Languedoc-Roussillon wine expert, Decanter World Wine Awards judge and Wright Wine Company wine geek, Gemma Crangle, uses her vast wine knowledge to inspire your new favourite summer tipple.
We love wine. It’s as simple as that. Since joining the WWC team, I’ve been able to immerse myself (not quite literally) into the product range and really get to know what’s on the shelves in various different rooms. We can (and do) spend hours discussing wine, tasting it (of course) and debating what’s great and why.
We also love trying new wines – new suppliers, new processes and so on. It’s great to discover a new taste and have something really make set your taste-buds feel alive. Yes, we all have our favourites – but tasting wine (and whisky, and gin…) is a continual journey of discovery.
Because of this, we collectively have a plethora of suggestions to suit all palates and occasions. So, each week over the coming months, we’ll be exploring and suggesting alternatives to the safe old favourites.
With summer approaching, or at least trying to, I wanted to take a look at some different wines for you to consider and tempt you away from the usual suspects…
Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Picpoul de Pinet (notice an alphabetical theme here?) and New Zealand Sauvignon certainly have their place and popularity – but if you’re seeking something new, funky, exciting, unusual or just a bit different to tantalise your taste buds over the summer months, then look no further.
Part one: If you fancy a break from Prosecco, try;
Crémant wines from France are, in my opinion, some of the best alternatives to Prosecco at a similar price point. Unlike Prosecco, which uses the tank method for production, Crémants are produced using the Champagne or traditional method which involves a secondary fermentation in bottle thereby adding complexity and some ageing. Grape varieties vary depending on the region – each region in France produces its own crémant – but Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir are very often permitted, as in Champagne.
Crémant has the complexity of Champagne at a fraction of the price as well as regional identity and the “all too easy to drink” fun factor of Prosecco. So it’s a party fizz and sophisticated sparkling in one bottle…..why wouldn’t you give it a pop?
We strongly recommend the following wines for quality as well as value for money and predict that Crémants will soon be the next big fizz….
- Crémant d’Alsace, Joseph Cattin (practising Organic) 12.5% – £15.90
- Crémant de Limoux Rosé, Émotion, Maison Antech 2015 12.0% – £16.00
(Have you noticed that rosé Proseccos are impossible to find? This is because only white grape varieties are permitted in Prosecco production. Red varieties are, however, permitted in the production of crémants hence the existence of Crémants rosés).
- Crémant de Limoux, Brut, Cuvée Eugénie, Maison Antech 2015 12.5% – £16.00
- Crémant de Bourgogne, Domaine Marc Jambon 12.5% – £16.50
- Crémant de Loire, Brut, Langlois-Chateau 12.0% – £16.50
- Crémant de Jura, Brut, Château de Béthanie N.V. 12.5% – £19.50
- Crémant de Loire, “Brut Nature”, Château Bois-Brinçon, ORGANIC 2015/16 12.0% – £22.00
For years now Cava has been losing its market share to Prosecco, it is perceived as cheap but perhaps not as cheerful as Prosecco. It could, however, be argued that Cava is severely underrated and that a good vineyard can produce an excellent Cava with truly unique sense of terroir/regional style. Indeed in 2017 the classification Paraje Calificado was introduced for single vineyard Cavas of superior quality.
The majority produced in Penedès to the south of Barcelona and usually from a blend of Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo, Cava is, like Crémant, more akin to Champagne than Prosecco in style as it too is produced using the traditional method as opposed to the tank method used in Prosecco. The aged wines can have a delightful creaminess and autolytic character with delicious nutty complexity. The good news is that the price point of many Cavas is more in line with that of Prosecco than Champagne so it’s a win-win situation.
We suggest you give Cava another try if you haven’t done for a while.
- Cava, Brut, Marquis de Lares 12.5% – £9.10
- Topacio, Brut, Castellblanch, Cava, M.T. 11.5% – £10.75
- Raventós I Blanc, L’Hereu, Penedès, ORGANIC 2016 12.0% – £22.00
- Colet, Navazos, Reserva Extra Brut, Penedès 2012/13 12.0% – £33.00
Franciacorta is one of Italy’s best kept secrets. Often described as Italy’s answer to Champagne this sparkling wine has been kept well under the radar.
Like Cava and Crémant, Franciacorta is produced using the traditional method; it is produced in the Lombardy region in central north Italy where Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are permitted grape varieties as well as Pinot Blanc.
We think this Franciacorta will take you on a sparkling adventure from which you may never return….
- Franciacorta, Ferghettina Brut 12.0% – £21.50
So there you have it. Impress your friends with this new-found knowledge and wine selection and let us know what you think of these wines.
Also, don’t forget to join us instore on 27th July where we will have a free tasting of summer wines – ideal for picnics and BBQ’s. For more info, click here: http://wineandwhisky.co.uk/tasting-events