Christmas should definitely sparkle.
Well, it’s cliché to say, but I really can’t believe we are just around the corner from Christmas! With the season comes the added celebrations and the undeniably crowd-pleasing sound of corks popping left, right and centre.
There’s probably no more iconic wine to go with celebrations than sparkling, whether from the Cote’s de Blanc in Champagne, France itself or the Adelaide Hills, Tasmania or any number of excellent Australian regions. It’s like tomato and basil, bacon and eggs, and a bbq and sausages... they just go to together.
In Australia, of course, we now must classify ours as sparkling wine not Champagne and rightly so;
no one does it better than the French and no where in the world is more synonymous with a singular production of wine style. Indeed, the French have been producing Champagne by Benedictine Monks since around 1531, however it wasn’t until a certain monk named Dom Perignon made significant advances in the production of champagne via the Methode Traditionelle style, that things really started along the path to bubbly greatness. Methode Traditionelle is the term given to the method of production where the wine is fermented in the bottle which produces the fine bubble and moussey texture so loved by Champagne connoisseurs the world over. In France there are actually scientists dedicated to refining the ability to get the bubbles in Champagne as fine as possible. And I thought my job was fun!
Ok, so yes, the French are excellent at it and yes, there is something special about drinking a beautiful refined glass of French Champagne with all it’s toasty brioche and green apple flavours and a mouth feel that just seems to melt in your mouth…………………. Sorry, just had to stop and actually pour a glass- I talked myself into it ha! Now where was I? Ah yes, the French are good but how does the Aussie stuff stack up? Pretty good, actually with a small number of local producers practising Methode Traditionelle here in OZ. Out of the Pyrenees in Victoria, Blue Pyrenees still produce their Midnight Cuvee the same way they do in France, in fact they are so dedicated to the production they actually pick their grapes at night for the wine so as to maintain as much fruit purity as possible.
So where does this leave us on what to drink this Christmas? Well, as always drink what you love (responsibly of course) and with those you love, but if I can leave you with this little piece of wisdom, possibly like no other varietal (outside Pinot Noir) you do get what you pay for in Sparkling and to begin and end on a cliché life is too short to drink average wine!!