Summer is right around the corner – and many of us are looking forward to lighting the barbecue and inviting the family over for some al fresco dining.
But if you are struggling to decide which wines to serve with your food, then we’re here to help you choose the best sparkling wines that are in the shops this summer.
To guide you, we’ve explored the four most popular sparkling wine types – so whatever your taste and budget there is a bubbly to suit your style. Read on to discover the best bottles of fizz – along with tasting notes to help you decide.
When asked to name a sparkling wine, Champagne is often the first name that comes to mind. While it may be thought of as the king of bubbly – it can be expensive and quite hard to come by. Only fizzy wine from the Champagne region of France can be classed as Champagne – but if you want to pop the cork on a bottle for a special occasion or enjoy a decadent summer brunch, here are the bottles that should be on your list.
Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV: A full-bodied fizzy wine, this has the classic trademarks and flavours of the Bollinger brand. This variety has a toasty richness and the delicate bubbles that are associated with the finest Champagnes.
Taittinger Brut Reserve Non-Vintage Champagne: Produced by one of the most famous independent Champagne houses, Taittinger is still owned and managed by the family of the same name. The crisp and refreshing flavour heralds subtle brioche notes, with delicate hints of fresh fruit and honey.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne: Offering a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes this cuvée presents the perfect balance of bold fruity aromas and hints of toast. As the wine ages, the fruity notes develop an overtone of vanilla and sweet brioche.
Known as the ‘Champagne’ of Italy, this fruity summer fizz is a sweeter sparkling wine than its French cousin. We think it’s also the best choice for creating summer cocktails, such as Mimosas and Bellinis, which are guaranteed to impress your guests. Prosecco is also typically cheaper than Champagne – and just as refreshing.
Freixenet Prosecco: Served in a stunning cut-glass bottle, this Italian bubbly is made from Glera grapes grown and harvested in the Veneto region of Italy. The distinctive flavour includes hints of grapefruit, crisp green apple, and lemon.
Fillipo Sansovino Valdobbiadene Prosecco: This extra dry Prosecco is produced from the vineyards of Italy’s Valdobbiadene region. It has a refreshingly crisp flavour, with overtones of peach and pear and a truly summery floral aroma.
Valdo Prosecco Marca Oro: One of our favourite Proseccos, this golden-hued wine has large bubbles and the unmistakable heady aroma of wild apple and honey. It has a smooth and mild taste, and it is ideal for serving chilled with fresh strawberries and cream – or as part of an indulgent afternoon tea.
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine blended with Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes to offer a sweet and fruity flavour. It’s produced mainly in the Penedès region of Catalonia and thanks to its sweetness, it’s usually considered as a dessert wine – but it’s also perfect for enjoying a glass or two with some tapas on a lazy summer afternoon!
Codorniu 1872 Vintage Brut Cava: Characterised by its pale lemon colour and tiny fizzy bubbles, this Spanish Cava has a fresh flavour with aromas of ripe pear and summer flowers. The 1872 in the name relates to the year that Cava was first bottled by Codorníu.
Tesco Finest Vintage Reserva Cava: Dry in style, this fizz is full of tropical fruit and citrus flavours and has a beautiful complexity which comes from ageing the bottle for fifteen months. Serve with a light evening meal of seafood pasta to bring out the bubbles.
Sainsbury’s Cava Brut: The fine winemakers at Sainsbury’s have created this zesty, dry Cava using the traditional Cava grapes of Parellada, Macabeo & Xarel-lo. The fizz is then aged in ancient cellars for at least nine months to allow the lemon citrus aromas and flavours of green apple to develop.
Sparkling rosé wines hail from across the globe and are available in a broad range of styles from light and floral, to full-bodied and packed with fruity flavours. Sales of pink bubbly have seen a meteoric rise in the last few years as more of us enjoy the red berry flavours of this perfect summer tipple.
Sainsbury’s Prosecco Rose, Taste the Difference: Supermarket Prosecco’s should not be ignored as this strawberry-rich rose proves. It is created using the traditional Glera grape, blended with a Pinot Noir to give the wine a delicate pink hue. Serve with a sharing platter of antipasti as a starter or aperitif.
LA Brewery Kombucha Sparkling English Blush: Inspired by the flavours of an English country garden, this pale pink fizz combines hints of rhubarb and elderberry with seasonal flowers. Serve chilled with a very British cream tea to enjoy this bubbly at its best.
Graham Beck Brut Rosé, South Africa: This sparkling blush is made with a similar method to Champagne. But because it’s from South Africa, it’s a lot less pricy. Indulge in the elegant, creamy red berry aromas and brioche-laden finish. Drink this on its own as an apéritif, or pair it with shellfish.
A final word on sweetness…
With four levels of sweetness – choose a fizz that suits your tastes. You can usually find information on the sweetness of the wines printed on the label.
- Extra-Brut: The driest style of sparkling wine.
- Brut: These wines are dry but do contain a hint of sweetness.
- Extra Dry: This type of sparkling wine is also dry, yet sweeter than Brut.
- Demi-sec: The sweetest of sparkling wines perfect for pairing with dessert.