I saw it as ‘a sign’ , here I was at 1 Angel Square, the huge shiny HQ of the Co Op in Manchester – for a tasting of their Champagne and sparkling wine range.
As I was excitedly ushered through to their purpose built tasting room I thought “I’m in heaven” – not just because the room was absolutely stuffed full of wines from around the world, but it also has very shiny white surfaces and walls which made me feel like I actually was at the pearly gates.
The wine buyers, however, did not have wings but were delightful and had chosen 4 bottles of fizz which represented some of the many types now available from their stores.
I can honestly say that all the wines were good and I’m not having to be ‘kind’ about any of them – which certainly helps when you are face to face with the guys who are responsible for sourcing wines and in some cases having a special blend made exclusively for the company.
First off was Codorniu Gran Cremant Cava priced at £9.99. It is something I’ve seen on their shelves but never tried. I tend to go for their bargain own brand Cava at a staggering £5.99 which I use a lot in my tastings.
The Codorniu wine has a really interesting story as the producer won a legal battle to use the term ‘Cremant’, something which French Cremant producers fought to protect. Who knew that Codorniu had actually trademarked the term as far back as 1924? What clever chaps they were.
Anyway, I digress. This wine is a real brige between Cava and Prosecco in style. It is dry (brut) but with lovely fruity flavours to balance theusual toasty-ness you get wiht wines made using the traditional method. Try it and see what you think.
Second was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of the Balfour range from English Winery Hush Heath in Kent and they have made this Foxwood 1503 exclusively for the Co Op. At an impressive £16.99, it is a great price for a quality English sparkler. It is crisp and fresh with green fruit/citrus flavours and aromas. Dlightfully ‘English’ I would say.
The next two are a non vintage and vintage versions of the multi award-winning Les Pionniers brut Champagne. Made by the Piper Heidseick Champagne House no less!
The NV comes in around £17 which is amazing value and the vintage is fabulous at around £24.99. Both dry, toasty and very quaffable!
I certainly felt like I was in paradise – or my idea of what that would entail – non stop fizz and good stuff at that.