My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

The 2019 Muddy Stilettos Awards are now closed

Winners announced Thursday 23rd May

Muddy Stilettos Awards logo
Reader Treats Just For You!

Fine Fizz

Brush up on your bubbles with Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Oh so you love a drop of fizz? Berry Bros. and Rudd’s wine advisor (ahem and ex-sommelier at The Pig), Paul Keating, talks us through some of the world’s best.

Pouring Champagne into flutes.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier

The Name Louis Roederer embodies the very essence of Champagne. Founded in 1833 by the man who’s name now adorns each meticulously produced bottle, Louis was somewhat of a visionary in the region. He would often forego convention, nurturing his vineyards and acquiring prestigious Grand Cru sights at a time when purchasing grapes from growers was the norm. This shows today in the House’s distinct rich style. It is truly one of the greats of Champagne!


Berry Bros. & Rudd Rosé Champagne by Marguet, Grand Cru

Benoît Marguet-Bonnerave, the fifth generation in the family, is at the helm of Champagne Marguet. Benoît has converted the family vineyards; situated in the Grand Cru villages of Ambonnay and perfectly named Bouzy, to biodynamic farming since 2009. He has been so successful with his rosé, that Berry Bros. & Rudd saw fit to make it their “house”.


Nyetimber Classic Cuvée, English Sparkling Wine

Produced in the village of West Chiltington in West Sussex, Nyetimber is, in my opinion, the best English sparkling wine currently available. That is not to say that there aren’t many absolutely stunning English sparklers on the market; there are. However, Nyetimber plays perfectly to my taste of a wine with depth and richness of character, offset perfectly by a fresh and exciting citrus element. It is certainly the wine I recommend most often to those wanting to try a bottle of our native bubbles.


Franciacorta Biondelli, Brut, Lombardy

At the risk of offending any Franciacorta aficionados amongst the readers, I will say that this Italian gem is only just coming to light amongst the wider wine community. Perhaps overshadowed by the rise in popularity of another Italian sparkling wine; Prosecco, Franciacorta is only now beginning to get the attention it rightly deserves. It is often described as Italy’s answer to Champagne, most likely because of the similarities in the grape varieties permitted in production and the wine making techniques used. I could not recommend more highly for those with an adventurous palate.


Bele Casel, Asolo Prosecco Superiore

Despite my deep-set love for Champagne, I cannot help but admire the meteoric rise of Prosecco over the past five years, and in the last three years alone there has been a 45% increase in the production. Us Brits, in particular, have taken quite a liking to it; we consumed around one third of the 400 million bottles produced in 2016. It’s easy to see why, as the Italian fizz epitomises the expression “cheap thrill”. It is fruity, uncomplicated, fun and a fraction of the price of Champagne. Who can complain about that!


2012 Cava Gramona, La Cuvée, Gran Reserva, Brut

I feel a little bit sorry for Cava. From my experience in the wine and spirits business, I’d say Cava has always been a not-quite forgotten footnote. Made from grape varieties that your everyday wine drinker probably won’t have heard of, it is often found at the price-point of good Prosecco but shares more character with Champagne due to the wine-making techniques used. This particular Cava, produced by legendary producer Gramona, is in stark contrast to the earthy, almost rubbery flavours that people associate with Cava; the legacy of mass-market mediocrity. I for one hope this is a sign of big things to come!


[Read more about BBR Basingstoke in our Little Black Book]

Like what you see? Scoot over to BBR’s wine warehouse shop and do keep an eye out for next month’s Masterclass. Paul will also come to your house, with his best Champagnes in tow, for a girls’ night-in with a difference.

Berry Bros & Rudd warehouse shop, Hamilton Close, Houndmills, Basingstoke, RG21 6YB

Find more ideas here


Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hampshire & Isle of Wight