Champers, Champagne, Bubbles – call it what you will, there is nothing that says celebration like sparkling wine, and 31 December is the day to honour this effervescent drink.
By default, sparkling wine gets New Year’s Eve as its official appreciation day. Fair enough, in some countries 23 October is official Champagne celebration day but, clearly, bubbly just goes so well with seeing in the new year!
You can drink any kind of sparkling wine, including Champagne, but here in NZ wine country we’re very proud of our local Marlborough Methode and we’d heartily endorse popping open the cork on one of these traditionally made quality bubbles.
Marlborough Methodes are made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes only, either single grape or a blend, and are produced in the traditional method which means the second fermentation happens in the bottle (creating the bubbles), followed by “riddling” and “disgorging”. This produces the finest ‘bead’ – the bubbles that float in groups on top of a sparkling wine, one of the marks of a good drink. To qualify as a Marlborough Methode, a bubbly also has to be entirely grown and made in Marlborough, and to have been aged at least 18 months on lees.
Here’s our pick of 5 tantalising Marlborough Methodes
Allan Scott Cecilia Brut NV
Pale straw colour with a fine and persistent mousse, strawberries and stonefruit flavours, with a long-lasting creamy finish. Allan Scott suggests teaming it with creamy chowder or a beautiful brie. We second that.
Johanneshof Cellars Methode Traditionelle EMMI Brut
Made with hand-picked grapes from the vineyard behind the cellar door and aged for several years in the traditional underground Johanneshof cellars, this predominantly Pinot Noir cuvee is golden in colour, rich and complex with a superbly velvety texture and silky finish.
Tohu ‘Rewa’ Reserve Méthode Traditionelle Marlborough Blanc de Noir
Highly rated by wine critics, this Pinot Noir-based bubbles is light gold in colour, has a fine persistent bead and creamy mousse with a lively and lingering finish. Mmmm.
No. 1 Family Estate No. 1 Cuvee
Awarded over and again since its launch in 1999, this elegant methode traditionelle from the No. 1 Family Estate is 100% Chardonnay (Blanc de Blancs) and “a perfect balance between ripe, fresh fruit and toasty yet creamy yeast” with a smooth and seamless palate.
Hunter’s MiruMiru Non-Vintage
Meaning “bubbles” in Maori, the MiruMiru has also been inundated with awards over the years and the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier blend with yeasty characters and peach and citrus aromas makes for a mouth-filling mousse. Delicious!
Sometimes, I drink it when I’m alone.
When I have company I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it if I am; Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.
If you’d like to try these excellent bubbles, or any other Marlborough wines for that matter, find out more about our wine tours – we’d love to help you discover more!