‘Tis the season to drink bubbly! Our top fizzy picks
The countdown has officially started: 8 days until Christmas! So, which Champagne or sparkling wine are you going to drink during this year’s celebrations?
We asked Caroline Krey-Jacobsen, Account Manager in London, for a round-up of her favourites from the Walker & Wodehouse portfolio below.
1. Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs
One of the foremost producers of Methode Cap Classique, Graham Beck has established itself as one of the world’s leading sparkling wine houses. Located in the Robertson region, South Africa, they strive for optimal ripeness and balance and focus on minimal intervention, allowing the authentic essence of the fruit and terroir to shine through in every glass.
The grapes for this wine are hand-selected from their Chardonnay Clonal Block, where the soil is rich in limestone content, and handled with care throughout the winemaking process. Only the best juice is selected for the Blanc de Blancs, which ferments in Piece Champenoise barrels to ensure extra richness and flavour alongside a creamy texture.
“This is a fantastic South African sparkling wine, which really places Methode Cap Classique on a par with Champagne. Clean and linear in style, rich aromas of lime and ripe apricot are followed by a brioche-y palate and a complex, long finish. Elegant, affordable and absolutely delicious!”
Food pairing suggestion: Grilled scallops with cauliflower puree.
2. Champagne Palmer & Co Vintage 2009
Palmer & Co. have been making elegant Champagne since 1947. They began as seven winegrowers who came together with a shared vision and passion for making ultra-premium wine. The most important ingredient for them is time: with long lees ageing providing a signature refinement and complexity, giving them the edge in countless international competitions.
Exclusively made up of Premiers and Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims area, the Vintage 2009 is made of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir and has been aged for eight years on its lees, developing a rare complexity that is seductive in its elegance.
“Nothing spells festive season more than a vintage Champagne and Palmer Vintage ’09 ticks all the boxes for me. A beautiful blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this Champagne is both elegant and accessible. Bursting with notes of citrus, honey and toasted brioche, this is a perfect all-rounder.”
Food pairing suggestion: For something completely different, try it with fish and chips!
3. Lacourte-Godbillon Mi-Pentes 1er Cru NV
Now in their third generation, family-owned Lacourte-Godbillon are a top-quality and well-known Grower Champagne from the Montagne de Reims. They are true growers in every sense, owning all 8ha of their vineyards and working with a small team of only five people (except during harvest, of course). They are in their second year of converting to organic production and have recently started to implement biodynamic practices.
Made of 100% Pinot Noir, the Mi-Pentes is produced from a selection of parcels located around the village of Ecueil and is a blend of the 2014 and 2015 vintages, 20% of which is vinified in oak barrels.
“I am a big fan of Pinot-Noir-led Champagnes and this one from Ecueil has it all. A beautiful richness and an abundance of red fruit makes this a perfect winter drop.”
Food pairing suggestion: Charcuterie, paté or roast duck breast.
4. Coates & Seely Rosé
Just 80 miles north of the chalk hills of Champagne, Coates & Seely was founded by two old friends with a simple plan: to produce exceptional sparkling wine using traditional Champagne methods alongside cutting-edge winemaking technology, that reflects the unique terroir of this corner of England. The virtually identical soil, geological structure and similar climate provide ideal conditions for producing sparkling wine that can more than compete with its French cousin.
Made of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Pinot Meunier, the grapes are hand-harvested from vineyards in North Hampshire Downs where the chalk-rich soil dominates the structure of the terroir. The wine is made using the traditional method and aged on its lees two years.
“This small family-run estate produces some of the best English sparkling wines I have tasted. Extremely delicate, with hints of redcurrant on the nose and apple and citrus on the palate. Very quaffable!”
Food pairing suggestion: Smoked salmon or caviar.
5. Bruno Paillard Premiere Cuvee Rosé
Bruno Paillard is a young, dynamic Champagne house that has quickly established a reputation for elegant wines with real style. Fresh, dry and vibrant, these wines are made with an uncompromising attitude to quality that shines through in the glass. Indeed, the house follows a strict quality charter that includes using only first pressings, vinifying each cru separately and putting the disgorgement date on each bottle.
Produced from a blend of first pressing only, this Champagne is made almost entirely of Pinot Noir combined with a secret percentage of Chardonnay. The final blend spends three years ageing on its lees and, after a minimum of five months disgorgement period, Paillard’s signature extra brut dosage is added to the wine.
“Another favourite of mine, this Pinot Noir driven multi-vintage rosé Champagne oozes with complexity. Pale in colour, a fine mousse on the palate, bags of vibrant red fruit with a touch of citrus and a lovely long finish, this is your go-to for Christmas. Currently on promotion too!”
Food pairing suggestion: Lobster casserole with chestnuts and truffles.
Want to know more about our fizz suggestions? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @walkerwodehouse or contact your Account Manager to see what’s available!
Born and bred in Oslo, Caroline quickly fell in love with the wine world after her degree in International Relations at LSE. She started her wine career at Burgundy-specialist Haynes Hanson & Clark in Chelsea, moving up the ladder until becoming a sommelier at Sager & Wilde. She joined Bibendum in 2015, working in Sales Operation, and then moved to Walker & Wodehouse in 2017, where she is now working as an Account Manager in the London area. Her desert island grapes are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (read: Burgundy).