Paul Howard Articles, Australia, Blog, Champagne, France, Italy, Sparkling Wine

Summer Bubbles

Summer Bubbles 2022 Collection. Rain or Shine.

It’s June. Feeling outdoorsy? Here’s my Summer Bubbles 2022 collection without any preamble: five sparklers to enjoy during the British summer. There’s something here for everyone, come rain or shine. So don’t forget your pacamac.


Summer bubbles one.

Valdo, Edizione Oro Puro, Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry NV, DOCG Valdobbiadene, Veneto, Italy. 11.5%

Grape. Glera 100%

Technical. Made using the Charmat/Marinotti process. A five-month temperature-controlled fermentation (rather than the minimum of 30 days) is a sign of quality.

Description. The usual off-dry “Extra Dry” Prosecco style, with 15g/l of residual sugar. This full spumante fizz is typically light and all about vivacity. Straw-yellow colour. Pear, green apple and white flowers. The long finish has a little minerality and honey.

House. Valdo is over 80 years old and now makes 60 million bottles per year. Their higher-end Oro Puro first came out in 2011 from the Prosecco DOCG heartland of Valdobbiadene.

Food. Aperitivo or light desserts (meringues are good).

Fact.  Confusingly, the Extra Dry style in Prosecco is always off-dry with some evident sweetness — so if you prefer a drier style than this, then look for Brut examples.

UK Price. £13.49 Waitrose.


Summer bubbles two.

Domaine Deliance, AC Crémant de Bourgogne Brut NV, Ruban Or, Dracy-le-Fort, Burgundy, France. 12.5%

Grapes. Pinot Noir 50%, Chardonnay 50%

Technical. Base wines have partial malolactic and age in oak for four months before the second fermentation, using the Traditional Method.  Riddling and disgorgement are by hand, with 48 months spent on the lees rather than the legal minimum of nine months for extra flavour and aroma.

Description. Clear golden colour, tiny bubble streams. Chardonnay brings citrus and Pinot Noir red fruits. Super-elegant wine, with plenty of pastry notes and a long, crisp mineral finish.

House. It is family-owned, established in 1935, spanning four generations. Small artisanal production from their 18 ha estate on the Côte Chalonnaise. This domaine is one of the best Crémant producers in Burgundy.

Food. Apéritif, Gravadlax, Mussels.

Fact. Crémant is France’s Sparkling wine made in regions other than Champagne and uses the Méthode Traditionelle process.

UK Price. £23.30 (min case of six), Iconic Wines.


Summer bubbles three.

Lanson. Black Label Brut NV, Reims, Champagne, France, 12.5%

Grapes. Chardonnay 35%, Pinot Noir 50%, Pinot Meunier 15%

Technical. No malolactic and 50-60 base wines in the blend. Thirty-six months on the lees (the legal minimum is 15 months).

Description. An all-time classic, with focused, bracing acidity. That means it improves with keeping and is incredibly long-lived. Apples and pears, hints of lemon. Brioche. Marzipan flavour develops with bottle age.

House. This “Grande Marque” was established in 1760. Since being taken over by Bruno Paillard, Lanson has seen a resurgence in quality.

Food: Oysters. First choice for Sushi/Sashimi. Cheeses: Chaorce, Brillat-Savarin and Langres.

Fact. Victor Lanson created this wine in 1937 as a tribute to Britain.

UK Price. c£30-35.00, widely available in independents and supermarkets, Majestic.


Summer bubbles four.

Ruinart. Brut Rosé, NV. Reims, Champagne, France. 12.5%

Grapes. 45% Chardonnay with 55% Pinot Noir (inc.19% still red pinot)

Technical. The assemblage includes 25% reserve wines. Base wines are from a dozen cru vineyards, mostly Grand Cru.  48 months on the lees.

Description. Pomegranate-pink colour, copper flecked. Tropical fruits meet small red berries in a voluptuously fleshy style. Aromas of brioche and rose petals. Palate fresh red berry fruits (strawberry, redcurrant, raspberry, cherry). Long dry finish. Will age beautifully, unusually so compared with most Rosé. One of the great NV Rosé Champagnes.

House. Ruinart was the first commercial Champagne House, founded in 1729 and has 8 km of chalk caves. It’s always been a Chardonnay specialist, yet introduced rosé as early as 1764.

Food. Apéritif, Salumi/Charcuterie, Sushi/Sashimi, Lamb chops.

Fact.  This rosé blends red and white base wines to achieve consistency of colour and flavour.

UK Price. Widely available, including House of Malt, Carlisle, £52.99.


Summer bubbles five.

Leconfield Sparkling Shiraz, “SYN” Coonawarra, South Australia. NV. 13.5%

Grape. 100% Shiraz, including a 2% liqueur shiraz dosage.

Technical. 30% of the wine gets oak barrels—full malolactic. Bottle fermented, riddling by hand, with five years on the lees. 28g/l residual sugar is needed to balance it, so it has some sweetness but finishes dry, thanks to the acidity and the inclusion of tannins.

Description: This is a more elegant style of sparkling shiraz, with early picking to keep the alcohol under control and ensure acidity. A mauve mousse. Bright deep scarlet colour, blackcurrant aroma. Creamy body thanks to the oak and the liqueur dosage. Raspberry, plum and cherry, and even some black pepper. Maybe a hint of chocolate. Drink young, and don’t forget to chill it!

House. Established in 1974, known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and top-value Sparkling Shiraz, which is something of a cult.

Food. BBQ, cold Beef. Ice Cream (yes, really).

Fact. Sparkling Shiraz is a uniquely Australian style of red sparkling. It’s lurid and forward, decadent and sinful, and bags of bonkers fun. Mad Max would approve.

UK Price. £15.99 Slurp.

And finally

If you want to know more about sparkling wine’s different methods and terminology, here’s my helpful guide.



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