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The best sparkling rosé wines and fizz for beating the heat

Refreshing bubbles for outdoor entertaining as the temperature soars

Grabbing a glass of rosé wine in the heat? You’re not alone. Waitrose has just reported two of its biggest weeks ever for sales of rosé wine and it’s expected that, as the temperature soars today, we’ll be clamouring for more.

Waitrose wine buyer Rebecca Hull said: ‘We are anticipating a rush on rosé, and bottles of fizz are making their way into ice buckets across the country.’

Our wine experts have tested sparkling rosé from Tesco, Co-op and other supermarkets.

The sparkling rosés we recommend work just as well for raising a toast as they do accompanying nibbles while you’re waiting for the barbecue.

See our round-up of the best sparkling rosé wines. 

Five tips for choosing the best rosé

1. When in doubt, choose an Italian wine

If you’re looking for a sparkling rosé but you’re overwhelmed by choice in the wine aisle, our experts recommend choosing an Italian wine. They’re usually a safe bet and good value for money, too.

2. Pay attention to the colour

Pale-coloured rosés tend to be the most popular with shoppers, but choosing a darker pink might be a better bet for a barbecue. The deeper the colour, the more flavour has been extracted from the skins. So while pale rosés tend to be more light and delicate, pinker wines can be dryer, juicier and fuller flavoured, making them a perfect accompaniment for chargrilled food.

3. Serve chilled, but never ice-cold

You want your rosé chilled, particularly on a scorching summer day, but serving your wine too cold can ruin its delicate flavours and appealing aroma. The best way to cool your bottle is to place it in a bucket of water with ice cubes.

4. Serve it with food

Rosés are more versatile than you might think. You can kick off with a bottle while you’re waiting for the barbecue to heat up, but it’s also just as good with all sorts of food, such as fish, chargrilled vegetables and fruit salad.

5. But watch out for creamy desserts

Cream doesn’t react well with bubbles, so you might want to start with your sparkling rosé then switch to a different wine to wash down your strawberries and cream.

Best Champagne, prosecco and sparkling wine

Waitrose has also reported that sales of English sparkling wine are up 71%, and Champagne up 27%, during the recent heatwave.

We’ve found one of the best champagnes for under £20 and a top-scoring English sparkling wine as well as the best prosecco for less than £10 a bottle.

Last summer’s heatwave means we’re likely to see more excellent English wines. Our experts recommend keeping an eye out for the 2018 vintage.

How to choose the best Champagne, prosecco and sparkling wine

Champagne can only be made in a specified region of north-east France, and almost always from a blend of three grapes: pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier. The bubbles come from a second small alcoholic fermentation carried out inside the bottle. The CO2 formed can’t escape and so it dissolves into the wine – so when the bottle is opened, the wine sparkles. Most Champagne is dry and best served after a few hours in the fridge.

Cava, from Spain, is made in the same way as champagne, undergoing secondary fermentation in the bottle. It’s usually made from three Catalan grapes: macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada, although some of the large cava producers have started to use chardonnay and pinot noir as well. The grapes mostly come from near Barcelona, much further towards the sunny south than the Champagne region. They ripen more, so cava is lower in acidity than champagne (and often cheaper).

Prosecco is usually slightly sweet or ‘off-dry’, light and delicate, and characterised by citrus and apple notes. Most people know that ‘Champagne’ is a protected appellation, but did you know that ‘prosecco’ is too? Any other sparkling wines made from glera grapes (formerly called prosecco), but from outside the Italian designation of origin for prosecco, can’t use the word ‘prosecco’ on the label. Unlike many other fizzes, prosecco completes its secondary fermentation in a pressurised stainless-steel tank. Generally, prosecco is similarly priced to cava and cheaper than champagne.

Franciacorta is made from grapes from Franciacorta in Lombardy. It’s drier than prosecco, but fruitier and softer than champagne, and it has distinctive lemony notes.

Crémant is sparkling wine that’s made in the same way as Champagne (with secondary fermentation) but it can come from other regions in France. Crémants may be made with a variety of grape varieties, other than the traditional Champagne combination, but grapes must be manually harvested. They must also be whole-bunch pressed, and aged for a minimum of nine months. Our experts recommend crémant as an alternative to prosecco or cava.

 

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