Three Years of Winter Warming
4th January 2021
I’m sure that we all enjoy our Champagne and sparkling wines during the summer months, those warm sun ray filled lazy days in the garden enjoying barbecues, parties, swimming pools and hot tubs. A refreshing glass of something fizzy goes down a treat when the sun is shining and the weather is warm.
Though as much as we adore the sunny weather here in the UK and that excuse to open a bottle of wine with even more delight when it’s bubbly, there are three other seasons of the year that also causes us to pop those corks. Throughout the year we have plenty of reasons to enjoy sparkling wines such as:
- New Years Eve
- Valentines Day
- Wedding Season
- Christmas Season
Most sales of Champagne and sparkling wine take place in order to supply the Christmas period, many supermarkets will say that 50% of the sparkling stock will be sold during the months of November and December.
“360 million glasses of champagne or sparkling wine are consumed on New Year’s Eve alone… ” source BauscherHepp
So, in fact, the Winter seems to be a highly popular time for us to enjoy sparkling wine it would seem. With this in mind, it was three years back now that Glass of Bubbly decided to add an additional category to their annual awards specifically towards the colder season – The ‘Winter Warmer‘ category was born.
Winter Warmer category: “A perfect companion for a winter’s evening sat in front of the fire, likely to be a fuller flavoured wine.”
Even though we think of enjoying winter more with warmer drinks and even wines (mulled wine), there is still plenty of fresh and crisp sparkling wines that we like to indulge in and especially when it comes to pairing with rich gastronomic delights. Champagne makes a very popular appearance during the winter months and even the sales of Prosecco aren’t affected.
Winter Warmer sparkling wines
“It is really interesting to see what our judges interpretate as a ‘winter style’ sparkling wine. For me it is something that I can picture myself holding a glass of sat in front of a roaring open fire with a good book to read. That wine that reminds me of those darker and colder evenings, snow on rooftops, Christmas day looming and maybe even ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ movie on the TV. Most times for me this will be a heavier style wine, a red sparkling most likely those also a spicy character showing.” Christopher Walkey
As mentioned, mulled wine makes a very hearty appearance during the winter months and with this in mind, what characters are we looking for in a winter sparkling wine? Is it spices, is it the heavy style, maybe we think of dark berries thus a red sparkling wine or maybe we are looking for merely a clean, clear and fresh glass of bubbly? Are we sitting down to a hearty dinner, maybe sat in front of an open fire or just stood looking out the window and the snow settling on the ground?
In most occasions we will be doing something inside, hopefully, in the warmth, the setting will be a relaxed one, the evening having drawn in early. From my personal experiences and preference, I feel the requirement is for a wine of character and something that though fresh and chilled, also can add a degree of warmth in its aromas and flavours. A darker shade character wine, something almost certainly expressing spices, berry fruits.
The following sparkling wines are all winners of the Winter Warmer Trophy:
2018: Alberto Quacquarini – Vernaccia di Serrapetrona DOCG Dolce
Tasting notes: “Wonderful fresh dark berry fruits on the nose along with blueberry and a touch of spice. Flavours are rich, sweet though not overly, fresh blackberries, prune and a touch of black pepper.”
2019: Vinarstvo Rebula – Br’stovska Penina Teran
Tasting notes: “Dark berry fruits, forest floor on the nose. Flavours are dry with medium acidity. Mostly dark berry fruits are expressed with a hint of black pepper.”
2020: Fox & Fox – Expression Rosé 2014
Tasting notes: “Sweet peach, raspberry, orange floral with a touch of spice on the nose. Fruity delights in flavours with an orange floral and spice touch.”
Available to purchase directly from the winery: Fox & Fox
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.