December has arrived, so it is officially time to start thinking about what we are going to drink over the holidays. Let’s start with bubbles.
All of the main supermarkets these days stock a good selection of Portuguese espumantes and, when it comes to bang for your buck, they can be hard to beat. Amongst my favourites are anything made by the two greatest names in Portuguese sparkling, Murganheira and Vértice, both from far up north.
Apolónia has a vast selection both of Portuguese labels and bubbles from elsewhere around the world, including what is, without a doubt, the best selection of Champagnes to be found anywhere in the Algarve, or probably in the whole of Portugal. But the selection can be somewhat daunting what with all the different labels and indeed styles of wines.
One of the growing trends is the Brut Nature method, i.e., Champagnes or sparkling wine made without “dosage”, meaning no added sugar.
But then we have the Blanc de Blancs, made only from white grapes, usually meaning Chardonnay, and there are aged vintages or NV (non vintage) wines made usually with a blend of younger and older wines, and, of course, we have pink bubbles as another choice.
It’s not often that chance arises here in the Algarve, outside of professional tastings, to sample a range of sparkling wines, including Champagnes, but this is exactly what is happening at the Prime Wine warehouse showroom near Loulé on December 6 and, what’s more, it is free of charge, but you must contact them to book. Just drop an email to email@example.com or WhatsApp message 912 533 455.
The tasting will feature a wide range of bubbles from around the world, including budget-friendly Proseccos, some excellent Cremants (French bubbles made outside of the Champagne region) and high-quality Champagnes such as Drappier Rosé.
The tasting will also include the excellent sparkling wines from Graham Beck in South Africa. These wines punch well above their weight price-wise, starting at around €17 and, famously, this was the tipple of choice for Michelle and Barack Obama to celebrate his inauguration back in 2009.