If you ask us, the festive season calls for a glass of something special. Whether it's a toast before lunch on Christmas Day or a tipple as Big Ben chimes on New Year's Eve, a nice glass of something bubbly can transform any gathering into a celebration.
But with a national rise in our love for all things sparkling, how well do we actually know our Champagne from our Cava? Get to know your fizz and how to pick the perfect bottle for your festive celebrations with our handy guide...
Origin Champagne, France
Grape Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier
How it's made A sparkling wine can only be called Champagne if it’s made from the grapes grown in the Champagne region, using the ‘traditional method’ or ‘méthode Champenoise’. This means the second fermentation takes place in the bottle before the Champagne is aged.
Our expert, Asda Buying Manager, Ed Betts says "A tip for great tasting Champagne: the finer the bubbles, the better quality the Champagne." Tiny bubbles mean smoother foam, so fizz is best served in a tall, thin flute glass, which keeps the bubbles for longer. As a rough guide when buying Champagne, a 75cl bottle should fill about 6 Champagne flutes so there's plenty to go round.
OUR PICK OF THE TOP CHAMPAGNES TO BUY
Here are our picks for the top Champagnes to see you through the festive season:
1. For that perfect all-rounder, easy-drinking fizz that works well for all occasions. Try this Benoît Renaud Brut Champagne (below on the right) Fragrant and fruity with a combination of citrus, vanilla and butter flavours, this tipple goes well with fish, white meat or makes a great apertif. Bottoms up!
2. Or you could try a bottle of refreshing Extra Special Louis Bernard Premier Cru Brut Champagne (below on the left), which balances creamy vanilla flavours with a smooth fruitiness.
3. After something that little bit special? Louvel Fontaine Brut Rosé Champagne (above on the left) offers a fruity, rich and generous blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with hints of fresh strawberry and cherry, plus lots of lovely bubbles.
4. Or if you prefer a drier glass, opt for Pierre Darcys Brut Champagne (above on the right). This well-balanced, crisp fizz leaves you with the fresh delicate aromas of lemon and apple - and an elegant dry finish.
Origin Veneto, Italy
How it's made Unlike Champagne, Prosecco’s second fermentation takes place in a big tank, not a bottle. This more affordable ‘tank method’ makes a lighter, fluffier bubble.
If you want a Prosecco with 'pop' check out one of these
1. For a delicious, easy-drinking sparkler with zesty lemon, pear and apple, look no futher than this Shield Prosecco (second from the left above). Perfect when paired with shellfish, seafood, chick, veal or Grana Padano cheese.
2. Or we think this refreshing citrus and green apple flavoured 24KT Prosecco DOC (third from the left above) makes the perfect gift with its gold bottle. And the creamy bubbles make it a great tipple for pairing with canapés too - think fried fish, oysters, mussels and spiced foods.
Origin Spain, especially Catalonia
Grape Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel.lo
How it’s made Made like Champagne using ‘méthode Champenoise’, only in Spain, not the Champagne region – and sometimes Cava is aged for longer.
Looking for a Cava with that little something extra? Try these
1. This classic Spanish sparkler, Marques Del Norte Cava Brut (far right above), is fresh with crisp apple flavours. Great with orange juice for a Christmas morning Buck's Fizz or try it with tapas, pasta and cheese.
2. And finally, for something a little more romantic, the delicately flavoured 24KT Pinot Noir Rose (far left above) is the perfect choice. With notes of white flowers, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries this sweeter tipple is bound to impress. Ideal when paired with soft cheese of seafood.