Categories
Virgin Bubbles

Miguel Torres Natureo 0.0

Bubbly’s take…

The Natureo is another, increasingly mainstream, de-alcoholised red wine. This one hails from Spain and is a blend produced from Garnacha and Syrah grapes. One thing we noticed is that the Natureo has a somewhat spicy and festival – think mulled wine – flavour. This sort of makes sense given the label mentions its matured in French oak (!).

We think the Miguel Torres winery has done a good job with this one. As virgin wines go, it is flavoursome, bringing a full spectrum of berry flavours to the palate. In other words and in contrast to other alcohol-free wines, it definitely does not greet you like a glass of bland grape juice. It has depth, with some smoky characteristics, likely a benefit of the combination of two grapes and barrel-based production.

Would go well with…

Red meats, pasta… lasagne anyone? Seriously though, we think the Natureo is suitable for most meals, particularly for mid-week evenings or a lighter weekend. It also pairs well with Netflix, Prime and Disney+, making for a great night in.

Where to buy…

Waitrose

Categories
Classy Crémants

Vouvray Domaine du Petit Coteau

Bubbly’s take…

This is a remarkable Crémant and testimony to the Champagne-matching qualities of this species of sparkling. It is a dry yet smooth wine that comes out of the bottle with an eager fizz. We would, perhaps, best describe this Crémant as ‘pleasantly sour’, with some undercurrents of lemon. In summary, we feel this multi-faceted Crémant is an excellent sparkling and also a meaningful substitute for Champagne.

Would go well with…

Well, we had this with a Turkish meze and it paired just fine. If you are thinking of something more traditional, then we think it would also go well with a cheese board.

Where to buy…

Nicolas

Categories
Timeless Champagnes

Carré-Perseval Champagne Brut

Bubbly’s take…

We think this Champagne is a real winner! We discovered this by happenstance one Friday night in Sainsbury’s. This wine comes out of the bottle with a lovely platinum shade, with a very slight hint of rosé. It is a three-grape variety made from Chardonnary, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. With a light yet floral bouquet, and rich in flavours of well-ripened apples, we found this Champagne to be very animated and easy to enjoy.

When appropriately chilled, the Carré-Perseval is sublime and we believe it would make an excellent (and also very well-priced) choice for summer garden parties! We were so surprised by the quality, versality and value this remarkable wine offers that we had to award it the Joker – a wildcard find!

Would go well with…

We enjoyed this Champagne with a vegetarian pizza but we think it would also make a very pleasing apéritif.

Where to buy…

Sainsbury’s

Categories
Other Surprising Specialties

Graham Beck Méthode Cap Classique Brut (South Africa)

Bubbly’s take…

This sparkling hails from South Africa and is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It is a reassuringly dry and strong wine, made not too far from Cape Town. Given we’re increasingly accustomed to (read: ‘spoilt by’) Champagnes and Crémants, the Graham Beck made a refreshing change and this wine is testimony to some of the contemporary rivals that can be found beyond the traditional wine-making regions. It looks great and comes out of the bottle with an excitable fizz hence we think this one would make an elegant and reasonably-priced party-pleaser.

Would go well with…

The Graham Beck is quite a robust wine with a big personality so we think it caters well to meals and nibbles with strong flavours. Cheeses, seafood and citrus-based dishes would make a good pairing with this sparkling.

Where to buy…

Majestic Wine

Categories
Classy Crémants

Château de Mauny Brut Crémant de Loire

Bubbly’s take…

This Crémant is rich in flavours of apple and pear. It is reassuringly dry but very refreshing when served chilled. The Château de Mauny is also very well-priced so we think this one makes a solid choice for both seasoned fans of Crémant or anyone curious in this excellent class of sparkling wine.

Would go well with…

We enjoyed this Crémant with a delicious blue cheese gnocchi; you can find the recipe here – it’s really quick and easy! As expected, the Château de Mauny provides a superb counterbalance to both sharp and savoury flavours.

Where to buy…

Oddbins

Categories
Timeless Champagnes

Baron Albert L’Universelle Brut Champagne

Bubbly’s take…

We loved this Champagne! This one comes from a relatively young and family-run vineyard, which cultivates a floroushing variety of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. We think they’ve made a classic. The Baron Albert comes out of the bottle with a pale and inviting shade. We feel this is a drier Champagne but with indulgent flavours of citrus fruits and apples. That said, this wine is certainly not too tart and it has some depth to it – even after the first flute, we found it blossomed with other characterful notes.

In our opinion, this Champagne is everything one comes to expect from a bottle of bubbles. It is clean, crisp and refreshing, it has dry and thought-provoking flavours, and it is free of any impure or bitter aftertaste. Being very reasonably priced, we feel the Baron Albert combines a superb ‘all-rounder’ Champagne with excellent value.

Would go well with…

We enjoyed this with home-made vegetarian pizza and we thought it made for a great pairing. We also had this with Pad Thai and vegetable tempura, and found it provided for a solid reconciliation of different sweet, spiced and savoury flavours.

Where to buy…

Le Bon Vin

Categories
Other Surprising Specialties

Bedin Prosecco Treviso (Italy)

Bubbly’s take…

This is a great mellow Prosecco. It has a nicely balanced flavour with plenty of depth but without the bitter after-taste that is occasionally reminiscent of Italian sparklings. This is a reliable and refreshing Prosecco that is vended from a well-established wine merchant.

Would go well with…

Home-made pizza!

Where to buy…

Tordoffs

Categories
Other Surprising Specialties

Castel Fagila Franciacorta (Italy)

Bubbly’s take…

This fire-cracker of a sparkling wine is a three-grape varietal that hails from a quaint commune in Lombardy, Italy. The Franciacorta blossoms with a vibrant flavour of apples and melon. But there is a depth to this one, with some tart and sharper notes. It also has a lovely fragrant aroma.

Would go well with…

We enjoyed the Franciacorta with breaded fish and chips, which we know isn’t a quintessential pairing… but it turned out to be a really nice meal. We also think this speaks to the versatility of this wine, being both robust and flexible.

Where to buy…

Tesco

Categories
Classy Crémants

Benjamin Darnault Vigneron’s Wife Crémant de Bourgogne (France)

Bubbly’s take…

We loved this Crémant! As you’ll see, the Vigneron’s Wife comes in a very classic bottle and pours with a buzzing froth. It is rich in flavours of apple and watermelon, and has a lovely tart bouquet. We think this Crémant would be a real party-pleaser at dinner parties. Delicious, sassy and punchy… what more could one want from a Crémant?

Would go well with…

So, we enjoyed this with dinner – cod served over jasmine rice – and the Vigneron’s Wife took centre stage. But we think this excellent Crémant is also sufficiently potent to pair with stronger dishes. (Also, goes well with a Friday evening and Disney+.)

Where to buy…

Naked Wines

Categories
Timeless Champagnes

Denis Chaput Champagne Mésogée Brut

Bubbly’s take…

This was a refreshing find. The Denis Chaput pours with a soft fizz. It is a remarkably wholesome sparkling, with a reassuringly dry taste. That being said, it’s certainly not a bitter wine and we found a remarkable flavour of fresh apples.

Would go well with…

This is a pleasant ‘go-to’ Champagne so we think it is a fairly flexible wine. However, we remember uncorking this with a takeaway and it held its own alongside a mild curry and vegetable pakora!

Where to buy…

Naked Wines