I received an e-mail last week asking me to suggest a few bottles of fizz. It was from a woman who is getting hitched at the end of month. She wanted something suitable to give to guests on arrival at the reception.
The woman, who signed the e-mail only as Miss KM, was quite specific in some of her requirements.
“My future hubby is quite a patriotic man and a Rugby fan,” she wrote, “so avoid anything French, will you?” Adding, “Stick to the Commonwealth, there’s a good chap, and don’t go overboard on the price.”
With these factors in mind, I’ve chosen three decent sparklers that would be ideal as a celebratory aperitif. Whether it’s at a wedding, a street party or any day of the week ending in ‘Y’.
There’s one from Tasmania, another from New Zealand and one from much closer to home. The trio are made with the same grapes used in Champagne and in the traditional method.
Firstly, some bargain bubbles from New Zealand. Morton Estate Sparkling Brut NV, a blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, is fresh and quite delicate with a fine mousse. It suggests fresh baked bread on the nose, with flavours of sherbet lemon and just a hint of grapefruit.
Or from Tasmania, there’s Pirie Sparkling Brut NV. With aromas of brioche and toasty oak, citrus fruit flavours and a zingy acidity, this one will work a treat with the canapés.
If you like expensive, vintage, rosé Champers, save yourself a bucket and buy South Ridge Cuvée Merret Rosé 2008 instead. It’s produced by the award-winning Ridgeview Estate in the Sussex Downs.
This sub-£20 bottle of salmon pink fizz is elegant, balanced and utterly delicious, with strawberries on the nose, summer fruit flavours and a hint of toast.
• Morton Estate Sparkling Brut NV, £11.35 at Field & Fawcett (York) 17/20.
• Pirie Sparkling Brut NV, £18.99 at Flourish and Prosper (Howden) 16/20.
• South Ridge Cuvée Merret Rosé 2008, £19.99 from Laithwaites (laithwaites.co.uk) 18/20.
• The first National Wine Month, branded Make Time For Wine, kicks off in May. It’s an initiative from the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust).
In the York area, there are events planned at Yorkshire Heart Vineyard, Nun Monkton, with an English wine lunch on May 7, a Wine Academy tasting and barbecue on May 21 and an English wine ceilidh and tasting on May 29.
In York on May 19, there is New Zealand Dinner and Tutored Tasting at Melton’s Too. With Wine Academy Make Time for Food & Wine sessions in Parliament Street on May 28 and 29.
• Visit the website (maketimeforwine.org) for prices, times and more details.