A year in a French vineyard - December 2018

Some of the fizzies that Jonathan keeps in his own wine cellar

Are cheaper bubble options any good? There are lower cost fizzy alternatives with plenty to offer says Jonathan Hesford

Last month I wrote about the way Champagne is made and what makes it special. This month I am going to talk about how those special things do make a difference to the taste and what alternative sparkling wines are on the market.

When I buy a bottle of Champagne, I am hoping for several things. Firstly, I want to be able to smell a sort of biscuity aroma mingled with creamy, delicate fruit. I then want the wine to have vibrant, refreshing acidity, for it to taste dry without being drying and for the bubbles to give it a fine mousse, rather than a powerful fizz.

The peculiar aroma of biscuits or cream crackers comes ...

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