Category Archives: Wine Tasting

A Bit of Fizz for the Festive Season.

Whenever we want to celebrate, we tend to think of a bottle of Fizz… but what fizz? that is the question. I have put together a brief note on various bottles of Sparkling wines that will help you celebrate.


CHAMPAGNE – This is a region of France and only wine made in this small region, made to strict regulations and of specific grapes can be legally called Champagne. Prices range from £15.00 to £125,000.00 (Yes that is what someone paid recently!) and everything in between.

CREMANT Another French Sparkling wine, with stringent regulations as to the making of the wine, but not limited to one specific region of France. (in fact 7 regions, and one in Luxembourg) The wine is made in the Champagne Method but with many different grape varieties so the taste is quite different, as is the price tag. Spending £15.00 on a bottle of Cremant could be far better value and a more interesting taste than a very cheap bottle of Champagne in my opinion.


PROSECCO This is a grape and a region (Confusing I know) the style of Prosecco ranges from very sweet to bone dry and can be slightly sparkling or beautifully fizzy… (I repeat -confusing)  Prices range from £5.00 to £50.00 Personally I feel that about £12 to £15 will get you a wonderful, fresh, joyous Prosecco.

ASTI – This is a slightly sweet sparkling wine made in Piedmont and is often much lower in alcohol, (about 8%) A Moscato d’Asti is more of a frizzante (Lighter fizz) and usually much sweeter. (Try it with a bit of fruit cake… lovely!)

FRANCIACORTA A region in Northern Italy (Lombardy), the sparkling wines from this area are less famous than some of the other wines of Italy but they can be wonderful. Made to strict regulations in the Method Traditional this is a wonderful alternative to Champagne. With prices ranging from £20.00 to £200.00

LAMBRUSCO (Don’t Laugh!) with prices starting at £3.00 a bottle this wine has a strange reputation. HOWEVER – there are some wonderful wines from this region of Emilia. They also make sparkling red wines that are full bodied, full flavoured and fizzy! The reds start at about £10.00 a bottle, go on give it a go, you will be surprised. (Pleasantly I hope.)


ESPUMANTE – This is the name given to Portuguese sparkling wine. It is produced throughout Portugal, however the quality assured wines must come from Northern Portugal. (Bairrada) and comply with stringent regulations. These are stamped VEQPRD. The cheapest sparkling wines from this country are injected with CO2 to give them the Fizz. Prices range from £8.00 to £80.00


CAVA – This is the name that springs to mind when thinking of Spanish Fizz. It is produced throughout Spain and is made in the traditional method and with prices ranging from £6.00 it is a good everyday fizz. This wine also comes in various styles, which I will touch on later.


Oh yes… We are now producing about 2 Million bottles of Fizz in England each year. Try some… you will be very pleasantly surprised.

Rest of the World

America, South Africa, Germany, Romania, Hungry, The Soviet Union,Austria, Canada, Australia and others all make sparkling wines either by the Method Traditional, or Charmat or by injecting CO2 into the wines.


Sweet – Doux – Dolce – Doce

Medium Sweet – Moelleux – Amabile – Meio Doce -Semidulce

Medium Dry – Demisec – Abboccato – Adamado/Meio Seco – Semiseco

Dry – Sec – Secco/Asciutto – Seco

Whatever you try – have fun with your Celebrations.


Alex the Wine Lady

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Filed under Alex the Wine Lady, Bat and Bottle, Cava, Champagne, Cremant, Franciacorta, Prosecco, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Tasting

Wine Tastings

I am hosting a couple of wine tastings  soon and so far the easiest part has been choosing the wines! The hard part is what and how much to say about the wines. Having to entertain 10 guests for 2 hours with 6 bottles of wine should be fairly easy, but I like to get it right.

What makes a good tasting? Here is my rough guide to hosting a wine tasting.

  • Get the numbers of guest right. Multiples of 10 is good, everyone gets a good share of the wine then. You should be able to get anywhere between 4 and 15 glasses out of a bottle depending on how generous you are.
  • Select wines that will be interesting and maybe something that
    people will not ordinarily drink. (A tasting is a chance to experience wines that you would not normally try.)
  • Themes can be interesting for example “Chardonnay from around the world”, “Pinks”, “Fizz”, or wines from a specific country or region. For a mixed tasting I like to start with a bit of fizz to help get a fun feel to the evening, two white wines, two red wines and then finish with either a Passito, pudding wine or sweet fizz.
  • Prepare the wines well in advance. (warm white wines will not go down well.)
  • Make sure there is water on the table for your guests.
  • Gauge the knowledge level of your guests. (Some tastings require lots more technical information, others require a more general approach.)
  • Tasting sheets are useful to the guest to note their preferences (and if you are also trying to sell the wines it helps with that too.)
  • Learn about the wines you are showing. Grape variety, region, wine maker, price etc.
  • Add a little humour. (People will remember a funny story about a wine a lot more than they will facts and statistics.)
  • Give people enough time to sample and discuss each wine. (especially if you have given them a generous amount to taste.)
  • Let them know where they can buy these wines if they like them. (or give a competitors name if they don’t like them.)
  • If you are doing food with the tasting then get foods that will enhance the wines not overpower them. Bread sticks or crackers are good, (they help to clean the palate for the next wine.) if you have big tannic red wines then some cheese will help soften the tannins. Serve a little pudding or sweet biscuit with the final wine if it is a pud wine or Passito.
  • Most importantly of all HAVE FUN!

If you live locally then I would be very happy to host a wine tasting for you (if you don’t live nearby why not host your own.) It is a great way to spend an evening. Either way…


Alex the Wine Lady

You can leave a message on this site or 

You can follow me on Facebook

or visit the web site for Bat and Bottle or Twitter @alexoharared or email me

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Filed under Alex the Wine Lady, Bat and Bottle, Funny, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Tasting