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Champagne or Sparkling?

On Champagne vs ESW, it’s worth finding a way to try the Sugrue-made wines, both his own and others such as Wiston, prior to his departure this year. I’ve found slightly older bottles of Wiston vintage brut to be really excellent, with real depth and complexity - and, to my palate, significantly more interesting than a lot of the cheaper ESWs.

As others have mentioned, they aren’t cheap. If they reached a point where they were in major distributors and participating in the 25% off multiples which most champagne houses seem to do from time to time, I would sometimes go for them over champagne at the same price. And if we’re talking full prices I think Wiston at £38 is better value than Bollinger NV at £50+.

That said, I probably wouldn’t serve ESW at a large gathering (even if I could afford it), because I think the higher acidity English style is too divisive. Half the guests probably wouldn’t like it.

Nyetimber at £144/6 though? Fill your boots!


Agree about Dermot’s wines. We tried his 2014 Trouble with dreams at the weekend, which was absolutely divine.

Purchased for £33 on special offer, which I thought represented very good value.


Wow , that was a phenomenal price to get it for !

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My problem is telling their cuvee’s apart ! one of the below I definitely prefer, but cannot remember which. I think it’s to do with the grape mix?

Crémant de Limoux, Heritage
Blanquette de Limoux Réserve

Quite interesting how much activity this thread has provoked in just 2 days !

On some points, Blanquette vs Crémant. They are quite different; the former has mainly mauzac in the assemblage and for me I tend to dislike as it’s rather appley and sharp for my tastes; Crémant is based on chardonnay.

Agree with the opinions about Nyetimber and other English; and it remains my overall favourite provided the price is reduced sub £27 ish, but at the end of the day anything more than £20 is a lot of money for a bottle of wine especially as brut white fizz is consumed by me mainly as an aperitif, knocked back with nibbles before moving on to the main event wines with the meal itself. I have never got my head around the idea that Champagne (or any brut fizz) should be savoured and over-thought.

In France - where I spend about 50% of the time - I never buy Champagne, again for the reasons above of when and where it would be consumed. I find the upmarket but sub €10 range is perfectly adequate, Cremants from Saumur, Bourgogne (yes even Veuve Ambal is quite acceptable) , Jura and Alsace usually get the nod.

However I have a couple of friends in France who have access to low volume grower-recoltant-vigneron Champagnes which when offered as a gift or opened round their place are usually very nice indeed. I don’t ask what they retail for !

Outside of this, I would add that Franciacorta wines can be exquisite and cellar door prices are often under €20 whilst punching well above similarly-priced, and inevitably entry-level big name Champagnes. And agree that good quality Cava can easily match or exceed Champagne at lower prices. I particularly like this one from Pares Balta Buy Organic Sparkling wine Parés Baltà Selectio which is a must stop-off en route back from Barcelona


Every day’s a schoolday ! many thanks.

And that answers my question, it was the Blanquette Antech which I preferred, mistakenly taking the green apple freshness for chenin in the blend. Quite different to Champagne, and quite enjoyable in it’s own right. HOWEVER I was at the time post CV19 with a totally shot palate.

Where from?!

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Champagne is preferred chez nous but we’ll try anything except Cava (gets to my sinuses). Recently we had a semi sparkler from Greece near the Albanian border - Debina. Very pleasant and refreshing.

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Here (a little ago now though)

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I don’t know about other regions, but most Crémant de Loire I’ve bought in France has been chenin-based, which I always enjoy.


indeed; I was referring specifically to Limoux as per the thread. But C d Jura and Bourgogne are chardonnay based on the whole.

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They sell online too now. The online range is restricted but it is always worth checking online if you ever think Costco might have what you want

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