What is it about bubbles? Sparkling wines are in a league of their own. They fascinate, they enchant, they seduce. Bubbly wines have special appeal, whereas flat wines are, well, flat!
There are people who only drink sparkling wine. For them, every day's a party.
Is it just that the carbon dioxide gets the alcohol into the bloodstream more quickly? Or is it the festive sound of a cork popping out of a pressurised bottle? That unmistakeable sound always seems to signal a celebration.
Sparkling wine comes in many guises and suits many occasions. Champagne can be expensive but there's some very good value in local bubblies.
Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs NV, Champagne, $100
This is a new wine from a venerable Champagne house, made from 100 per cent chardonnay and aged longer than the other Lanson non-vintage wines.
It has a light-medium straw-yellow colour and a complex bouquet with a lot of nutty aldehydes plus dried-flower and dried-fruit aromas including dried apple, while the palate has tremendous attack, with bright acidity and penetrating citrus and almond/nougat flavours. Concentrated and driving, it lasts long on the palate, its cleansing dry finish enlivened by typically high acidity. A great food wine. Cork; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Best drinking within five years.
Stockists Dan Murphy's stores including South Melbourne, The District and Richmond (Vic); Double Bay, Alexandria, Kingsford, Wolli Creek and Hurstville (NSW).
Chandon Blanc de Blancs NV, $25
The Chandon packaging has been revamped, with a striking strip-label which links the neck and main labels. The wines are shy on detail about grape growing regions but the quality is reliably high and good value.
The colour is a light yellow-green and the aroma is fresh and straightforward, fruit driven and bright with herbal touches, while the taste is fruity and very attractive, not complex, but with a clean finish and good balance contributing to its spot-on drinkability. It's quite delicious and great value. Diam; 12.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Best drunk young.
Food Almond bread.
Stockists Vintage Cellars stores $29; Yarra Valley cellar door $25
Chalmers Montevecchio Moscato Frizzante 2020, Heathcote, $24
Australian moscato is a lightly fizzy, slightly sweet, low-alcohol wine that can be made using any of 13 grape varieties, which all share a distinctive muscat aroma.
Made 100 per cent from moscato giallo, this has a very light, almost pale colour, with a powerfully grapey varietal muscat fragrance, brilliantly intense, clean and fresh. The palate is rich and intense, again with powerful muscat fruit flavour balanced by measured sweetness and finishing with lovely balance. A deliciously more-ish, quaffable wine. Screw-cap; 5.5 per cent alcohol.
Ageing Best within three years.
Stockists The Melbourne Wine Store (Vic); Annandale Cellars (NSW)