A Guide to Our Competition Wines - Sparkling

As the Wine Guy here at Grapes & Lager, I recently put together a range of amazing wines to be a part of our social competition (enter here), and we’ve already had amazing responses from the community.

I hand-selected each wine that is to be included in the prize, and they range from frothy, sparkling Bruts to smooth, red Shiraz’s.

To find out more about the wines being given away in our competition - and which are valued at over $1100 - see the first of our 3-part series.

Sparkling Wines

I wanted to include sparkling wines that show how each country develops certain styles with their wines. For example, the style ‘Cava’ is known to come from Spain, and so that’s where we start our journey.

1. NV Hoya De Cadenas Cava Brut Nature - Penedes, Spain

This is what we call a ‘good value for money’ buy, and as a Cava it has been particularly well-made. In order for a wine to be classified as a ‘Cava’, it must be fermented in the bottle (like champagne) under méthode champenoise.

Cadenas Cava Brut Nature has generally had ten months in the bottle on yeast, and it displays those characteristics in its taste. Here at Grapes & Lager we call this type of wine an ‘honest wine, as it’s bone dry and there is very little sugar added when they disgorge it.

If you like a dry, champagne-like drink with good flavour, then this Cava is right for you. And at $16.00 a bottle, it’s an affordable choice too.

2. NV Cantine Ceci Otello Dry No2 Brut - Emilia-Romana, Italy ($37.00 a Bottle)

I was first presented with Ceci wines through a friend who was studying his Master of Wine certification. Other than Lambrusco (and only those that are sweet or dry), prior to this I had little experience with the wines of Emilia-Romano.

However, this Otello Dry No2 Brut caught my tastebuds and my interest, enough to have me include it in the competition. Ceci is a very old producer in the Italian wine history, and they make some very interesting wines. This wine is their top sparkling cuvée, and they use three different vintages in this wine:

  • The first is a young, fresh vintage
  • The second is a 3-4 year old vintage
  • And the third is a between these two ages, which they then use to blend the other two together.

By doing this blending of the vintages, you get the fresh fruit character of the younger wine, but also the aged, yeasty, broader and more complex flavours from the older vintages. And because they use traditional methods to make their wines, there’s also a touch of ‘funkiness’ or savouriness about the wine.

This is also a wine that changes quite a bit in the bottle. I recently tried another bottle of it (as the last bottle was quite some time ago!), and found that it displayed some very aged, toasty characters in it now compared to when last I tasted it.

At $37.00 a bottle, this drink is the perfect alternative to an expensive French champagne.

3. NV Lombard & Co Brut Rose Premier Cru - Epernay, France

Lombard & Co. is the house responsible for the production of our biggest-selling champagne, Lanvin. The Lombard & Co. house is a third-generation Grand Cru, a premier Cru producer from Epernay, and under the Lombard name they only produce Premier Cru or Grand Cru cuvées.

This particular wine, the Brut Rose Premier Cru, is their Rosé. The base is Premier Cru chardonnay, and then to give it its rose colour they have added Cru Pinot Noir fruit.

All Lombard wines are clean and fresh, and tend to be very dry in style. However, this wine is also quite complex due to the chardonnay base, and it’s got excellent complex fruit characters. When you add to that the red fruit richness of the Grand Cru Pinot, you end up with a delicious, well-made wine. And because it’s all made from premier Cru fruit, it’s very high quality.

With a cost of $100.00 a bottle, this wine alone will make winning the competition exciting!

4. NV Cofield Sparkling Shiraz Durif - Rutherglen, Victoria

When choosing the sparkling wines for this competition, I wanted to add a sparkling Australian to the mix to both give it a well-rounded feel ... and also because I really like what Australian vineyards have achieved with sparkling reds! The wine I finally settled on is a sparkling Shiraz-Durif, which I found to be an excellent example of a classic Aussie sparking. It has a full-flavour, lots of fruit, and is great to have with a BBQ.

This particular sparkling wine is a blend of the full-bodied Shiraz grape with the Italian Durif variety, which has a rich flavour. I credit the Durif with adding the ‘oomph’ to the wine, and suggest you have it with chilli crab or mussels for a delicious food and wine pairing.

And for $18.00 a bottle, you won’t break the bank by taking one (or two!) bottles to dinner.

Next week we will upload the second part of our competition wine breakdown, so for more information stay tuned!

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