Bubbling Along

Friday, January 28, 2022

This week covers an update on Champagne and Sparkling Wine.

CHAMPAGNE: For several years I have been effusing about Aldi’s Champagne (Yes, proper Champagne!), Veuve Monsigny, which is made in the Marne Valley in Champagne for them. Well, the Poms agree with me. Over Christmas Veuve Monsigny had the second largest champagne sales in the UK behind Moët & Chandon, outselling Lanson for the first time ever.

At a price of £13.99 it is also one of the least expensive champagnes on the market. But its popularity is not just based on its low price, with it having won several awards along the way, including most recently a bronze medal at the International Wine Challenge where it was noted that it had: “floral palate, fresh with little development but beautiful balance and restraint”.

For those living in the “civilised” eastern seaboard, where Aldi are allowed to sell wine (not allowed in South Australia as we would all turn into alcoholics!!) this cracking champagne is available for around $30 a bottle making it by far the best value for money champagne in Australia. – Enjoy you fortuitous sods!!!

In other champagne news, a luxury hotel in Dubai has shattered (pardon the pun) the world champagne stacking record by creating an 8.3 metre high pyramid of 54,740 champagne glasses.  This beat the previous record which had been set in Madrid back in 2017. The very first champagne glass stacking record was done by Moët & Hennessy in 1983 with 2,757 glasses. Given the rapid rise in new records, one has to wonder how long it will be before the 100,000 glass milestone is surpassed in this very important category of the Guinness World Records Book.

PROSECCO: The Prosecco Consortium has recently announced that in 2021 DOC Prosecco produced a record 627.5 million bottles of their fizz. The first time that they have exceeded 600 million bottles. This figure included 71.5 million bottles of the newly allowed Prosecco Rosé – which I reckon, in fact means that they did not reach the 600 million bottles of the traditional or regular product. They are now claiming to be the biggest selling sparkling wine in the world.

Yet despite this, since 2009 they have been trying to prevent Australian winemakers from calling their product Prosecco – which used to be the name of the grape variety used until 2009 when the Italians changed its name to Glara and said that Prosecco is strictly the name of the region where it is grown in, ergo the Aussies must cease and desist. The matter is still before the World Court where Wine Australia and the Federal Government are fighting the Italian case.

BRITISH FIZZ:  Although it has been some time since I last had the opportunity of tasting British sparkling wine, from all the accounts in the European press, it is ticking along nicely and the best of them can, and do give champagne a bloody good run for their money. If the chance arises try some British bubbles and see for yourself.

AUSSIE BUBBLES:  Having attended the sensational Effervescence Tasmania late last year, (see Article Link below) and from other sparkling wines I have reviewed, I can tell you that the Aussie premium bubbles scene is really humming along and that the top quality sparklers really deserve your attention and consideration as they are world class at about half the price of most champagne- or less. In these difficult times please Buy Local thereby supporting your fellow Australians.

Article Link: Bubble in Paradise

That’s it for this week. Stay safe and remember to #chooseaustralianwine and where possible enjoy #emergingvarieties. Cheers!

This Week's Wine Review:

I have always been a big fan of GRENACHE, ever since I first tasted D’arry’s (d’Arenberg Grenache back in the 1980s). Today, it is called “The Custodian”, but I am sure that it was under a different name way back then.

Anyhow, in the last few years GRENACHE has been undergoing a transformation, from the big alcohol, rich, slightly overripe wines towards lower alcohol, more elegant and svelte wines. Alas, some winemakers have gone too far with this “low alcohol” bit and are producing what I consider to be “thin, green, pissy” GRENACHE that are woeful and not worth drinking. The future is somewhere in the middle ground between the old fashioned, almost a dry port, and the weedy, piss-weak 12.0% wines.

A perfect example of a classy “middle grounder” is this week’s delightful wine.

The CLANDESTINE VINEYARDS “HEARTS & MINDS” McLAREN VALE 2021 GRENACHE. Made from grapes grown in a Blewitt Springs bush vine vineyard that was planted in 1950 and is un-irrigated.

What a cracking start for a wine! The crew involved then gave it masses of TLC (tender loving care), open fermented with no fining or filtration and the result is a smashing wine.

The wine is intensely bright purple in colour, has gorgeous GRENACHE aromas of red berries with a hint of dried herbs and spices adding complexity to its delightful bouquet.  On the palate, it has lashings of juicy, vibrant red berry flavours leading to slightly tight, drying tannins on the superbly lingering finish.

Oh, wow! This is a really spectacular wine – a signpost to the real future of Australian GRENACHE, and at 14.5% Alcohol it is bang on in the middle of the range – from OTT (Over the top) to UTP (Underwhelming thin piss).

Congratulations on a truly superb GRENACHE!

I hope you have a good week, stay safe and drink good quality wines.

Remember to #chooseaustralianwine and where possible drink #emergingvarieties. Cheers!

Winery Link: www.clandestinevineyards.com.au