Deck the Halls with Bubbly: The 10 Best Fizz of 2021
So the annual Christmas panic begins.
The tree has gone up, the menu has been decided, half the presents are in the bag – well, maybe a few anyway – and guests from near and far are preparing their descent on your table in just two weeks’ time. Or, better still, you are doing the descending.
Either way, you are wondering what on earth is the best wine to match your forthcoming feast of turkey, ham, seafood, pork and/or chicken.
Lots spring to mind: chardonnay for the turkey, chicken, crayfish and prawns; riesling or semillon for the baked white fish and oysters; pinot noir, grenache or rose for the ham and salmon and maybe a pinot gris or the white wine of the moment – chenin blanc – to go with the pork.
But if you want a sure-fire, jack-of-all-trades, goes-with-everything, can’t-go-wrong wine choice – then bring a sparkling. Seriously.
Sparkling wine pretty much has it all. It’s rich, creamy, mouthfilling and has a backbone of acid to keep you coming back for another refreshing sip. No wonder French chatelaine Lily Bollinger felt justified in uttering her famous quote about the best time to drink champagne: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty…”
But you don’t need to keep the French in the manner they’ve become accustomed to enjoy a top fizz this Christmas. In fact, you need only look as far as Tasmania.
Apple Isle bubblies not only dominate Australian wine shows they stand up pretty well against their European counterparts, too. Decanter Magazine – one of the world’s biggest wine competitions – last year named a well-known Tassie label as its top sparkling wine. Moreover its winemaker is the only non-champenois to have been honored at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships.
Best of all you’ll pay about 30-50 per cent less than a French label with an equivalent score. Our top ranked label sells for just $50. That compares with “entry level” champagne labels which typically sell for 10-15 per cent more at major retailers.
Australian wine shows have examined 920 sparkling wine exhibits so far this year. It is the largest collective assessment of the category anywhere in Australia and accounts for 560 different labels.
With only a handful of shows yet to come, we’re confident that our assessment of the top ten labels won’t change much. Tasmanian labels accounted for the top four places and six of the top 10.
No sparkling roses made it into our list but it does include one example of a sparkling red. Black bubbles are a unique Australian gift to the world wine scene and a traditional fixture at a Downunder Christmas feast. Enjoy it chilled and try it with the plum pud.
These are the top 10 sparkling wines as judged at Australian and NZ wine shows this year:
|1||Pirie Vintage Sparkling 2017|
|2||Bream Creek Cuvée Traditionelle Sparkling White 2015|
|3||Pirie NV Sparkling|
|4||Arras Blanc de Blancs Vintage Sparkling 2013|
|5||Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee Sparkling Chardonnay 2017|
|6||Arras Grand Vintage Sparkling 2013|
|7||De Bortoli Woodfired Sparkling Shiraz NV|
|8||Yarra Burn Vintage Yarra Valley Sparkling Brut 2017|
|9||Blue Pyrenees Vintage Brut Sparkling Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier 2019|
|10||Heemskerk Sparkling Chardonnay, Pinot Noir 2014|
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