THE first Edinburgh Fizz Festival is taking place today (Saturday 29 October) at Edinburgh Academy with 16 exhibitors offering visitors the chance to try a range of sparkling wines from around the world.
The Champagne region in France produces what is unarguably the world’s most famous sparkling wine, with Spain’s Cava and Italy’s Prosecco eagerly snapping at its heels.
But the “big three” aren’t the only regions to make sparkling wine and the selection on offer at the Edinburgh Fizz Festival – for which Scottish Field is the media partner – illustrates the breadth and depth that’s on offer.
If you’re heading down to the festival this afternoon or if you’re just looking for ideas for a weekend tipple then here’s a whirlwind tour of some of the exciting sparklers on offer…
Jansz Sparkling Non-Vintage, £17.50 (Oddbins)
Made using the traditional method, with the fermentation that adds the bubbles taking place inside the bottle as opposed to a tank, this example from Tasmania uses the three classic Champagne grape varieties – Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. The result gives aromas of biscuit, bread and toast on the nose, coupled with red apple and quince flavours on the palate.
Pirie Traditional Méthode, £29.90 (Appellation Wines)
Another cracker from Tasmania. This is a step up in price, but also I think in quality too. Made using Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, there’s a hint of butter on the nose, along with bready notes. On the palate, it’s fruity, with red apple and quince, plus a lovely rounded mouthfeel.
Loimer Sparkling Brut Non-Vintage, £21 (Oddbins)
This Austrian fizz – aye, you read that right, it’s from Austria – is made using two classic local varieties, Gruner Veltliner and Zweigelt, along with the more-traditional Pinot Noir. It’s fresh and very dry, with bright green apple and pear aromas and flavours. A great aperitif.
Ferrari Maximum Brut Non-Vintage, £25 (Good Brothers)
Served by the glass at Good Brothers’ new wine bar in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge area, this sparkler comes from the Trento wine region in the north of Italy, which historically has had more in common with Austria and Germany than Italy. The wine is really exciting and strikes a fine balance between its refreshing acidity and its fruity apple and pear flavours.
Dr Loosen Dry Riesling Sekt, £18.50 (Appellation Wines)
Riesling is Germany’s flagship grape variety and can be made into a wide range of styles, from dry table wines through to sweeter dessert wines and into “sekt” or sparkling wine. The Germans go mad for their fizz, which makes their country one of the largest sparkling wine markets. Dr Loosen is a Riesling legend and this wine combines lime marmalade and lemon sherbet sweetness with a healthy kick of acidity.
Hush Heath Balfour 1503 Rosé, £19.99 (Majestic Wines)
There’s no arguing with the quality of English sparkling wine these days, but the price still puts off some punters. Step forward this incredible bottle from Hush Heath, which packs in a lot of fruit for the price. It’s a very pale pink in colour, but don’t let its subtleness and grace fool you – there are tonnes of strawberry and red apple flavours from the combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.