The low down on fizz is that, yes, there are occasions that call for bubbly without the price-tag of champagne. Thankfully, it’s easy to stock your fridges with high quality sparkling from Australia and abroad.
Given Barcelona’s heady reputation for late-night gastronomic adventure, it’s fitting that Catalunya is the epicentre of Cava. This savoury sparkling traverses all food, at all hours. Venetian Prosecco ranges from frivolous simplicity sloshed into spritz, to stunning, steep, single-vineyard numbers. Frizzante Moscato, with its spring perfume, is slightly sweet and slightly sparkling. So accidentally cool, so perfect for a breakfast charge and a plate of seasonal fruit.
The Franciacorta wines of Lombardy’s south-facing sub-alpine slopes, rival the ambitions of Champagne’s best. Further downhill in the fertile food bowl of Emilia-Romagna, chilled authentic Lambrusco, with its light, juicy red cherry fruit is a sheer unbridled joy!
Outside of its Champagne contributions, France turns out many other stunning alternatives. Regional Crémant is clockwork reliable, using the best high acid local grapes to fashion traditional method sparkling. Grabbing all the attention these days is the rustic, cloudy, farmhouse fizz made by the méthode ancestrale, better known as pét-nat.
Looking Down Under, it’s easy to neglect that we have a quality sparkling winemaking tradition stretching back over a century. Sparkling reds from plush shiraz are sentimental Christmas faves, whether out of Rutherglen, McLaren Vale or the Barossa. Crisp, white bottle-fermented blends may have originated in the historic drives carved out in Great Western, but the best now come from across Victoria’s high country, Tasmania’s cool southern exposures and the Adelaide Hills.
German and Austrian sekt appear on occasion and don’t forget Little Britain’s next big thing. English fizz, made in England. The champenoise scouts are in on in it and the best truly are world class.