The newest Sparkling on the block

Ah! Champagne!

Like most, I love when someone orders a bottle of Champagne. It means that we are celebrating – that we are being spoilt – a treat,  that we are special. But when you break it down, the beauty of the sparkling in the bottle is what they are marketing to us. This and the exclusivity of it.. But this (the sparkling, not the P Diddy vibes) can be found elsewhere than on the chalky hills of Champagne, and it is equally good.

Along the rivers edge, around Saumur are some of the best renowned sparkling Caves. Making Methode Champenoise using the grapes of the region – Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. They also use Chardonnay and a bit of Pinot Noir in some of their wines, but for the most part they too play with the two grapes that we saw a huge amount of while we were on holiday.

The soil is paramount to this story, as it is with anything to do with farming in France. Unlike in other parts of the world, particularly in the New World, where we see less attention on this than perhaps we should, France sees its soil as the basic ingredient to anything. Without good soil, you get substandard product which is why the hills of Champagne are so prized. The soil of the Loire’s banks are rich and fertile. Areas away from the river are limestone but the ones along the banks also are made of chalky clay and this is ripe terroir for sparkling.

After indulging on a bottle of sparkling each day almost that we were there, I have truly ‘celebrated’ enough for us me, but there is still some more for you. We stock a lovely Vouvray Sparkling, which for £18 a bottle is a steal. Flinty bone dry and a perfect alternative next time you feel like celebrating or just for the hell of it.

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