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Friday 16 March 2012

Weekly Wine: Make Your Celebrations Sparkle

It's a big old week this week. It's St. Paddy's Day. It's Mother's Day. AND Domestic Sluttery turns the grand old age of THREE today. As if I ever needed an excuse to crack open a bottle of bubbly… well, I now have three. And I'm pretty sure that means I need to crack open three bottles. Right?

But which ones to choose? Champagne or Sparkling? Dry or sweet? And what does Blanc de Blancs even MEAN?

I've been scouring the wine-world to ferret out the good deals from the you're-having-a-laugh ones, with the aim of making your weekend all lovely and bubbly…

The Champers

If you simply must have the real deal, then here are four good bets to go for that won't cost the earth:

Most Champagne is non-vintage, but not all are from Premier Cru vineyards - these are some of the best sites in the region so you know you're onto a winner here. And I've said it eleventy times but if Tesco are willing to put their Finest label on it, it must be good. Not bad at all for £20.99 a bottle.

Champagne is a crafty beggar: it may look white but it's actually made with two red grapes (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) most of the time, as well as Chardonnay. Blanc de Blancs means it's white grapes only. As a result, this is fresh, floral and light. And £15.74 is rather smashing value.

It may be pricier at £27 a bottle, but it's usually £40 and this is one of the biggest names in the region so that's a pretty cracking deal. It's also some of the biggest wine critics' favourite Non-Vintage Champers, and has more of the 'classic' Champagne character than the others: nutty, yeasty and slightly honeyed.

If the reason for your purchase centres around the amazing woman that brought you onto this planet, then they don't come more aptly named. This is another Champagne classic, and most of the supermarkets are competing on discounting it at the moment so it's a bargain at £25.59 here.

Something Sparkling

If your budget resides somewhere more along the lines of mine (ahem), or if you're more interested in a totally rad wine without the fancy label, then try some of these non-Champagne sparklers for size:

Something sweet: Moscato D'Asti, £6.75 from The Wine Society

This is… special. It's sort of mid-sweet so it's not sickly, but it's a treat on its own or with light puddings. It's also only 5.5% alcohol so you can enjoy a fair bit of it (so I've heard). Okay, okay, I admit I buy this by the case. I can't help it. It's gorgeous.

On the whole Asda's wine selection is woeful, but this is a little gem. It's from great vineyard sites, it's won awards at the International Wine Championships and Olly Smith loves it. That's a whole lot of winning for only £9.97 a bottle.

Another one from Majestic, seeing as their range of sparklers is pretty much second to none. Cloudy Bay won it's epic reputation producing fairly standard New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc but in small quantities so it was really in demand, meaning it gained a cult status and a hefty price tag. Boo. This, however, is delightful, and very much worth the £14.99. Nutty, yeasty and fresh without the Champagne price tag.

We hope you enjoy the celebrations this weekend. Tell us all about it in the comments or on our Twitter or Facebook pages!

Image taken from Kenichi Nobusue's photostream under the Creative Commons License.


  1. Happy Birthday! Enjoy the champagne/ Asti / Prosecco!

    1. Ah, thank you so much! We are definitely on the sparklers already. Asti is my choice for the day! Hope you have a super weekend!

  2. I do love a bit of fizz. My parents live in the Loire Valley and I'm partial to a glass (or bottle) of Crémant de Loire...yum!

    1. Oh, Sarah, I am so jealous of your parents! The Loire is be-autiful and I definitely agree: Cremant de Loire is one of my all-time fave sparklers. I particularly love the one from The Wine Society for £10.50: but Majestic do a couple of blinders too! Hope you can enjoy a glass or two of your favourite this weekend! :)

    2. I've somehow only just seen this, just in time to order a case of bubbles for work. Hooray! x


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