dropped, leaving Cava often looking like a better option on a pound-for-taste basis. The Spanish Codorníu Selección Raventós NV (Majestic, £9.99 or £7.99 on Mix Six) is a very assured example, reminiscent of red apples and of lemon marmalade on toast.
It has become a Brazilian favourite, but the original Moscato comes from north-west Italy, where the region famously makes Moscato d’Asti. This frothy wine is a real pick-me-up. Moscato is pretty much the only grape whose wine smells and tastes of fat, fresh grapes. These sparkling versions are sweet, but in the same refreshing way that a ripe melon is sweet when you bite into it – and it tastes of white blossom, scented grapes and white peaches. One of the best supermarket bottles is San Leo Asti NV (Waitrose, £9.99).
(Prices valid for August 2016)
If you’re looking for fizzy cocktails for a special occasion, try out 10 Prosecco cocktails you can make in minutes.
Check out our drinks hub for more expert advice on your favourite tipples.
What’s your favourite fizz? Let us know in the comments section below…