Putting bubbles inside a bottle can be one of the most expensive processes in winemaking. If you’re going to do it the traditional way (in SA, this is called Methode Cap Classique), it involves two fermentations, über-strong bottles and caps, expensive equipment to rotate, invert and then un-seal and re-seal it and hefty storage costs for the one-to-two years which it rests in the cellar before sale.
Or you can do it the cheap and easy ‘soda stream’ way and simply inject CO2 into a bottle of wine! This is a fab way of making party fizz, which goes off with a bang, can be mixed with all sorts of other drinks to make fun cocktails and is affordable enough to let you drink it by the bucket-load. Here are my tips for budget bubblies this year:
Rooiberg Brut Sparkling Wine
Highly-praised in both the People’s Guide and Wine magazine’s Best Value Wine Guide, this is a little stunner of a wine. Full of fresh, dry Sauvignon fruit with zingy acidity and plenty of bouncy bubbles, it is a great mate for an all-night party.
Four Cousins Sauvignon Blanc Brut
Comes from the home of top-value wines, Van Loveren, this is a relatively new addition to the Four Cousins range. Made from Sauvignon and Colombar, it is appley and lively with lots of clean fresh fizz. Nice packaging too.
Made by the Charmat method which is slightly more complicated than just injecting it with gas, this offers an extra dimension of yeasty-toastiness along with its Granny Smith freshness and acidity. Very good value
Arniston Bay Sparkling Rosé
Semi-sweet, frothy and delicious. Flavours of strawberries, redcurrants and cherries abound with a clean finish and lots of fizz. Great fun.
Want to add something to your fizz?
Champagne cocktails are a great way to party on New Year’s Eve and if you make them with sparkling wine instead of Cap Classique, then it doesn’t cost the earth. Try the following:
Bellini – add peach nectar and top up with fizz
Bucks Fizz – a classic, just add orange juice and sparkling wine
Marilyn Monroe – apple brandy, a dash of grenadine and sparkling wine
St Patrick’s Day – Irish whiskey, midori (melon liqueur) and sparkling wine.
Southern Belle – Amaretto, Apricot brandy and sparkling wine.
For more ideas, check out www.thefiftybest.com/wine/best_champagne_cocktails/