Wine: Celebrate in Style

County wine experts choose their favourite wines for a 'day to remember'

Uniquely glamorous and stylish, champagne is the obvious choice when anyone is celebrating one of life’s important occasions. This may have more to do with image than taste; champagne does have cachet, even if many people wonder if champagne is worth the high price it commands when there are super alternatives from other regions and wine countries.

Cava, for example, from native Spanish grapes, is an impressive, traditionally made sparkling wine, as is Cr�mant de Loire, from vineyards overlooking the majestic River Loire in Saumur. Both Bouvet-Ladubay and Langlois-Ch�teau are connected to two famous champagne houses but cost half the price of champagne. There’s also New Zealand’s famous traditionally made Pelorus sparkling wine, and not forgetting Cornwall’s award winning ‘Camel Valley’, an elegant, stylish fizz with cascading bubbles and aromas of apples, pears and honey, suitable for all special celebrations.

Planning for an important celebration or wedding is a worrying experience, and what often worries people most is which wine they should serve and how much to spend. So, I’ve enlisted the help of a few local specialist wine merchants to assist with these big decisions:

John Hattersley at John Hattersley Wines in Bakewell reveals, ‘The champagne at the moment that gives me most pleasure, either when drinking it or for the fact that customers keep coming back for more, is Champagne Lallier Grande Reserve Brut, from 100 per cent grand cru vineyards in the Ay region of France. The elegance and finesse of this wine is exhilarating. Fresh crisp fruit with rounded yeasty flavours and a full quality mousse leading towards a light biscuit finish – and at �25 per bottle it is amazing value.’

Jean-Claude and Suzanne Schmitt at French Wine People have had many years of experience when it comes to helping people plan for their wedding day or special celebration. They stock a range of superb champagnes and sparkling wines from glitzy, cuvee prestige Roederer ‘Cristal’ to Australian ‘The Bees Knees’ sparkling red. However according to Jean-Claude ‘a wine that would be perfect for a summer celebration is Jean Pernet NV Champagne, 50 per cent pinotnoir grapes, with pronounced fruit and biscuit flavours. It is priced at �17.50 a bottle, but has a 5 per cent case price discount.’

Andrea and Peter at Nonsolovino, Chesterfield, recommend Prosecco, Italy’s most famous sparkling wine from Valdobbiadene, the best producing region in Veneto. ‘We stock many traditionally made sparkling wines made from international grape varieties, but also around ten Prosecco wines, ranging in price from �9-�15. Prosecco is the quality, sparkling wine for all occasions and celebrations in Italy. I recommend ‘La Farra’, a pale straw colour, and with flavours of apricot and peach. It is fresh, light and vivacious, often drunk as an aperitif, or mixed with white peach pur�e to make a Bellini cocktail.’

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Champagne and sparkling wines are for celebrations; but they are wines that can be drunk at any time of day, are guaranteed to lift one’s spirits, and create a feeling of well-being and happiness.

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