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Six top sparkling wines for spring


Sommelier James Boden recommends six vibrant sparkling wines from Australia and France to whet your appetite ahead of this month’s Champagne Fest at the National Wine Centre.

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Spring is here and for some people it means the smell of jasmine and roses in bloom, for others it means clearing out unused treadmills and, for a growing crowd of sparkling lovers, it means coming out of hibernation for the National Wine Centre’s annual Champagne Fest.

This year is my second crack at putting together a list of local gems, interstate and overseas fizz and, of course, a solid mix of well-known and lesser-known French Champagnes.

With more than 50 wineries involved and more than 80 wines to choose from, there’s a selection to whet everyone’s appetite.

My must-tries include:

NV Grey-Smith Blanc De Blancs Original, Mount Gambier, SA (RRP $45)

Ulrich Grey-Smith is based in the Coonawarra and is one of the amazing winemakers shining a different light on both that region and Mount Gambier. Few people think of Mount Gambier as a wine region but this will change that perception. A 100 per cent Chardonnay Sparkling wine which has white floral and citrus notes, attractive bead and fresh acidity to finish, it’s one to start on with a few oysters.

2014 Anderson & Marsh ‘Catani’ Blanc de Blancs, Alpine Valleys, VIC (RRP $65)

This is the first release from two female winemakers in the Alpine Valleys – Jo Marsh (Billy Button) and Eleana Anderson (Mayford Wines). Those who have been to Bright in the region’s Ovens Valley would know that it is cold … very cold. This is a great example of a lively, dry and vibrant sparkling wine that showcases what this cool climate can do.

2019 Torzi Matthews ‘Vigna Cantina’ Prosecco, Barossa, SA (RRP $28)

Domenic Torzi is well known for his olives and olive oil, and beside that sits his amazing range of wine. This Prosecco, for which demand outstrips supply, is a great example of local Prosecco, with crisp green apple, lime and floral notes.

NV Pierre Peters Cuvée de Réserve, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, France (RRP $95)

Rodolphe Péters is one of the most well-regarded grower Champagne producers around. His Blanc de Blancs is a complex example with lots of nutty and stonefruit notes and a typical saline finish. For the price, this is one of my go-to Champagnes and I recommend it to those wanting to try a smaller producer.

NV Domaine La Rogerie La Grand Vie Blanc de Blanc Avize, France (RRP $160)

The husband and wife team behind this Blanc de Blanc are making some outstanding Champagne but on a tiny scale. Only 498 bottles of this wine were produced and we have been lucky enough to get hold of six bottles for Champagne Fest, so it offers a chance to try something rare. It’s another exciting example of Blanc de Blanc.

NV Laurent Perrier Brut Cuvée Rosé, Tours-Sur-Marne, France (RRP $130)

To finish with, I would go with one of the most well-known Sparkling Rosé Champagnes in the world. This is a classic from 100 per cent Pinot Noir – it’s bright with summer berries and dark cherry and will cap off the day perfectly.

The National Wine Centre’s 2019 Champagne Fest is on Sunday, October 27, from 11am-5pm.

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