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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