Thursday, 13 December 2012

Time to Sparkle - With Sainsbury's Champagne!

Champagne and sparkling wines are usually kept for weddings, birthday celebrations, christenings or lovely sunny summer BBQs but I have to ask my self why?

Champagne and sparkling wines are in most supermarkets and prices range from affordable right up to downright expensive but tonight I learned some of the reasons for those price differentials.

I learned a lot more things too at a blogger event run by Sainsbury's at their very impressive head office in Holborn in London.

Upon arrival we were offered a glass of Prosecco with a raspberry liqueur and a couple of raspberries. This is a really civilised way of welcoming someone to your event!!

We were introduced to Sainsbury's Winemaker Emma Holland who although is relatively new to the company has a wide bank of knowledge on wines and sparkling wines.  Emma talked us through tasting seven sparkling wines and champagnes and answered questions as we went along.

We took our places ready set out with seven glasses which excited us as we were going to sample seven drinks!

At the end of the tasting we had a complete row of glasses of different types and strengths of sparkling wines and champagnes. 

We tasted some of Sainsbury's best drinks such as Taste the Difference Prosecco, a great sparkling apertif, Product information for Sainsbury's Conegliano Prosecco, Taste the Difference 150clTaste the Difference Fairtrade Moscato Rose - Product information for Sainsbury's Fairtrade Rosé Moscato, Taste the Difference 75cla sweet fruity rose made to drink young and an alcohol value of only 5.5% which makes it ideal to drink in hot weather to keep yourself cool.  This wine had a new style cap called a Zork which helps to keep the drink in the fridge for 2-3 days if you don't fancy drinking it all at once.

Zork - new style cap for sparkling wines - alows you to keep it in the fridge 2-3 days

We tried Sainsbury's Brut Rose Champagne made with a combination of Chardonnay grapes and Pinot Noir. This was a dry and sophisticated drink with a lovely clean slightly rose colour.
Product information for Sainsbury's Vintage Cava, Taste the Difference 75clNext we tried Taste the Difference Vintage Cava.  This would make a lovely aperitif with a slightly herby aroma and dense bubbles and at a price of £6.99 (75cl) until 1st January 2013 this is certainly one for the celebrations.
Product information for Sainsbury's Blanc De Blancs Brut NV Champagne 75clMy favourite was the Sainsbury's Blanc de Blanc and at the special price of £14.99 (75cl) until 1st January 2013 I will be stocking up on this.  This wine is made from 100% Chardonnay grape and is fresh and citrusy and would work very very well as an apertif or with seafood or my favourite way of drinking it would be the same as a cold glass of Chardonnay - with a slice of lemon.
Product information for Sainsbury's Blanc De Noirs 37.5clWith great expectation we then tried Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs which is made with a combination of red and white grapes with slightly more body.  My first impression was that it smelled like a cloud which is weird cause I have never smelled a cloud!  This selection comes in the 75cl but also available as a magnum (1.5 ltr) which would suit a celebration perfectly.
And the final tasting of the evening was the Taste the Difference Vintage Champagne.  This is a lovely mix of Chardonnay and Pinor Noir grapes made from grapes harvested in September 2005 and kept on the lees for 6 years in cellars where the temperature is kept between 10-110C.  To me it smelled woody and tasted of cammenbert cheese which Emma said was a very good description.  Perfect for weddings and other celebrations and of course Christmas 2012!Product information for Sainsbury's Champagne, Taste the Difference 75cl

I learned a lot at this Masterclass of Champagnes such as what makes it a Vintage year, how much sugar is allowed and how tastes have changed over time. That glassware is important and mus be scrupulously clean to get maximum bubble effect. That cost is determined by the amount of time and effort is needed to keep it in the fermentation stage and that there is no point keeping non-vintage champagne a long time.  With this in mind I think I  had better drink my collection of champagne and replace them at a future date!


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