BLOGS/CORRESPONDENTS Wine and Food Diary of Giles MacDonogh

A Little Sparkle

Written by Giles MacDonogh

A Little Sparkle

Posted: 2nd November 2021

It’s official – confirmed in last week’s budget – we are to become a nation of sparkling wine drinkers. The outmoded tax which penalised sparklers has been scrapped and unless the wine is over 15 percent ABV (and very few are), sparkling wines are actually going to come down in price in the spring. This is an obvious nod to the burgeoning production of sparkling wine in England and Wales which will not only make wines such as the very good champagne-style, bramley and apricot-scented Chapel Down I had from Tesco recently more competitive, it will also liberate (up a point) your foreign champagnes, proseccos, cavas and Sekts.


A few weeks before this new bounty was dangled before us, I was sent a collection of ‘Winzer Sekts’ made by my friend Fred Loimer in Langenlois in Austria. They were produced biodynamically on his two estates in the Kamptal and in the Thermenregion south of Vienna. A Winzersekt is a sparkling wine made by a small producer rather than some massive industrial concern. These are ten-a-penny in both Germany and Austria. The most expensive German examples can cost up to 100 Euros a bottle and boast a tradition going back over 150 years. Loimer’s wines were shipped by Oddbins, but that seems to have ceased. If they were here they would still sell for less than Chapel Down.

Loimer’s sparklers are all a touch on the austere side and had me thinking of baking soda. The Reserva Extra Brut, for example, had just two grams of sugar in it (a good deal less than Chapel Down) and tasted quite salty. The best of them were the Rosé which boasted a panoply of fruits from quinces and peaches to strawberries and honey and the lemon-zesty Blanc de Blancs which was a real pleasure to drink. Loimer also showed his still wine Gumpold with a gorgeous lemony acidity and a very impressively structured 2019 Pinot Noir also from the Thermenregion called Anning.

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Giles MacDonogh

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