Festive Fizz

by Grape Expectations

If there’s one time of year to splash out on bubbles, this is it. You don’t even need to spend a fortune to enjoy some sparkle with your Christmas celebrations.

Minimal:

Undurraga Brut NV, Chile, £6.99 at Majestic Wine. A simple and refreshing glass of fizz, not unlike Prosecco in style, but with tropical fruit flavours – think mango, pineapple and peaches. A lovely aperitif.

Codorníu Seleccíon Raventos NV, Cava, £9.99 at Majestic Wine. Love this for the money. It is elegant and lemony with a hint of biscuit. Don’t bother with cheap Champagne when it will still cost more but won’t be a patch on this.

Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz, £9.99 widely available. For something a little different, why not try a red sparkling wine? This is full of juicy red fruits, but also has a hint of cloves and cinnamon to give it a rather Christmassy feel. It’s not only lovely as an aperitif but will also work throughout Christmas dinner.

Manageable:

Graham Beck NV Brut, Western Cape, South Africa, £12.99 at Waitrose. This is a fizz made in the same way as Champagne. Unusually for a new world example, it is elegantly put together with citrus notes and some of the toasty qualities you’d expect from the real thing. Great value.

Duval-Leroy Fleur De Champagne Premier Cru, £29.99 at Waitrose. There are bound to be offers on this excellent Champagne nearer Christmas and if you can get it for under £20 it’s even more delightful. It’s refreshingly fruity but also has delicious brioche and sweet pastry notes that are so indicative of good quality Champagne.

Maxed:

Bollinger Grande Année Champagne 2002, around £70, widely available. A seriously good Champagne, fresh apple and grapefruit freshness on the nose, combined with intense buttery, nutty aromas that develop on the palate to give a rich and rounded finish. It will keep and develop for years to come, if you can bear not to drink it.

Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires Millésimé 1995, £145 at Waitrose. This Champagne won the top award at the Decanter World Wine Awards this year. It was described as “Dried flowers, summer fruits, nuts, biscuits and honey on the nose, with a rich and powerful structure on the palate. Precise, harmonious and fresh, with impressive maturity.”

Grape Expectations is a small wine tasting company, specialising in informal wine tasting events for friends and colleagues. Events are tailored to suit the requirements of the group and are designed to increase wine knowledge in an interesting and interactive way. The aim is to have fun and enjoy wine.

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You May Not Know

Santa is a relatively new name for the fellow who brings presents - he was previously known as Old Father Christmas, Sir Christmas, and Lord Christmas. Originally he was pictured wearing a green costume but he was re-branded at the start of the 20th Century and is now generally seen in red.