Christmas just wouldn't be the same without the odd glass of fizz. Here are some of my favourites

Fizz is essential for Christmas.  Whether you pop the cork at breakfast-time, when the wrappings come off the presents or wait until evening when all the visitors have gone, there is nothing like a glass of bubbles to make the day seem special.

As always there are plenty of special offers on the shelves, and if you like a particular fizz then it is always worth buying more than you need and tucking a few bottles away for spring and summer.   I have tasted through them all and selected the best. From Cava to Champagne there are some great deals, and don’t neglect fizz from our own English vineyards where quality is definitely high and prices have come down.

Whatever your budget, this is my top twenty for flavour and value.

The Best Vintage Cava Brut 2016, Spain, Morrisons down from £8.25 to £7.50 until 31 December

Of all the cavas tasted this season this one is definitely the best.  Rounded, creamy flavours with a touch of earthy complexity.

Finest Pignoletto Brut, Italy, Tesco down from £8.50 to £7.50 until 1 January

Move over Prosecco, Pignoletto is a different style of Italian fizz – less sweet, and with fresh, tangy, apple and peach fruit flavours.  Perfect as an aperitif.

Organic Prosecco Extra Dry, Aldi £7.99

If your household has gone organic, then this Prosecco will please everyone.  Fresh, fruity flavours with a touch more sweetness than most. Good as an afternoon reviver.

Crémant de Loire Brut, France, Lidl £7.99

Made from a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay this is an elegant, aperitif-style wine with crisp, apple-fresh flavours and a smooth, biscuit finish

Taste the Difference Conegliano Prosecco Superiore, Sainsbury, down from £10 to £8 until 31 December

Consistently good with creamy pear and apricot flavours, and now on offer it is even better.  For parties trade up to the magnum at £16.00

Champagne Brut NV, half bottle, Waitrose down from £11.99 to £9.99 until 2 January

If opening a bottle of champagne seems like extravagance, then a half bottle is just a treat. Keep some halves in the fridge for quiet nights in.

Conte Priuli Oro Prosecco, Italy, Marks and Spencer, down from £15 to £10 until 2 January

Is there any better wine to take to a party?  Dressed in its own golden bottle, the wine has bright, peach-edged fruit with a crowd-pleasing style.

Crémant de Bourgogne, La Cave des Hautes Côtes, Marks and Spencer £10

Burgundian Pinot Noir, with Aligoté, Chardonnay and Gamay in the mix then 18 months in-bottle fermentation.  The result is a rounded, elegant, peach and red apple style of wine that works well as an aperitif or with canapés, starters and fish.

Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir, 2018, Adelaide Hills, Australia, Waitrose down from £15.99 to £11.99

From the cool-climate Adelaide Hills, this is 100% premium Pinot Noir, made fizzy using the big tank ‘charmat’ method. But who cares?  Those bubbles are good and so is the wine. Very pale pink, with light strawberry fruit and a dry, crisp finish.

Graham Beck Brut, South Africa, Majestic £13.99 mix six

South Africa’s outstanding fizz, made from the classic varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and bottle-fermented to give a creamy mousse and rounded, elegant flavours.

 

The Best Premier Cru Champagne Brut, Morrisons down from £21 to £17 until 31 December

I liked this stylish, rounded, toasty champagne at its full price, so it is a bargain on offer.  Buy more than you need, it will drink well next summer too.

Les Pionniers NV, Champagne Brut, Co-op down from £19 to £18 until 2 January

This gorgeous, award-winning fizz comes from Piper Heidsieck and is bright with apple and citrus notes and a creamy, toasty finish. It is one of the most consistent supermarket champagnes on the shelves and will be a sheer delight on Christmas morning.

Oeil de Perdrix Rosé NV, Champagne, France Majestic down from £24.99 to £19.99 on mix six until 31 December

A long-standing favourite at Majestic, this is the palest of pinks, and has an edge more red fruit than most.  Delicate and dry.

Veuve Monsigny Champagne 2010, Aldi £19.99

The regular Monsigny at £12.49 is a bargain, but this vintage wine has layers more flavour, complexity and length and is well worth the extra.  Available in limited stores and online at aldi.co.uk

The Best English Sparkling Brut 2010, Morrisons down from £25 to £20 until 31 December

Made by an off-shoot company of a prize-winning English producer, this shows just how good English wine can be.  60% Chardonnay with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier adding their weight, this has been aged in bottle for over 7 years.  Tasty, toasty, and elegant.

Atmosphere Sparkling Provence 2017, Extra Brut Rosé, France, The Fizz Co. (0800 3134470) £21.99

Everyone loves Provence rosé wines and this one has bubbles too.  Made from the classic Grenache and Cinsault grapes of the region, this has gentle summer fruits and a distinct minerally finish.  The Fizz Co. is based in Wetherby and they have a terrific range, imported direct.  www.thefizzcompany.com

Champagne Gardet Brut Reserve, House of Townend (01482 638888) £27.99

Astonishing quality for the money, this comes from a small family-owned Champagne House and is Premier Cru quality although they don’t shout that on the label.  Made from equal amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier with 25% reserve wines, it has glorious, ripe fruit flavours, with balance, freshness and a dry finish.  Good enough for the main event.

Champagne Henriot Souverain Brut, NV, Roberts and Speight £28.99

The best price I have found for this top quality champagne, and it comes in a box so it makes a great present. It is a 50:50 blend of red and white grapes, with a high proportion of reserve wines, making it rounded, smooth, elegant and precise. Pure elegance in a glass.

Gosset Grande Reserve Champagne Brut, NV, Field and Fawcett £47.90

From the oldest wine producer in Champagne, this exceptional wine has toast, honey and white floral notes with almonds and a hint of spice. It is the perfect start to Christmas.

Gusborne Blanc de Blancs 2014, Kent, England, Harrogate Wine £52

English wine is really hitting all the right notes and this one in particular.  Hand selected Chardonnay grapes are fermented and aged, in the traditional bottle-fermented way, then aged for at least 42 months. The result is pure elegance, perfect for pre-lunch aperitifs.

About The Author

Christine Austin

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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