When it comes to getting your hands on the best-tasting fizzy whites, you don’t always need to buy French, as our fine-palated wine professional Peter Richards explains…
 


THE FRENCH FANCY: Champagne


Do you get what you pay for?

“You’re undoubtedly paying for a name and that special, luxury feeling, but you can’t deny that all the red tape around keeping it top quality does help make the good champagnes worth the spend.”

Get the most for your money:

“The difference between a non-vintage champagne, which is your basic bottle, and a vintage is only an extra five or ten quid, but the quality is always so much better.” 

Get a brilliant bottle for: £25-£50
 


THE ITALIAN MONEY-SPINNER: Prosecco


Do you get what you pay for?

“Prosecco is made in a completely different way to champagne. It’s mass-produced, made quickly and sold quickly. It’s produced cheap and sold cheap.”

Get the most for your money:

“Make sure you buy a bottle labelled with the letters D.O.C.G. – this stands for ‘Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita’ and means the maker will have had to follow some basic quality criteria.”

Get a brilliant bottle for: £10

 


THE SPANISH PRETENDER: Cava


Do you get what you pay for?

“Cava doesn’t come close to champagne. Even though it goes through the same processes of blending and ageing in a cellar, the raw materials aren’t in the same league.”

Get the most for your money:

The really cheap stuff is hideously bad, and the hit-and-miss ratio for cava is a lot worse than in the other three, so once you find a good one, stick with it.”

Get a brilliant bottle for: £10-£15
 


THE ENGLISH HERO: English Sparkling


Do you get what you pay for?

“This is your champagne alternative. The UK climate is close to France’s, and the methods of production and flavours are close too. It’s pricier because there’s not as much made.”

Get the most for your money:

“The chalky soil in the south-east of the UK is most similar to the Champagne region, so the fizz from there will be the closest you’ll get without buying French.”

Get a brilliant bottle for: £20-£30