Oysters and sparkling wine are one of those marriages made in heaven, at least to some of us.
Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, NZD $19.90
Arras Brut Rosé 2006, Tasmania, AUD $83
De Iuliis Semillon 2016, Hunter Valley, AUD $19.95
De Salis Lofty Cuvée Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Meunier 2011, Orange, AUD $65
Scan the Sauvignon labels at your local supermarket and you’ll discover a new and emerging wine category that the wine industry has christened “lifestyle wines”. Lifestyle wines, they say, are “high in quality, lower in calories and lower in alcohol”.
It’s always the right time to open a bottle of fizz. Most deserve to be served well chilled – you can also chill the glasses with a little freezer time or a good swirl with crushed ice. Be careful when you open the bottle. Drape a napkin or tea towel over the top before loosening the wire. High acid foods, such as oysters garnished with lime or lemon, will bring out the best in most bubblies. Forget the silver teaspoon, keep leftovers fresh with an airtight sparkling wine sealer.
The French invented, perfected and continue to make the world’s best bubbles. I have attended many blind sparkling wine tastings. Believe me, the wines from Champagne stand out from the rest. To be labelled “champagne” the wine must be from a defined area in the north of France, only three grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) can be used and the wine must be made to exacting standards. Other countries, including New Zealand, use the same grape varieties and winemaking methods but they never make wine that is the equal of champagne. A limestone-rich soil that was once a seabed and a cool, marginal climate are the two trump cards that make champagne unique.
Simmonet-Febvre Petit Chablis, France 2012 $19 Value: great The chalky mineral aroma takes me straight to Chablis. Creamy lees notes, too; a whiff of shellgrit and a trace of honey starting up. It’s dry but soft on the tongue, light-bodied, with a softness and balance
Domaine William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir, France 2011 $131 A very delicate, restrained style of Chablis with attractive spice and floral aromas without obvious sign of oak. Refreshing lightness as well as intensity of flavour, smooth and clean finishing. It’s deceptively delicate and the