Pop culture

by Sally Evans.

Summer, parties, Christmas, holidays, New Year – the very silly season is fast approaching. Time to blow up the pool inflatables and break out a bottle of bubbly to toast all that is good about life. No longer are we confined to the narrow choice between fancy French Champagne or low-brow Passion Pop confections. The quality of Australian sparkling wine made à la française has leapt forward in recent years, and these classic offerings have been joined by a raft of joyful, well-made fizzes that will delight the very grooviest of modern tastes.

Gartelmann Brittany’s Blanc de Blancs 2021

Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown in the Upper Hunter, this white wine made from white grapes (the meaning of blanc de blancs) displays the highly-desirable green apple, honey and stone fruit sherbet that we so love in a good sparkler. Continuing the tradition of the Gartelmann founders, wines are named after family members, Brittany being the eldest daughter of owner Matt Dillow. It has the length and complexity that indicate it will age well in the bottle. But why would you want to do that??

RRP $38 | www.gartelmann.com.au

Hungerford Hill Cardinal Sparkling Shiraz NV

Christmas for many means turkey and sparkling red. A truly Aussie tradition as sparkling red wine is a unique Australian speciality, a wine-style produced nowhere else in the world. This beauty is sourced from all three of the company’s vineyards, naturally fermented, and blended from a range of vintages to maintain consistency of style before aging in old French wood. Cardinal red in colour, this smart drop is spicy and savoury, with layers of ripe plummy fruit and earthy goodness. The fine bead (bubbles to you) add a rich creaminess to the texture.

RRP $45 | www.hungerfordhill.com.au

Hollydene JUUL Blanc de Blancs 2008

This elegant classic sits at the more serious end of the spectrum. While the grapes were sourced further afield, from the cool-climate Victorian region of the Mornington Peninsula, it is an award-winner from Hollydene in the Upper Hunter, who are to be applauded for committing the time and investment required to make sparkling wine of this quality. Made from Chardonnay grapes harvested in 2008, it is made traditionally and has been given time to mature and develop in the bottle, resulting in a wine of balanced acidity, delicate citrus and green apple fruit, a crisp dry finish, with the toasty waft of the French boulangerie. Ooh la la.

RRP $85 | www.hollydeneestate.com

Talits Été Rosé + Bubbles 2021

From the Provençal paradise that is Talits Estate in the Broke/Fordwich district, this very modern drop is all about summer, or été as they call it in France. Fresh and modern in both presentation and style, it is the perfect afternoon aperitif. Made from the red grape Merlot, it is a pretty salmon pink in colour; light, dry, floral and delicate on the palate. Glasses of this engaging drop will slip by without you even noticing. As it says on the label – à votre santé.

RRP $40 | www.talitsestate.com.au

Tatler Frizzante Semillon 2019

This is no time to be too serious about wine! The joyfully-named Frizzante is a fun, lightly sparkling wine made from Hunter Valley Semillon grown on the Tatler estate in Lovedale. Lower in alcohol, this delightful off-dry frizzie wine has a lemony palate with zingy acidy. Go crazy and create a delicious summer spritz with a slug of gin or vodka. The
cool packaging with beer-bottle seal is sure to appeal to the young adult rellies at the annual family get-together.

RRP $27 | www.tatlerwines.com.au