Jean Smullen reviews 2018 Allini Prosecco Frizzante, NV Comte de Senneval Brut Champagne and 2018 Lidl Winemakers Selection Shiraz
With Christmas just around the corner, time to look at a few party wines. Every party needs some Fizz, so first up we have a great Prosecco Frizzante which will appeal to everyone. For something a little more serious we have a Champagne that it wowing all the wine critics at the moment. Finally, the cold nights are drawing in and mid-winter is approaching, why not enjoy a glass of warming South African Shiraz paired with dark chocolate, the ultimate in decadence!
2018 Allini Prosecco Frizzante €7.99
Stockists: Lidl, Nationwide
Prosecco is a light fresh sparkling wine, low in alcohol and intensely aromatic (this one has 10.5%ABV). The DOC is for a dry white wine labelled Tranquille (still), or for the sparkling wines labelled either Gentile or Frizzante (slightly sparkling) or Spumante (fully sparkling).
The driest wines are labelled brut, and the sweeter ones "extra dry". Prosecco is best-drunk young and should be served well chilled. The wine is made sparkling using the cuve close (or tank) method whereby the second fermentation takes place in a large tank prior to filtration and bottling under pressure.
The DOC applies to the region, which runs 33km from the town of Cogliano to the picturesque village of Valdiobbiadene in the Treviso province of Veneto.
Prosecco as a wine style, first became popular in the 1970's in Germany, a country with a long tradition of sparkling wine consumption. During the recession years of the last decade or so the popularity of Prosecco then spread and today there is boom market for Prosecco
As sparkling wine style Prosecco is a price effective traditional sparkling wine style, the Allini Prosecco Frizzante offers great value at this price and has all the key elements to look for from this wine style. Lovely pear drop aromas and red apple flavours and a light sparkle to add a bit of fun.
For those who love serving cocktails at Christmas time here are a few Prosecco cocktails worth trying. The Bellini, a distinctive cocktail made from a frothy combination of white peach juice and Prosecco first invented in 1930's by the legendary Guiseppe Cipriani, founder of the word renowned Harry's Bar and named for the Italian artist Giovanni Bellini. If you haven't had Prosecco as an "ombretta" (evening cocktail) you haven't really experienced Venice!
Unfortunately, in December peaches are out of season so why not try a Mimosa, a blend of Prosecco with freshly squeezed orange juice, which is readily available. Or you could make a Rossini, a blend of Prosecco made from strawberry puree, a sublime taste of summer on a dark winter's evening.
NV Comte de Senneval Brut Champagne €19.99
Stockists: Lidl, Nationwide
Champagne is a small region north-east of Paris in the valley of the Marne. It has a continental climate so some years the grapes struggle to ripen. The climate and limestone soil contribute to the production of the high acidity in the grapes which is the key to Champagne’s unique style. .
Most Champagnes are made from a blend of either two or all three grape varieties, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier. The Chalky soils in the Champagne region are also unique. The Romans built cold, deep chalky cellars, which are now used to age Champagne once it has been bottled which is the key to its quality.
Champagne is produced by creating a second fermentation in the bottle (Method Champenoise) of a still wine made with a natural high acidity. The wine is bottled and some extra yeast and sugar (dosage) is added to the bottle which is sealed and stored. A second fermentation starts taking place within the bottle. It is this second fermentation which gives the wine it's sparkle (carbon dioxide) and produces six atmospheres of pressure.
The yeast sediment is eventually moved to the neck of the bottle through remuage (riddling) wither manually or by machine (gyro palette). The yeast sediment is finally removed by disgorgement - the popping of the crown cork to release the yeast in the neck of the bottle. The final product is then sealed with a special three-layered cork held down by wire muselet. Over 75% of champagne produced is non-vintage.
Brut is the driest style, moving on to Extra Brut, Sec, Demi Sec and Doux (the sweetest).
The Lidl Champagne is a classic style, it has LOTS of brioche (yeasty) aromas on the nose which is typical of the region’s style. The development follows through onto the palate, but the wine is fresh with a lovely fresh acidity, crisp and bone dry, this is a particular style of Champagne that I personally love, which I would expect to find in the more expensive versions. Very well made, this is a real find and offers amazing value.
2018 Lidl Winemakers Selection Shiraz €8.99
Stockists: Lidl, Nationwide
The modern South African wine industry began just over 20 years ago when Mandela walked to freedom. Fast forward to the present day and much has changed in terms of where South Africa is now positioned. South Africa is now the eight most popular country of origin on the Irish market. The country’s appeal has been its ability to produce everything from good entry level wine to top quality wines.
At the moment, South Africa is punching way above its weight in terms of its price/quality ratio. Their wines are being sold at a very competitive price and South Africa offers enormous value for money. The door is also now opening for a new generation of South African producers who are fast establishing themselves; these millennials are making superb quality wines from emerging regions such as Swartland.
Swartland is the new kid on the block. Uber cool, this emerging wine region is where many of the younger generation are sourcing their fruit. No longer tied to the old rules, they are buying from existing growers in the area and creating some fantastic new wines and wine styles. They are using old bush vines and virus free plant stock to make magnificent “new style” South African wine from varietals such as Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault. This is where South Africa is finding its mojo and most important of all, this is where there are HUGE opportunities to embrace South African wine.
South Africa is the world’s seventh largest wine producer; they export their wines to over 140 countries. The quality vineyards of South Africa are widely dispersed through the Western and Northern Cape strung between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The climate is Mediterranean which gives long hot summers from November to May moderated by cold, wet, blustery winters.
This Fairtrade Wine comes from Swartland, and features the Syrah grape. This wine has a nice edge to it, not quite “new world” in style it has lovely pure blackcurrant fruit and that lovely hint of peppery spiciness, that is associated with the Syrah grape. It really offers great value and at this time of year is a great wine to serve with slow cooked stew. For a lazy indulgent treat, enjoy this with the with the Lidl JD Premium Dark Chocolate priced €1.75.. sheer heaven!
Wine Diary https://jeansmullen.com/
NEW ZEALAND IN A GLASS- DUBLIN 2020 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Monday 13th January, 2019 Venue: Radisson Blu, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.
Don’t miss one of the most popular events of the year the New Zealand Wine Fair consumer tasting. Start your year by getting to know more about these wonderful wines from the Southern Hemisphere. Participating wineries for the 2020 New Zealand Winegrowers annual tasting include:
Babich Wines; Brancott Estate; Felton Road; Hãhã Wine Company Ltd; Hunter's Wines; Lawson's Dry Hills; Nautilus Estate; Oyster Bay New Zealand; Pegasus Bay Winery; Rimapere Wines Partnership; Sacred Hill; Spy Valley Wines; Villa Maria Estate, Wither Hills and Yealands Wines
The themed tables this year will highlight Unexpected NZ and Rose
Tickets are now on sale priced at €20.00. A great idea as a Christmas stocking filler for the wine enthusiast in your life. To purchase a ticket, CLICK HERE