Cheaper bubbles: Three non-vintage sparkling wines to try

These days, there's usually a gold medal or two handed out to non-vintage sparkling wines.
These days, there's usually a gold medal or two handed out to non-vintage sparkling wines. Photo: Shutterstock

Non-vintage sparkling wine has a second-rate image, because it tends to be cheaper and younger than vintage wine. But, as the 2019 Tasmanian Wine Show results confirmed, it need not be young, simple or uninteresting. In fact, good non-vintage tends to either have some older "reserve" wine in the blend, which adds depth of character, or it can actually be a vintage wine in disguise – often with a bit of extra age. Having judged at this show for over 25 years, I've watched the quality of these wines rise year by year. These days, there's usually a gold medal or two handed out.

Stefano Lubiana Brut Reserve NV $38

Score 95

This year's Tasmanian Wine Show trophy winner has iced pastry aromas, and some bread and brioche notes. The palate quite rich, full and rounded, its richness is enhanced by a well-judged touch of sweetness. Cork; 12.5 per cent alcohol

Ageing? No, it's ready to drink.

Stockists include Blackhearts & Sparrows (Vic); The Oak Barrel (NSW).

Arras Brut Elite Cuvee C1401 NV $53

Score 95

Light yellow colour; aromas of iced pastries, fresh and clean, with creamy, meringue notes. The wine is light and crisp, intense and clean, really bright and appetising. A firm touch of grip to finish. Cork, 12 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? No, it's ready to drink.

Stockists include Kemeny's, Bondi (NSW); Nillumbik Cellars, Diamond Creek (Vic.)

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Freycinet Radenti R3 Sparkling NV $68 ($55 cellar door)

Score 91

Light, bright yellow with a lemony, creamy chardonnay-driven aroma. Iced pastries and a little nougat. It's fresh young and straightforward, and has a notable liqueur sweetness to counter high acidity. It has plenty of character. Cork; 12.5 per cent alcohol.

Ageing? No, it's ready to drink.

Stockists include City Wine Shop, Melbourne (Vic); Five Way Cellars, Paddington (NSW).