What makes the perfect glass of fizz? Is it the sound of corks popping, the quality of the effervescence that’s so exciting, the elegant style of a really good champagne, or the clean, soft refreshing flavours of a modest sparkler that can be so much fun?
As with any wine, sometimes it just comes down to the delicious first sip and lively freshness from the moment the bubbles hit the right spot.
Happily, one of the joyful characteristics of this celebratory drink is that you can find a fizz to suit every occasion. And with the summer social season now in full swing, we’ve popped the corks on seven of the prettiest, tastiest, smartest and best budget-friendly bubbles to brighten up your party…
1. Lidl Organic Prosecco Spumante, Italy (£7.99, Lidl, in store only)
There’s lots to love about Lidl’s organic bubbly, which debuted last year. Keenly priced, it offers the perfect excuse to stock up on a few bottles while you’re marking your calendar for those aperitivo moments.
A lovely pale lemony gold, it’s fresh, light and lively, with white fruit aromas and hints of peach and pear. Dry and a little bit earthy, with a fresh palate and floral undertones, you can also savour the simplicity of enjoying it in an Aperol Spritz, the Italian way, cin cin!
2. Exquisite Collection Cremant de Jura, France (£7.99, Aldi)
A winner with the judging panel at Decanter and the International Wine Challenge, this creamy sparkler made from chardonnay hails from one of the smaller cremant appellations in eastern France. Bright and full of poise, toasty, citrusy aromas lead to ripe green apple and lemon flavours that really capture your attention with fresh acidity on the finish. It also offers the chance to discover this up-and-coming region.
3. Freixenet Sparkling Rosé, Italy (£12, Tesco, in store only)
A showy, party wine that’s clearly been influenced by top-tier labels shaping the style and quality of some of the best-loved bubbles in the world, leading cava producer Freixenet have released their first Italian sparkling rosé. The striking cut-glass bottle will bring more than a level of luxury and the delicate pale salmon pink with fragrant aromas of summer fruits and lightweight, easy going palate will make you want to dance the night away.
4. Sparkling Rosé Le Colture Brut NV, Italy (£13.50, Corney & Barrow)
If you want to inspire thoughts of a carefree, al-fresco lifestyle and take your Italian ‘pink’ journey to the next level, this pretty rosé fizz has a beguiling opalescence that’s fashioned to be sipped in the sunshine. With gentle aromatics, a lovely soft mousse, subtle berry fruits on the persistently elegant palate and a fresh graceful finish, it’s more aperitivos on the terrace than poolside quaffing.
5. Luc Belaire Gold Brut Sparkling Wine, Burgundy France (£22.50, The Champagne Company)
Dressed to impress, the Luc Belaire range always looks the part and fashionistas will love this clear bottle, embossed with gold foil. A blend of the region’s two famous grapes, chardonnay and pinot noir, the wine opens up with white flower blossom and pear aromas with a trace of brioche, and the tropical fruit flavours glide effortlessly along with a hint of lime on the fresh finish. Perfect for a garden party under the shade of a parasol.
6. Langham Classic Cuvee 2014, Dorset, England (£24, Langhamwine)
Home-grown English fizz is right on-trend, and an impressive line-up of judges (including Oz Clarke, master of wines and topflight buyers) at the Wine GB awards prized Langham with a gold medal for their Classic Cuvee. A blend of champagne grapes, it has red apple and brioche on the nose, with attractive orchard fruits, melon and poached pear characters and a tingling lemon acidity on the finish. An easy and delectable introduction to British bubbly.
7. Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé NV, France (£56.50, Fortnum & Mason)
When it comes to liquid history, Champagne Henriot have been turning out fine fizz for generations, and this pale pink rosé with copper highlights contains a high percentage of grand cru chardonnay, which makes it extra special.
Fresh and balanced, it ‘exudes raspberries with a strawberries-and-cream seductiveness, followed by freshly squeezed lemon, pink grapefruit and mandarin orange’, as the award-winning winemaker suggests. A wonderful gift with wedding season upon us – or better still, treat yourself with the flavours and fragrance of summer in a glass.
- Press Association