With only 42 days until Christmas, it’s never too early to start thinking about what bubbles to serve with your festive feast. Whether your penchant is for prosecco, cava, cremant or Champagne, get inspired with the help of a new book ‘101 Champagnes and Other Sparkling Wines To Try Before You Die’ or one of the fun evenings run by Wine Events Scotland.
Scottish sommelier Davy Zyw recently launched his new book on 18 October, coinciding with Champagne Day. Zyw started his wine career in Edinburgh, working at Villeneuve’s basement shop in Broughton Street, before moving to London’s Mayfair as a sommelier at La Gavroche. Later he moved to Tesco where he developed the Italian wine range, and to Laithwaites/Direct Wine as Italy and Champagne wine buyer. He is currently buyer, Champagne and Italian Wines, at Berry Bros & Rudd.
The vast majority of all champagne is bought in the eight weeks before Christmas. Now is the time to look out for offers in supermarkets and wine retailers, as promotions and champagne campaigns are starting.
The UK is historically one of the largest markets for champagne and sparkling wine in the world. We love bubbles. Zyw’s new book is a definitive guide to the best bubbles available. From the household names of Dom Perignon, Bollinger, Moet & Chandon and Krug, to lesser known varieties of champagne and sparkling wine, Zyw has something here for every taste and budget.
I’m glad to see some perfectly acceptable sparkling wines recommended including the Aldi Cremant du Jura (£8.29). Toasty, fruity and deliciously fizzy, to me, this is my preferred alternative to champagne and a damn sight cheaper.
Tips on how to drink champagne – don’t serve it too cold
And if you are drinking champagne, Zyw has two tips on how to drink it. If you have decent champagne at Christmas, don’t serve it too cold. This hides the flavour, so it is a good idea to let it sit on the table for 10 minutes before serving.
Tip two – don’t drink good champagne out of flutes. Use a white wine glass instead
He also advises against drinking good champagne out of flutes and prefers normal white wine glasses. Apparently the shape of the champagne flute actually restricts enjoyment of the champagne, hiding all those delicious flavours which take so long to produce. This might be one habit that is hard to break as there’s a certain amount of theatre associated with drinking champagne out of flutes.
Try before you buy – Edinburgh wine events before Christmas
If you’d prefer to try before you buy, there’s a couple of wine events in Edinburgh that may be of interest.
The third Fizz Feast on Saturday, 17 November, is being held in the Main Hall at the Edinburgh Academy in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. There are two sessions to choose from: 12-3pm or 4-7pm.
Don’t miss this unique festival dedicated exclusively to Champagne & sparkling wine along with an array of fabulous artisan food. It’s the ideal opportunity to purchase or plan your Christmas fizz, food and gifts for family and friends. It’s also a great day out and the chance to taste and compare numerous Champagnes and sparkling wines from all over the world along with a some of the best of Scotland’s larder. There’ll be lots of great offers to take advantage of on the day too including the opportunity to buy signed copies of Davy Zyw’s new book.
Alternatively join Wine Events Scotland for one of their regular Monday night tastings. In keeping with previous years they’ll be holding their popular Festive Wine Workshop on Monday, 10 December, popping open some cracking wines. Get prepared for Christmas with some top tips and tastes of some great wines to enjoy in the lead up to festive season. Diana Thompson, who organises the event, will be scouting the various shelves around Edinburgh in order to bring you some excellent wines at superb prices.
You’ll enjoy seven wines including fizz, white, red and a festive dessert wine. There’ll be some classics as well as a few surprises and maybe some challenges for you. You’ll also enjoy some cheese, charcuterie and of course some mince pies, all for the bargain price of £22.
To book Fizz Feast – 17 November 2018 –
To book Festive Wine Workshop, 10 December 2018 –
101 Champagnes and Other Sparkling Wines to Try Before You Die – Davy Zyw