Three of the best alternatives to Champagne
Party season is here, and if you’re preparing to host, you may be wondering what to serve your guests. While Champagne is always a winner, there are plenty of tasty alternatives that might be more budget-friendly, or a little bit different, for a big bash. Prosecco, South African Sparking Wine, and Tasmanian fizz, can all hit the spot nicely.
Delicate and with lemony hints, Prosecco is Italy's answer to Champagne. Traditionally served as an aperitif, Prosecco is wonderfully light and great with simple nibbles like nuts, or with Italian antipasti or bruscetta.
Made in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, from Glera grapes, Prosecco originally comes from a village called Prosecco near Trieste. Prosecco has a totally different taste to Champagne, partly due to the second fermentation taking place in steel tanks rather than in the bottle, which helps make it less expensive to produce.
Prosecco has been drunk since Roman times, but has become more popular since 2000 thanks to better production methods which have led to a dryer fizz. When checking bottle labels, note that Spumante is dryer, while Frizzante is a little sweeter.
Try: Prosecco Spumante Botter, £8.39. Fresh and light with notes of green apple and acacia, this wine has been made by the Botter family for over 100 years.
Méthode Cap Classique
Just as South Africa grows similar grapes to the Burgundy region of France (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), it can also make similar wines to the Champagne region. Known as Méthode Cap Classique, South African sparkling wine is made in a similar way to Champagne, with the best winemakers keeping bottles on lees for two to four years.
Try: Sparkling Cap Classique Pongracz, £14.95. Elegant and stylish, this full, fruity sparkler is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. It’s crisp apple tones and nutty finish make it perfect on its own, or with seafood or chicken dishes.
Tasmania's cool climate has made it a favourite with southern hemisphere wine makers in recent years. Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir are the same grapes used to make Champagne, so it's no surprise that Tasmania's best offerings prove a fine match for Champagne.
Secondary fermentation in the bottle, and an ageing on yeast lees for three years helps create a complex fizz. Created in 1986 in partnership with Louis Roederer, Jansz is Tasmania's first premium sparkling wine.
Try: Sparking Jansz Premium NV Cuvée Brut Rose, £15.95. Made in individual batches, with a hint of Turkish Delight and rose petals, this sparkling wine contains grapes from several vintages.
- Mathieu Dubourg