5 Good Cheap Bottles Of Bubbles If You Can't Afford Champagne This NYE
The Debrief: Champers out of your budget this year darling? We scoured Tesco's bubbles section to see which of their cheap fizz is worth it.
Ah, the festive season: a menagerie of wrapping and unwrapping, cosy nights sweating in flannel pyjamas by roaring fires and cathartic arguments over boardgames, pigs in blankets dripping with delicious grease and sultana-themed puddings nobody really likes. But for all its wonders, there’s no escaping the fact that a December of gluttonous excess is also expensive.
Still, if you’re really determined that January is going to be one relentless, month long uber-hangover, then I’m not going to stop you - on the contrary, I’ll be right there with you, leaning over the loo and cursing the day wine was invented. So, when you’ve got the will of Patsy and Eddie but the budget of Oliver Twist, how do you get your kicks? Well, first take yourself down to Tesco’s booze aisle, and then make an informed decision based on advice written by a stranger on the internet who has made it a personal mission to find the most Champagne-like bottle of fizzy stuff the supermarket shelves have to offer (that’s me, by the way). Onwards!
They say: 'Gorgeous green apple and pear aromas melt into a lively, vibrant soft fizz made from the Glera grape. Brimming with lemony freshness The vineyards in the North of Italy are dramatically beautiful and produce the perfect grapes for this authentic prosecco. Serve well well chilled as an aperitif with party canapés or try fruit salad.'
I say: Firstly, the name made me think of a drunk Italian dinosaur - he’d be some sort of stegosaurus wearing a lopsided Christmas cracker hat, lunging between the punch bowl and the garden, cigarette dangling from his mouth as he tells you about how his ex-girlfriend eloped with a T-Rex. But aside from being unsure what significance the Number 9 has (is it like a self-assigned mark out of ten, or is the higher the number the worse the wine?), and the fact that the phrase 'lemony freshness' makes me think of Toilet Duck, this is pretty good. It’s got a rich flavour without being overpowering, and they were really right about the citrusy taste, but in a good way - pair with Tropicana and count it as one as one of your 5 a day.
The verdict: 8/10
2. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava, £6.50
They say: 'Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava derives its superior quality and elegant sparkle from the long period of maturation and the traditional method of second fermentation. Crisp, fresh, light and dry with delicious soft fruit flavours of Mediterranean sun-ripened melon and peach.'
I say: This is the stuff. It’s super dry without being sour, and has a constant stream of bubbles that explode in your mouth. I probably would believe it’s champagne if you lied to me about it, and I’d be perfectly okay with that. Hold the Bolly and stock up on this instead, then blow the money you saved in the sales, buying all the presents for people you forgot about first time around.
The verdict: 9/10
3. Tesco Cava Brut, £5
They say: 'A quality sparkling wine made by Traditional Method to produce a full, creamy style with elegant citrus and apple flavours. Pale straw yellow colour, fruity nose due to the varietal blend and the short bottle ageing. Harmonious on the palate with apple and hints of toast. Very well balanced, good freshness and pleasant acidity level.'
I say: It’s essentially a cheap wine tarted up with a proper cork and a swirly font; Lambrini made a little stronger and swathed in gold foil. I didn’t get any of the hints of toast - surely not something to boast about on the label, even if the taste of burning bread was present - and although it hadn’t strayed into vinegar territory, it’s a little on the acidic side. But when you can pay in a handful of silver coins and come away with something sparkling then who cares, really? Just be honest about your bargain hunting skills, and people will respect you - thrift is much sexier than vulgar excess these days y’know.
The verdict: 5/10
4. Plaza Centro Prosecco, £6.50
They say: 'A classic Italian sparkling wine made from the Glera grape grown in the rolling vineyards of Veneto in North East Italy. A lively, refreshing wine full of bright citrus fruit flavours with background floral notes. Perfect, served chilled, for any occasion as an aperitif. Alternatively it can also be enjoyed with fish and shellfish.'
I say: My first thought was Golden Delicious apples, and it wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Yes it was very pale and fresh, but it was also incredibly sweet - it tasted a little like Babysham or something of that ilk. That said, I like my wine really dry, so if you’re a regular pear cider drinker then you’ll probably happily tuck into this one and it would be totally acceptable in cocktails (Twinkles are good - add vodka and elderflower cordial to your prosecco). And of course, remember to chill it well. You’re not an animal, after all.
The verdict: 6/10
5. Bella Cucina, £5.78
They say: 'This sparkling wine from North East Italy is classically refreshing and lively with crisp fruit flavours and floral notes. It is ideal served well chilled as an aperitif or alternatively with light fish dishes and white meats.'
I say: What a little smoothie! As I stuck my beak into the glass I got aromas of pear, peach and lime - or at least I think I did, is always hard to tell which fruits a drink made from grapes is meant to taste of. I wouldn't be surprised at all if wine tasting was just a really banal conspiracy, but it is one of the most fun ways to feel superior to other people because you get to get drunk too. My only gripe is that it could be a little bit sharper and fizzier, but I'm not complaining. For just over a fiver it's totally acceptable to dish out at your New Years Eve party - #carpediem lads, the hangover is yet to come!
The verdict: 7/10
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