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Top sparkling wines for every budget

Wine

‘Tis the season for fizz, so The Forager asked three Adelaide wine experts to recommend some favourites – from delicious Australian bubbly that won’t break the bank to vibrant French Champagne.

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Liinaa Jaumdally, 2KW Bar and Restaurant

2KW sommelier Liinaa Jaumdally recommends two favourite South Australian sparklings made from 100 per cent Chardonnay and a Grower Champagne from the Côte des Blancs which is best served in a large wine glass.

Under $30

Mosquito Hill Blanc de Blancs 2016 (Methode Traditionnelle; 100 per cent Chardonnay from 1.6ha, dry grown in the Southern Fleurieu): Low yields, good concentration and an absolute bargain for the price. The mousse is fine and the wine itself is such a pleasure to drink over lunch. It’s spent one year on lees, one year in bottle before release, and has subtle spice and brioche characters. Winemaker Glyn Jamieson is a great friend and also one of my mentors when it comes to blind tasting.

Under $70

Daosa Sparkling Blanc de Blancs 2012 (Methode Traditionnelle; 100 per cent Chardonnay, grown high on Mount Bonython in the Adelaide Hills): This vineyard was planted by winemaker Xavier Bizot’s father, Christian, who managed Bollinger for 30 years. The wine spends on average 51 months on lees, including eight months in barrel and 43 months in bottle. It’s very precise and so elegant. The nose is pure and evokes the freshness of a cool breeze in the orchards – I really like this. The long time elevage [the progression between fermentation and bottling] provides a round waxy mouthfeel but it’s sustained by a great acid line.

Under $100

Larmandier Bernier Blanc de Blancs NV ‘Longitude’ Extra Brut: This Premier Cru Champagne is about minerality and raciness. A more linear style, it is crystalline and vibrant. It’s made from 100 per cent Chardonnay from several vineyards in the Côte des Blancs sub-region of Champagne. The Larmandier Bernier Blanc de Blancs is a Grower Champagne made by a grower dedicated to working with chardonnay; all his wines have a lot of tension and energy and I recommend serving them in larger wine glasses, not flutes! Bottle maturation takes place quietly over a period of more than two years, and each bottle is disgorged manually six months before being released and dosed with a very low 3-4 grams per litre.

Michael Andrewartha, East End Cellars

Michael Andrewartha with one of his favourite Hills wines. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

East End Cellars owner Michael Andrewartha has chosen to nominate three wines from the Adelaide Hills, a region he says “has really stepped up its game when it comes to sparkling wines, fulfilling the promise they pushed for back in the ’80s and ’90s when Brian Croser planted a vineyard in the Piccadilly Valley destined for sparkling wine”.

“After a long streak of Pinot Noir being king, we’re seeing a whole range of sparklings being produced, oscillating from the cheap and cheerful, to something that rivals Champagne for a spot on wine lists around the country,” he says.

Under $30

2018 Howard Vineyard ‘Clover’ Pinot Noir Chardonnay: An estate-grown vineyard up in Lobethal provides the goods here. It’s copper in colour compared to the usual bright pink that a “blush style” provides, with a burst of red berries, strawberries, apple and zesty lemon. The palate comes in fast with a soft generosity only to be tidied up with some crisp acidity. A tidy little wine!

Under $70

 NV Daosa Natural Reserve: Daosa’s newest cuvee and one that we think could be its best to date. Using 15 per cent reserve wine (hence the name) gives this phenomenal Piccadilly Valley drop the complexity and depth that sees it surge ahead of many other Adelaide Hills sparklings. Pears, apples and baking spices dominate the nose, while the fine bead, reminiscent of the finest Champagne, and driving acidity shape this up as being one of South Australia’s best value-for-money drops.

 Under $100

 2012 Deviation Road ‘Beltana’ Blanc de Blancs: Kate and Hamish Laurie have shaped Deviation Road into one of the finest addresses in the country for sparkling wine. They have crafted a stable of stellar sparklings which all possess a unique personality. The Beltana is a Blanc de Blancs, a wine made from 100 per cent Chardonnay, providing all the hallmarks we look for in sparkling: green apples, lemon curd, some cashews and the most important part – some serious driving acidity through the middle of the palate. This is one of the best sparklings Australia has to offer.

James Boden, National Wine Centre

James Boden in the National Wine Centre’s Wined Bar. Photo: Tony Lewis

Another fan of Deviation Road is National Wine Centre wine co-ordinator James Boden, who recommends its Southcote Blanc de Noirs as his mid-price favourite among three sparkling recommendations that will see you through every aspect of the festive celebrations.

 Under $30

 NV Philip Shaw ‘The Edinburgh’ Sparkling Chardonnay/ Pinot Noir (Orange, NSW): I am always on the lookout for the classic Australian sparkling and this is a fine example from a winery that is showing the rest of Australia that Orange can produce some of the best. The Edinburgh is a fuller-flavoured sparkling with classic strawberry notes from the Pinot Noir and citrus fruit from the Chardonnay. Apart from the different label (pictured right), this wine is a perfect for any lover of sparkling wine and will pair well with prawns or even with croissants for those who start Christmas Day nice and early with breakfast and sparkling.

Under $70

2016 Deviation Road Southcote Blanc de Noirs (Adelaide Hills): I’m a big fan of Deviation Road and its sparkling wines are a necessity for any Australian Christmas. This is the first release of 100 per cent Pinot Noir Sparkling from owners and winemakers Kate and Hamish Laurie. It has a little bit more weight and texture, with vibrant red apple notes, sour cherries and a touch of baking spice. It’s complex enough to complement any aspect of an Aussie Christmas lunch, especially the roast – and will also be good to have in hand during any heated discussion across the table!

Under $100

Bereche et Fils Brut Reserve Champagne (France): One of my favourite Grower Champagnes, which are often under-rated but well worth the precious fridge space required on Christmas Day. Bereche has great concentration of fruit with a persistent red apple note, lovely creamy bead and a touch of brioche-like finish. This is for the champagne lovers who want to try something new and works well with any Christmas dish.

 

 

 

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