Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Best of the Bubblies

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Best of the Bubblies

Article excerpt

Byline: andrew campbell ON WINE

IT'S that time of year again. Time to unwrap the presents, time to party, and time to toast the year to come. And in time-honoured tradition millions of us will do it with a glass of fizz.

But the choice has never been greater; from Champagne to cava and prosecco to a multitude of bubblies from Europe and across the world. The price range is just as vast from a few pounds to a small fortune.

So what's topping the value charts and what's to be avoided? After weeks of exhaustive tasting (well someone's got to do it), here's your guide to festive fizz which, with thousands of different brands out there, is anything but definitive.

First up are my top two buys: Marks and Spencer's Abel Charlot Champagne Brut NV and Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne Brut. The Abel Charlot is reduced to a half-price PS16 until January 1 and is crafted in a super-rich creamy style from the three classic Champagne grapes, chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. It offers aromas of brioche and vanilla leading to lemon shortbread flavours with a touch of nutty spice and an impressive long finish.

Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne Brut doesn't quite match the former for flavour but certainly equals it for value - coming in at an incredible PS10.39 a bottle until December 31 when buying three or more Finest wines.

Well-balanced, it offers citrus and apple flavours with hints of toast and brioche.

Tesco's Champagne de Vallois is elegant and creamy with a citrus twist and is decent value at PS20.99.

World famous Champagne house Louis Roederer produces the pop stars' favourite Cristal Champagne but also delivers some excellent alternatives at a fraction of the price. Enter Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV reduced by a tenner to PS31 in Oddbins. This may be their entry level bubbly but it's still beautifully crafted from the three Champagne grapes sourced from more than 40 vineyards.

It's packed with yeasty flavour, lemon and brioche and is wonderfully balanced. It's not the cheapest but Roederers never are.

Aldi is offering two Champagnes under their Veuve Monsigny label, made by acclaimed Champagne house Philizot. …

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