Once upon a time, the Spring Racing Carnival heralded the start of sparkling season. From the middle of spring, newspaper inserts were filled with the best deals on champagne, with the major chains cutting the price of Moet and Veuve Clicquot to ridiculous prices.
Whether it’s the grand marques, grower champagnes, prosecco or Australian bubbles, we’ve got you covered.
Champagne is often a blend of chardonnay for elegance, pinot noir for perfume and pinot meunier for body – and champagne houses often have a preference for one grape to be dominant.
See blanc de blanc on a label and you’ll be getting a wine made from chardonnay. Blanc de noir is made from the red grapes, pinot noir and meunier.
Hailing from Catalonia, Cava is made from the macabeu, xarel-lo and parellada grapes. Law decrees that cava must be made in the same way as champagne – with a second fermentation and ageing in the bottle – and vines cannot be irrigated.
Fresh and fruity, prosecco is actually a grape rather than a region. Prosecco’s roots are in Italy’s north-east near Veneto and the best examples come from around Valdobbiadene.
Segura Viudas Brut NV
Cava; $15; 12%
The dominant macabeu grapes highlight the wine’s fresh acidity and floral, fruity flavours, with peach, tropical fruits and lime.
Dry and refreshing, it’s soft, easy to drink and quite the bargain.
Airlie Bank Chardonnay Pinot Noir NV
Yarra Valley; $22; 13%
Airlie Bank is part of the Punt Road stable of wines. Smelling of lemon zest, white stonefruits and marzipan, this hits the mouth with a wash of vigorous bubbles that deliver rich flavours and pithy citrus.
Umberto Luigi Domenico Cosmo Extra Dry NV
Prosecco DOC; $20; 11.5%
Smelling of pear, Jonathan apple and biscuit, this is a clean and crisp wine – the perfect start to a long lunch – with a smooth mousse, chalky grip and gentle flavours to its lengthy finish.
Aubert et Fils Brut NV
Champagne; $25; 12%
From Epernay in Champagne and exclusive to Dan Murphy’s, this is about as cheap as champagne gets in Australia.
Golden stonefruit and Salada biscuit aromas lead to a vigorous mousse, lemon sherbert vibrancy and a toasty finish.
Serge Mathieu Tradition Blanc de Noirs Brut NV
Champagne; $49.99; 12.5%
Blanc de Noirs is 100 per cent pinot noir or, as the label says, pur pinot. It is subtle and complex, with cherry, brioche and chalky minerality – as crisp and refreshing as a spring morning.
Bay of Fires Pinot Noir Chardonnay Rose
Tasmania; $35; 12.5%
This is a cracking rose – one of Australia’s best. Bursting with strawberries and citrus, it’s lively and refreshing with a terrific structure. There’s creaminess and grip and it’s a joy to drink. Just delicious.
Chandon Brut Rose NV
Australia; $32; 12.5%
If pink had a flavour, it would be this – it’s all rose petals, strawberries, cherries and Scotch finger biscuits. It’s bright, refreshing and has zippy grippy acid. This would be perfect with a parfait.
Domaine Parigot & Richard Cremant de Bourgogne Rose NV
Burgundy; $42.30; 12.5%
Using 100 per cent pinot noir, the grape’s strawberries and raspberry traits lead to smoky berry and blood orange flavours. There’s a touch of sweetness, but a line of chalky acid brings it into balance.
Louis Barthelemy Brut Amethyste NV
Champagne; $55.80; 12.5%
Rich, complex aromas of citrus, stonefruit, salada and lemon zest lead into a vigorous mousse and intense, crisp flavours.
Billecart Salmon Brut Rose NV
Champagne; $120; 12%
The NV Champagne rose that all others are gauged against. Aniseed, red berry, cherry and grilled peach aromas are complex and refined and there’s a line of energetic pithy citrus and cherry, raspberry flavours.
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006
Champagne; $350; 12.5%
This wine is made using chardonnay grapes from grand cru regions. This is a complex champagne, with finesse and power, stonefruit, a bright orange and lemon rind aroma and a touch of escargot pastry.
There’s an underlying drive to the grapefruit, white peach, fennel seed and mineral salinity
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- A piece of the action: Celebrity race horse owners
- Celebrity fashionistas show you how to do spring racing in style
- Spring racing fashion: one dress, five days
- Save the date for these amazing spring racing events
- Spring Racing Edition, women of influence
- Spring racing fashion: One man, two budgets
- Where to enjoy a Champagne breakfast before the races
- Spring racing fashion: hats that can make or break your outfit
- Look like a winner for spring racing regardless of your budget
- 10 reasons Caulfield is the place to be this spring
- Impress your foodie friends with a luxe spring racing picnic hamper
- How to buy a Melbourne Cup winner without really trying
- Raelene Harrison is driving Racing Victoria’s new equine welfare program
- Champion jockey Craig Williams’ sights are on the race that got away
- What’s become of our past Melbourne Cup winners?
- The secret life of celebrity wranglers
- Fashions change but Oaks Day remains a spring racing favourite
- Melbourne Cup trainer Lee Freedman has unfinished business
- Take a journey beyond the marquees at Flemington
- Meet Maddie Raymond, the unsung heroine of last year’s Cup win
- Get in the know with the Drongo’s guide to race lingo
- Caulfield ups the ante on food, fashion and fun for spring racing