Bubbles ain't just bubbles. Sparkling wines are wonderfully diverse in style, flavour and application. Some are aperitif wines, meaning they are served before a meal as an appetite stimulant. Food wines are mostly richer and fuller-bodied, although the weight of the wine and food should be matched. Delicate sparkling goes with subtle foods such as oysters or raw fish. The riesling below would be a good pre-dinner sipper, and its rarity makes it a conversation starter. The Cannibal Creek would suit oysters or sashimi and the Charles Heidsieck rosé calls for heartier food, such as a whole oven-baked salmon, or even poultry.
Four Winds Vineyard Sparkling Riesling 2019, Canberra District, $27
This isn't the first vintage of this rare sparkling riesling that's impressed. It's essentially a simple, young, fragrant wine energised by copious bubbles. It's deliciously appetising and a real alternative. Its shape is full, round and soft, rich but dry through the middle and finish. Crown seal; 11.1 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Best within five years.
Stockists include Tom's Cellars, West Pymble & North Turramurra (NSW); Village Vineyard, Fitzroy North (Vic).
Cannibal Creek Sparkling Blanc de Blancs 2016, Gippsland, $38
Made from pure chardonnay, this is a fine aperitif style with a delicate, crisply focused palate, which is intense, penetrating and stimulates the appetite. It also features attractive meringue-like aromas and a lively bead. Diam; 11 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Drink now to five years.
Stockists include City Wine Shop, Melbourne (Vic); Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop (NSW).
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Reserve NV, Champagne, $160
With a light rose-gold colour and a super-complex toasty, truffley bouquet, this mellow classic has wonderful richness and softness, with a fluffy texture and a trace of sweetness adding to its more-ishness. It has great flavour and character. This bottle was tiraged in 2013, and disgorged in 2017. Diam; 12 per cent alcohol.
Ageing? Best within three years.
Stockists include Moncur Cellars, Woollahra (NSW); City Wine Shop, Melbourne (Vic).