Sunday 17 December 2017

Put the fizz in your Valentine's with some bubble love

IN a perfect world, wine writer Willie Gluckstern once wrote, everyone would have a glass of champagne every evening. Well, we don't live in a perfect world and we can't all afford champagne every day.

But most of us can afford something bubbly for a special occasion -- like Valentine's Day. And it doesn't even have to be real champagne.

As we know, only certain wines that come from that region of France are entitled to call themselves champagne.

They're delicious -- but so, too, are many types of cava, prosecco and sparkling wines from around the world.

Chilled, poured into the right glass and consumed in the right company, they're as impressive as the real thing.

So how do you choose from among all the prettily packaged bottles of bubbly crowding the shelves?

Think first about what you or that someone special likes in a wine -- a person with a preference for a dry, full-bodied wine is unlikely to take to a bottle of sweet, light fizz. You can get from very dry to sweet in all the bubbly ranges although cavas, on the whole, are drier than proseccos.

Secondly, no matter what your price range, there's something for you. Be sensible (even if Valentine's Day is about being anything but) -- if you're not really into the whole fizzy vino thing. You'd be mad to go spending €40 or more on a champagne just for show.

You'll get perfectly acceptable alternatives for a lot less and enjoy them just as much.

Here are four that you won't go wrong with and can pick up this weekend.

My favourite at the lower end of the price scale is Jacobs Creek Sparkling Rosé. It's fruity, creamy and sharp with a lovely pink colour. It makes for a lovely aperitif, but is perfect, too, for sharing over a romantic dinner. Currently at €12.69 in O'Briens.

If you like your wines dry, then Rizzardi Prosecco could be the one for you. It's an extra-dry Prosecco, crisp with a nice taste of ripe pear. It's available in O'Briens for €14.99.

If it absolutely has to be Bolly dahling, as favoured by Ab Fab's Patsy and Edina, then you can get one of the most popular champagnes around for under €50. Just about. Bollinger Special Cuvee NV is fresh, with just the right amount of dryness, it has the name and it hits the right note for a special occasion €49.99 in the Cork Screw Wine Shop.

Moet & Chandon is probably the best-known Champagne label around and if you don't want a substitute then the Moet & Chadon NV Champagne is worth a try. It's reliable and tasty.

Available for €37.99 in O'Briens.

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