The night he(DP) invented Champagne, it was stars all round – but we prefer it pink

13 Dec

If happiness in the run-up to Christmas is a few bottles of some really fine pink fizz, The Wine Wanderers are positively blissed out by having recently supped quanties of the world’s very best.

One, inevitably, came from Dom Perignon, whose Rose Brut 2000 was  awarded a full five stars in a recent Decanter taste test and 19 points out of 20.   We agree it’s gorgeous, having been treated to more than one glass of this(gulp!) £245 bottle at Tempo, a lovely Italian restaurant in Mayfair.  Ironically, it’s opposite the now defunct Champagne Exchange, which nearly put us off drinking bubbly for life(we tried too much of too many too frequently while David was handling the PR), but our Dom Perignon lunch reminded us what an elegant drink the finest French can be.

Our other pink was from Nyetimber, whose 2007 rose went head to head with the DP rose at a recent Decanter Taste Test, also getting five stars and 19 out of 20 and named the best sparkling pink made in England.  As you might expect, it’s made using methode champenoise, which means secondary fermentation in the bottle.   Considering the Nyetimber gets three years of ageing before being released, it’s amazing it costs just £45 per bottle – about one-sixth that of the DP, which is enough to make the 17th century monk turn in his grave!

Berry Brothers and Rudd have picked another Nyetimber in their selection of England’s finest sparklings – the Premiere Cuvee Blanc de Blancs at £32.95.   But buyer Simon Field says his favourite Sussex sparkling tipple is Grosvenor Blanc de Blancs from the Ridgeview Estate, which comes in at less.   Chapel Down is on his hit list, as you might expect – and as they are just round the corner from The Wine Wanderers, we can heartily recommend their own pink.   Inevitably, you won’t find English bubbles under £20 a bottle, but the best of them compare very favourably on a quality for price basis with Champagne.

Why pick pink fizz over white?  There’s just something so much more festive about the colour, and generally less risk of an acid attack.  And why pick Champagne at all, you might add, when there is so much good Prosecco and Aussie bubbly around as well as British, not to mention the cava we served at our wedding(we chose Codorniu, but like Freixenet too)?    However, if asked why to choose fizz at all for a festive occasion – the only time we ever drink it ourselves, preferring still wine as a food accompaniment – we would have to quote DP again:  “I am drinking stars”, he is reported to have waxed lyrical over the very first vintage he was happy with.

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