How not to let the Prosecco shortage cramp your summer style...
For the past year the world has been living in fear of a global Prosecco shortage and it looks like it is finally here.
Due to the rising demand of our favourite fizz coupled with a diminishing supply in the small northern Italian region where it is produced, summer 2016 might be Prosecco-free.
While the unsavoury news sends a shudder of fear down our spines and will lead to nightmares of ruined picnics and garden parties devoid of the sound of popping corks, if the worst happens it’s important to be prepared.
Luckily, there is a legion of alternatives to Prosecco. While the infinitely quaffable fizz hogs the limelight, there are equally beguiling sparklers made in other parts of the world, from Spain and the UK to sunny California. We’ve picked out five corkers that will keep your summer sparkling.
Forced to languish in Prosecco’s shadow, the Spanish sparkler is made in the same way as Champagne, giving it far more complexity than Prosecco. While the best stuff used to be saved for the Spanish market, leaving our supermarket shelves stocked with sub-par offerings, today some of the best names are on sale in the UK, meaning the much-maligned fizz deserves a second look.
Gramona Brut Nature Reserva 2009; £21, Berry Bros & Rudd
Gramona is the holy grail for Cava lovers as the sparklers linger longer in the cellar before release, leading to rich flavours of stone fruit, almonds and honey.
Meaning “creamy” in French, Crémant sparkling wines got their name from the fact that back in the day their lower CO2 levels gave them a creamy mouth-feel. Like Champagne and Cava, today Crémant is made in the traditional method in eight French regions, including Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Limoux and the Loire Valley; France’s largest sparkling wine producer after Champagne.
Astelia Crémant de Limoux; £25, Côté Mas London
This lively fizz with notes of lemon verbena and pastry from southwest France is named after owner Jean-Claude Mas’ daughters: Astrid, Astelia and Appoline.
Like Cava, Lambrusco has long suffered an image problem in the UK, but the Italian sparkler has recently been embraced by London cool kids in a trend that has trickled down from New York. You’ll now find the fizz on pour across the capital at places like Quo Vadis, Mozzarella bar Obika and Putney newbie Bibo.
Cleto Chiarli Vecchia Modena Lambrusco, £12.95, Great Western Wine
Ruth Spivey, founder of Wine Car Boot, has long been a champion of this raspberry-pink, surprisingly dry fizz, which she sells at Rotorino in Dalston.
4. Moscato d’Asti
Made in northern Italy, Moscato d’Asti has Kanye West to thank for its recent revival. After he name-checked the fizz in the song Make Her Feel Good, sales of the sweet sparkler went through the roof. It has since been backed by the likes of Lil’ Kim, Drake and Nicki Minaj, who has her own brand of Moscato called Myx.
Ceretto Moscato d’Asti, £9.60, ItalVinus.co.uk
Boasting notes of white flowers and tropical fruit, this sweet sparkler comes in a quirky elongated bottle, making it a great conversation starter at dinner parties.
5. English sparkling wine
Pockets of England like Sussex and Kent are lucky enough to share similar chalky soils to Champagne making them ideal spots for sparkling wine production. Unlike the Prosecco region, England is set for a bumper year, with 2014 production up by 42% on 2013, meaning it won’t be hard to seek out stunners from the likes of Nyetimber, Gusbourne, Hush Health and Ridgeview.
Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009, £30, Waitrose
The best English sparkler on the market, it’s easy to mistake Nyetimber for Champagne due to its rich, creamy palate of brioche, hazelnuts and citrus fruit.
Lucy Shaw is deputy editor at The Drinks Business magazine.