Wine review

Champagne, Prosecco, Cremant and English Sparkling Wine

Christmas celebrations are now well behind us as we look forward to Springtime, Mothering Sunday, warmer afternoons and evenings spent in the garden perhaps with a Barbecue are surely on the horizon! So why not invest in a few bottles of Fizz to cheer ourselves up? 

All types of Sparkling Wines are OK by me! Any time, Any Place, Anywhere – so the headline goes! The sound of the POP is something we all love, but which one is your favourite and how do they differ….

Starting with Champagne – the classic French fizz that can only be called Champagne as it is grown and made there!

History tells us that it was the Monk and cellar master Dom Perignon who around 1670 was responsible in perfecting the making of the Champagne of the time with deft skills and great authority. Fast forward to the 21st Century and Champagne is still with us in all its glory. It has become the drink of Celebrations, Anniversaries, Formula 1 and Lottery Winners! The nowadays winemaking process has been perfected and honed creating a genuinely lovely wine with different styles and certainly offered at different prices! 

Affordable Champagne is also accessible – my long-time favourite being J M Gremillet NV Brut which is Pinot Noir dominant delivering a brilliant spice and fruit balance. Find via Christopher Piper Wines in Ottery St Mary or on-line Expect to pay around £27 for this lovely Champagne.

Prosecco is a Sparkling Wine made in Veneto and Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy. It is made with the grape Glera and takes its name from the village of Prosecco. Made in a completely different manner to Champagne, the fermented wine is placed in a large sealed vat after which yeast and sugar are added. It goes through a secondary fermentation in the temperature-controlled sealed vat (not like Champagne which is fermented in the bottle) until considered finished. It is then bottled under pressure encapsulating the famous fizz ready for market. In the past ten years or so, its great value and often sweetish or grapey note has proved a massive hit in world markets. Many samples are available in almost all licensed premises and can vary considerably. My current favourite is Bottega Il Vine Dei Poeli DOC Brut that is elaborated in the province of Treviso and can be found on the Internet at around £14.95 from Deliciously fruity with fine bubbles and a ripe rich fruit note, Serve chilled with lots of Cake or an Afternoon Tea!

Cremant is a Regional French Sparkling Wine of note. There are eight regions in France elaborating this kind of wine under strict regulations. Whilst being allowed to use their local grapes in production, it is made and aged just like the Champagne or Traditional Methods. The difference is in the aging of the wine on its lees (dead yeast cells adding complexity) whilst in the bottle – a minimum 9 months for Cremant and 12 months for Champagne. But it’s the value of Cremant that has ‘hit the spot’ for many lovers of quality sparkling wine as it can be purchased between £9 and £15. 


A currant favourite Cremant is Cremant du Jura from Aldi at just £8.49 made with 100% Chardonnay. Ripe apply notes with a persistent citrus-scented fizz! Great as an aperitif or with a Celebration Cake!

Last but by no-means least is English Sparkling Wine soon to be known as Great British Classic Method. Known as a quality or Boutique Sparkler it has gained plaudits over the past ten years as many new vineyards have been planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the two classic grapes used in most blends of Champagne. 

With greater knowledge and techniques the English and Welsh Sparkling Wines have been successfully elaborated and the finished produce are now included into many markets in the UK to great acclaim. Most of the wines are in the Brut (or dry) style and show elegant fruit-driven styles that please all Fizz lovers. 

When we are able to enjoy the haunts of Cornwall again head on down to Penzance and Polgoon where you can take a vineyard walk, wine tasting and winery visit. Their Polgoon Sparkling Pinot Noir 2016 is truly wonderful with its gentle mousse, spice and long-lasting finish. It’s also a wine with some age which creates a more mature style. Go to for more info and delivery charges.  £29.95 purchases this top wine.

So whatever your choice of Sparkling Wines there are plenty to choose from in the UK at Independent Wine Merchants, Farm Shops, Supermarkets and on-line. 

Stephen Barrett is a Wine, Food and Travel Writer based in Plymouth. Stephen welcomes correspondence via his website Or via Twitter and Instagram @bistrowineman   Facebook and LinkedIn as Stephen Barrett