A toast to 2018 - there's a bottle of bubbles to suit everyone this New Year's Eve
From supermarket finds to connoissuers' choices, there's a bottle of bubbles to suit everyone this New Year's Eve
If you love Champagne, like I do, you may feel just a petit pang of envy when you hear that in Epernay, the Champagne capital, it is the everyday drink. And it won't be the same bottle every day. With over 5,000 producers in Champagne, there really is a Champagne for every occasion.
Wherever there's good wine in France, you'll find good food and chateaux. If you intend staying in style in this romantic part of the world, the Relais & Chateau guidebook is worth checking out.
In Reims you'll find the famous Les Crayères, a handsome chateau in 17 acres of grounds with a two Michelin star restaurant; while in Epernay, there's Hostellerie La Briqueterie, where I stayed for a brief visit just after the harvest in September. With a one Michelin star restaurant, and a wine list which includes 120 different Champagne houses, you can get a sense of the different styles of Champagne from large and small producers.
Why not toast in the new year with a lovely Champagne, and if Prosecco is your favourite tipple, I've got two great recommendations for that, too.
Krug Grande Cuvee,
€196.99, 12pc, from O'Brien's, 64 Wines, On the Grapevine, Corkscrew, Celtic Whiskey Shop, Jus de Vine, and siyps.com
For serious celebrations, this exquisite Champagne is beguilingly complex, with rich flavours of apple, white flowers and brioche, lined with a toasted note of oak.
Organic Prosecco Viticoltori,
€14.99 on sale December 27, 11pc, from Lidl
Just in time for New Year's Eve, Lidl's limited edition organic Prosecco is full of lively peach and pear flavours with a clean, fresh palate.
Monsigny Brut NV,
€19.99, 12pc, from Aldi
Made predominantly from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the fresh apple and citrus flavours have a note of buttery complexity. Great value.
Tesco Finest, Premier Cru Champagne,
€35, 12.5pc, from Tesco
Aged for up to 36 months on its lees, this vegan-friendly Champagne from top-rated Premier and Grand Cru vineyards over-delivers for the money, with a classic brioche character layered with baked apples.
Bollinger Special Cuvee
€55, reduced from €64, 12pc, from O'Briens at the promotional price, and all good independent off-licences (at rrp €65)
A Bolly bargain buy, New Year's Eve is the perfect time to treat yourself to this ab fab fizz with its wonderful, toasty complexity. O'Briens also have Taittinger for €39.95 reduced from €62.
Pol Roger Champagne Réserve Brut, Magnum,
€120, 12.5pc, from Marks & Spencer
A giant-sized bottle to share with friends, the Brut Réserve is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier which is aged for four years, bringing complexity, balance and elegance.
Ca'di Pietra Prosecco DOC Magnum,
€21.99, 11pc, from Aldi
For a bit of drama, pop open this Magnum of Prosecco which is soft yet zingy with apple, pear and a touch of lemon sherbet on the palate.
Brimoncourt Brut Régence,
€50, 12.5pc, from boutiquewines.ie
A really classy Champagne from Ay, this Chardonnay-driven bottle of bubbles has delicate aromas of baked apple and a layered palate of apple, lemon and light bready notes.
Find out more…
Hostellerie La Briqueterie, labriqueterie.fr, relaischateaux.com
Champagne Pommery, champagnepommery.com
Maison Diot Champagne, champagne-diot.fr
Tuk Tuk Champenois, tuktukchampenois.fr