Just because we are all living knee deep in a recession doesn't mean we should give up our bit of fizz at Christmas. Champagne sales may be waning, but the demand for Cava and Prosecco is bigger than ever.
In the UK, people are even pouring organic sparkling cider into fancy glass flutes and calling it ‘Trampagne!’
Admittedly cider is nothing like Champagne. Cava however is much closer in style to Champagne, as they both use a similar method of production. Cava tends to have more citrus and herbal flavours with medium-sized bubbles. The quality of Cava has much improved over the years, and it’s now possible to get a pretty decent bottle for just over a tenner. Pay anything less and you might just have a hangover the next day.
La Rosca Cava
This zesty Cava is full of fresh apple and lemon flavours. It’s well balanced and very quaffable. It was recently awarded Silver at the 2011 International Wine Challenge. This Cava will work really well with Christmas canapés or a smoked salmon/ seafood starter.
Available in O’Briens
Prosecco hails from Italy and tends to have strong fruit flavours and larger bubbles. It’s probably most famous for being the main component of a Bellini. Most Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method where fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks rather than in the bottle, which means it is easier and faster to produce than Champagne. As a result Prosecco is supposed to be consumed young. Prosecco’s popularity is growing at a massive rate and there are now so many different bottles to choose from. The best Prosecco come from the small vineyards in Conegliano-Valdobbiadene.
Rizzardi Prosecco IGT
This dry but refreshing Prosecco is perfectly balanced with crisp apple and pear flavours and a zesty finish. I enjoy Prosecco myself as an aperitif. I like a chilled glass just before dinner with some small nibbles or antipasti.
Available in O’Briens
There is now a huge selection of sparkling white wines from the new world. I find some of them to be a bit over sweet and cloying, others can be too bubbly and dry. So, you really have to do your home-work and find the right one that suits your palate.
Jacob's Creek Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvee NV
This sparkling white is 100 per cent chardonnay. It’s soft and well-rounded with not too much fizz. It has a well-balanced citrusy flavour and tastes a bit more grown up than some of its competitors. This is a great drink for a Christmas party. It works really well with tapas or festive canapés.
Available in most major supermarkets