Tasting Vintage Sparkling Wines From Around The World – 2017
30th May 2022
With every great harvest, a vintage is sure to follow, welcome back to the fourth article of this exclusive series to Glass of Bubbly, which will take you around the world tasting the vintages of different years.
We’ve already done 3 vintage years with 2014, 2015 and 2016 vintage Sparkling Wines, let’s now explore the tastes of 2017.
We will be trying 4 different Sparkling Wines, from 4 different wineries, from 4 different countries, including:
- South Africa
But first, What is Vintage Sparkling Wine?
To class your bottle of Sparkling Wine as vintage, the grapes used in that bottle must have all been grown in the same year, a lot of bottles out there are N.V. meaning Non Vintage, each harvest the wineries will extract the grape juice from the grapes, but will normally store back some of the juice in case next years harvest doesn’t produce as good of quality as the year before.
If a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine has a year on the front or back of the label, then you will know that the bottle of Sparkling Wine was made using only the grapes grown in that year.
Let’s Start Our Vintage Tasting Journey Around The World – 2017 Edition
Cape Town is one of the best-known wine regions in South Africa, with the Chenin Blanc grape being the most widely grown.
10 Interesting Facts About South Africa
- The Republic of South Africa is South Africa’s official name.
- South Africans refer to wineries/vineyards as Wine Farms.
- Outside of Europe, South Africa is one of the oldest wine-growing regions.
- South Africa is the 8th largest wine-producing region in the world.
- The first harvest of grapes in South Africa was in 1659 by Dutch Colonists in the Western Cape.
- There are a lot of carjackers in South Africa, so to combat this, it is legal to attach small flamethrowers to your car.
- Ever wanted to have a drink inside a tree? In South Africa, there is a bar inside a 6,000 year-old tree.
- South Africa has a wide range of environments including deserts, mountains, subtropical forests, wetlands, grasslands, bush, and escarpments.
- When it comes to clean drinking water, South Africa ranks 3rd for being the cleanest in the world.
- Off the coast of South Africa there are more than 2,500 shipwrecks with most of them dating back over 500 years.
Graham Beck – South African Sparkling Wine
Located in Breede River Valley in South Africa, Graham Beck was founded in 1983 and released their first N.V. in 1993.
It all started when the late Graham Beck purchased a farm just outside of Robertson, a town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, he had the ambition to establish a world-class winery.
Graham Beck was an entrepreneur with success stories within property and coal mining, his global business ventures enabled him to pursue two great passions successfully – wine and horses/horse racing, both of which continue today in the hand of his son Antony.
Graham Beck: “Passionately pursuing the perfect bubble.”
If you would like to find out more about Graham Beck then you can check out this article, Graham Beck – The Bubbly Story.
Graham Beck – Blanc de Blancs 2017 – Tasting Notes
Aroma 👃 “Golden yellow citrus, yellow floral, nutty, oily walnut and pastry on the aroma.”
Flavour 👅 “Silky yellow blossom, yellow fruits, minerals, with hints of nutty flavours.”
Trophy Winner in the Classic & Elegant Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021
Niederösterreich is Austria’s most popular wine region and the Grüner Veltliner grape is the most widely planted grape of around 30% of the entire production.
10 Interesting Facts About Austria
- Austria is officially called the ‘Republic of Austria’.
- Austria makes less than 1% of the world’s wine.
- 75% of Austrian Wine is drunk in Austria.
- The official language of Austria is German.
- In 1938 Austria ceased to exist as an independent country, it wasn’t until 1955 that it officially reclaimed its independence again, this was because Austria was incorporated into Nazi Germany.
- The Austrian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world, dating all the way back to 1191, in the battle of the Third Crusade, the tunic of Duke Leopold V of Austria became covered in blood, upon removing his wide belt/sash, a big white line was revealed, showing the red-white-red color combination you see today on Austria’s flag, so the story goes.
- Austria is home to the world’s oldest zoo, called Tiergarten Schönbrunn, located in Vienna and established in 1752.
- Austrians have magic words for ordering wine, they just have to say ‘ein Achtel’, this translates to an eighth but when said in Austria it means an eighth of a litre, which is the most popular serving size in Vienna.
- Just over 62% of Austria is covered in mountains, it’s called the Austrian Alps
- Austria has 13 peaks that exceed 3,000 meters high and 34 peaks that exceed 2,000 meters.
Steininger – Austrian Sparkling Wine
Located in their beautiful hometown of Langenlois in Austria, surrounded by the Kamptal Valley, Weingut Steininger offers the best conditions for their typical wines and sparkling wines, and they’ve found the perfect combination between tradition and modern cellar technology, without ever compromising on quality.
Weingut Steininger – Sauvignon Blanc Reserve Sekt 2017 – Tasting Notes
Aroma 👃 “A beautiful display of herbal gardens, herbs, freshly cut nettles, freshly cut grass combined with floral, freshly picked flowers and more on the aroma.”
Flavour 👅 “Fizzy flowers and herbs, nettles, soft stinging nettles, white floral and more on the palate.”
Trophy Winner in the Herbal Gardens Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021
Cava is Spain’s most popular Sparkling Wine growing region but the island of Lanzarote is a place of exquisite vineyards and gorgeous bubbles.
10 Interesting Facts About Spain
- Spain is officially called the ‘Kingdom of Spain’.
- Spain has over 400 different grape varieties.
- The history of Spanish Wine dates back over 3,000 years.
- Spain accounts for 13% of the world’s vineyards with 961,000 hectares
- The tooth fairy doesn’t exist in Spain, instead, a small mouse called Ratoncito Pérez comes along and collects your teeth and then leaves behind either money or a small gift.
- The annual festival held in Spain, that requires you to throw thousands of tomatoes at each other, is called La Tomatina.
- In Spain, McDonald’s serves beer.
- Spain remained neutral during both WW1 and WW2, but during WW2 a Spanish double agent received both the Iron Cross from the Germans and an MBE from the British.
- Britain accidentally invaded Spain for 5 minutes in 2002.
- The youngest king ever to rule was Alfonso XIII of Spain, he was crowned king the day he was born.
Bodegas Los Bermejos – Spanish Sparkling Wine
The beautiful island of Lanzarote, which is the birthplace of this Sparkling Wine, is known for its year-round warm weather volcanic landscape, glistening beaches and clear blue sea. On the Island, they have Timanfaya National Park which is known for surrounding the Timanfaya Volcano the rocky landscape around it was created by the volcano erupting in 1730 until 1736. The coastline of Lanzarote has been shaped by volcanos ever since it rose from the ocean.
Lanzarote was the second island to emerge from the ocean floor about 11 million years ago, it is also the closest Island to Africa. 40% of its territory is protected natural spaces, including the Timanfaya National Park.
Lanzarote is one of the 7 Canary Islands of the coast of Africa, to be more precise, off the coast of Morocco, although the islands are much closer to Africa, they are part of The Kingdom of Spain.
Los Bermejo Winery, owned by one of the most important families in Lanzarote, it wasn’t until 2001 they really got started in the production of wine, and in just a few years they became the oenological head of the island. Oenology refers to the science and study of wine and winemaking.
They say their wines reflect the richness of their land, landscapes and the efforts of their farmers, and after tasting their Sparkling Wine, I’m in no doubt that that’s true, the area where they plant their vines are surrounded by volcanic ash and black stones, their vineyard looks nothing like the traditional set up for vines, it is very unique and is an amazing sight to see. Available to buy from the Wine Shop Lanzarote.
Bodegas Los Bermejos – Bermejo Malvasía Volcánica Brut Nature – Tasting Notes
Aroma 👃 “Yellow stone fruits and lime on a bed of black ash, (minerals) the vines are grown in a fascinating way on volcanic ash.”
Flavour 👅 “Smooth yellow citrus, yellow fruits, minerals and volcanic Ash on the palate.”
Silver Medal Winner in the Gastronomic Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021.
A small country with a big punch when it comes to wine, with over 28,000 wineries and the world’s oldest vine.
10 Interesting Facts About Slovenia
- Slovenia is home to the world’s oldest vine, it is believed to be around 400 years old and it still produces grapes to this day.
- Slovenia has a population of 2.1 million with over 28,000 wineries, there is no shortage of quality wine for the Slovenian people to enjoy.
- Around 94% of the wine produced in Slovenia never leaves the country, it is enjoyed by the Slovenian people.
- An estimated 6.1 million liters of Slovenian Wine are exported each year, to countries like Czech Republic, Croatia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and the United States.
- It’s claimed there’s a vineyard for every 70 people in Slovenia, whether this is true or not, Slovenia does produce a wide range of amazing Sparkling Wines.
- Slovenia is home to some of the most stunning caves, with over 10,000 caves discovered so far, that number keeps rising.
- Both Andrej and Marija Štremfelj on the 7th October 1990 became the first married couple to reach the top of Mount Everest, starting from the South Col.
- The capital of Slovenia is Ljubljana and translates into ‘The Loved One’.
- Around 54% of the total land area in Slovenia is covered in forests with over 500 brown bears living there.
- Fancy spending a night in a prison cell, Hostel Celica allows you to stay overnight in a renovated cell that still keeps its prison cell appearance.
Istenič – Slovenian Sparkling Wine
Istenič has one of those stories that inspires you to try, back in 1968 the family bought an abandoned farmhouse along with 0.1 hectares of vineyard, they produced their first Sparkling Wine using the traditional method, naming it after their daughter Barbara.
Fast forward to today, they now have an annual production of 200,000 bottles, Istenič is a highly respected and leading house in Bizeljsko in terms of both volume and quality, they’ve also taken home many awards including medals from the Glass of Bubbly Awards and with 11 bottles of Sparkling Wine to choose from, you’ll definitely find one that you love, you can also still buy a bottle of their Barbara Sparkling Wine that they started all those years ago.
Istenic – Prestige Extra Brut 2017 – Tasting Notes
Aroma 👃 “Yellow floral, yellow blossom and yellow fruits on a thin layer of silky honey on the aroma.”
Flavour 👅 “Smooth and silky yellow blossom, yellow floral, yellow fruits, subtle sweet yellow citrus and hints of dried pineapple on the palate.”
Silver Medal Winner in the Spring Fling Category at the Glass of Bubbly Awards 2021
A Final Note
Well, this concludes our second adventure into the world of Vintage Sparkling Wines, there are many, many more Vintages to try from around the world, and there are still plenty of 2017 Vintages that we can still explore, stay tuned for the next Glass of Bubbly exclusive article on Around The World Vintage Sparkling Wines.
A special thank you to Fact Slides for helping me source out these amazing facts.
Image Credit: South Africa – Austria – Spain – Slovenia
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.