It’s grab a drink and let’s party season and the drink of choice is… bubbles! Yep, in our house it’s not Christmas if we’re not popping corks and while we enjoy a vintage Champagne or two we drink a lot more Australian sparkling wine nowadays. Why? Bang for your buck, baby! Yes, you can get some of the lesser known Champagnes at decent prices – and they're decent drinking no doubt – but we don't think there's anything out there that can rock your boat in that mid-$20 to mid-$30 range like the local stuff. Most Australian sparklings are grown in cool climates like Tasmania and Victoria so when a four-pack of Chandon turned up on the doorstep we were delighted.
Chandon is regarded as the sparkling wine specialists of Australia and it has been several years since we visited the cellar door in Victoria’s Yarra Valley –- a spectacular spot with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vines and well worth a visit – so we were rubbing our hands in eager anticipation at the thought of popping a few corks.
Chandon Brut $25
This sparkling is our day-to-day favourite – we drink it while watering the vegies, preparing dinner or just kicking back in the hammock after a day in the garden. It’s reliably consistent, a blend of chardonnay and pinot (around 60/40 split), made in the méthode traditionnelle style. Fresh and full-bodied with a crisp finish. Enjoyable drinking, full stop.
Chandon Brut Rosé $25
We tend to enjoy this pretty pink concoction on occasions, although nowhere near as regularly as the wine above which is our regular go-to wine. We like this fellow with food, such as salt-and-pepper squid. Made from pinot noir grapes from several cool-climate regions, it has a creamy mouthfeel with tight, bubbly effervescence and just keeps lingering on the tongue.
Chandon Cuvée Riche $35
To be honest, this sparkling is a tad on the sweet side for us, but it’s made in the “doux” style of French Champagne, which means sweet. Lots of tropical fruit and brioche characters. If you like a luscious, rich style of bubbles then this will be right up your street.
Chandon Sparkling Pinot Shiraz $35
A very friendly fizz with rich red berries on the nose and ripe fruit flavours with softness on the tongue. The mix is 70% pinot noir and 30% shiraz sourced from 15 individual red wine cuvées from the current vintage and a small amount reserve wines. Rick in particular likes his sparkling reds – what can I say, I'm a traditionalist – and he always loves this stuff.