Fizz

16 May

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It may have come to your attention that I like a bit of fizz. Certainly if you’ve read any of the brunch reviews you’ll know that whether or not they serve the sparkling stuff with the package rates a mention. However, I’ve hesitated about writing this blog because, let’s face it, I really don’t know very much about the whole subject. My palate is far from sophisticated and I’ve always rather liked the attitude that what makes a good wine is whether you like it or not.
I am also strongly of the opinion that life is too short to drink bad wine. It has been the desire to avoid some, frankly, undrinkable (and expensive out here) stuff that has led me to read up a bit on the subject. I’ve been trying to put together what I’ve found out and this is the result. So, as our main weekend activity of late is to sample as much as we can of what this fine city has to offer in the way of dining experiences, I thought I’d share. OK, pretentious post time.
One always has to start with Champagne, of course. To be honest, my experience of the French fizz has been mostly limited to what’s served up for the toast at weddings and it hasn’t been particularly favourable. However, we recently shared a bottle or two provided by a friend who, although Norwegian, lives in Paris so she probably knows what to pick. This I happily quaffed. But, well, I still don’t get what all the fuss is about. A bit of research has probably revealed why.
You see, one of the grape varieties used to make it is Chardonnay and I don’t like Chardonnay. To me it always tastes of grapefruit and I loath grapefruit. I’m told Champagne has flavours of citrus, peach, white cherry, toast and almond but, up until recently, all I’ve got is the bitter, citrus punch of grapefruit. So, maybe, when I finally sampled one that I quite liked it was because that particular blend had down-played the Chardonnay. Well, it makes sense to me. If this is your thing, however, drink it with shellfish, pickled vegetables and crispy fried appetizers. Oh and crisps apparently.
On to Cava. We both love this and drank an awful lot of it during our time in Spain, taking a crate of the stuff home with us when we left. I’ve never understood why I could rave about what is usually seen as the poor relation of French fizz but not the original. Now I think I know. Produced in pretty much the same way as Champagne, but not allowed to say so on the bottle, it uses different grapes. Light bulb moment! You can get it in a range from very dry to sweet but we have always stuck to the dry “Brut”. You see Cava described as fruity dry apples, earthy mushrooms and having “floral notes”. Now doesn’t that sound nicer than grapefruit? Give Cava a go with ham, fried fish, sushi, tapas, of course, but also, surprisingly, barbecue.
When passing through Italy on the boat we both enjoyed Prosecco but it has taken a stay in the Middle East to really appreciate it, being the most readily available of the popular fizzes here. This is made by a different, more modern, method than the other two and it does show in the character. Slightly off dry, it now outsells Champagne world wide and I can definitely understand why. Some may be a bit snooty about it but it really is a matter of personal taste.
The use of a single grape variety and the less complicated production method makes it lighter, somehow, fresh and frothy. There’s more fruit aromas (green apple, honeydew melon and pear) as well as cream, hazelnut and vanilla apparently. And don’t forget the honeysuckle. Is that making your mouth water? Any liveaboards still reading this would be wise to fill every nook and crany of available space at the Italian supermarkets.

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It’s supposed to be an ideal match with cured meats and fruit-driven appetizers like prosciutto-wrapped melon and middle-weight Asian dishes such as Thai noodles and sushi. Frankly, I’m happy to drink it throughout a brunch with maybe the odd glass of red for a nice piece of rare beef. Oh, and a cocktail to finish. What a life.

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4 Responses to “Fizz”

  1. Christine May 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Only expensive Prosecco in Greece, and we won´t have a chance to buy it in Turkey either, I´m afraid…… We´ll find some Turkish bubbles:)

    • lamputts May 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

      I’ll talk Neil into stocking up at the duty free :))

  2. Liz May 26, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Think the Prosecco shortage may be down to you two rather than the poor harvest😉x

    • lamputts May 26, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

      We do get through a bit, ha, ha

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