Sparkling wine’s universal appeal means winemakers around the world have taken to perfecting the art of secondary fermentation, resulting in countless top-notch bubbly. Here, we round up our top picks from across the Singapore Airlines’ network. After making some of the obvious stops in France, Italy and Spain, we continue on to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the States
Champagne is one of the world’s most well-known sparkling wines and is often considered the gold standard by which all other bubbly is judged. As a premier champagne label, Moët & Chandon is steeped in history with its inception dating as far back as 1743 to the reign of King Louis XV. Headquartered in Épernay in France’s Champagne region, the estate is easily accessible from Paris via train or car. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cellars to experience its history and enjoy a sampling of the champagnes after. The estate is currently closed for winter and reopens 4 February 2019 for weekdays only. From April to November it will be open daily.
While champagne’s designation is strictly governed by both permitted grape varieties and region of production, the term crémant refers to a much broader range of wines, and covers some eight French appellations (protected regional designation), including Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux and Crémant de Limoux.
Crémant d’Alsace is particularly distinguished and is the best-selling French sparkling wine after champagne. The Joseph Cattin wine estate, a family estate since 1720, offers guests a tantalising menu of bubbly experiences. Sample some of the estate’s best at The Belvedere, their wine bar with a magnificent rooftop terrace, or enjoy a bicycle, walking or even Segway tour through the vineyards and neighbouring villages.
Out of the northeastern corner of Italy comes prosecco, one of the world’s most popular types of sparkling wine. Prosecco’s second fermentation happens in steel vats as opposed to in the bottle, which makes its production costs more affordable.
The Treviso foothills offer undulating scenic landscapes and superb grape-growing conditions to produce excellent Prosecco. Be sure to visit Col Vetoraz, an estate perched high on the vine-covered hills, which was founded the Miotto family in the 1830s and who, to this day, remain involved in the business.
The wide assortment of sparkling wine produced by Borgoluce exemplifies prosecco’s fresh and palatable flavour. What makes a visit to Borgoluce even more enticing is the estate’s undeniable love and respect for the natural environment. Over 1,200 sprawling hectares of rich and fertile land is used to farm cattle, swine, olives and honey, all in eco-sustainable ways. This means that visiting Borgoluce will likely include samplings of premium Prosecco, fresh buffalo mozzarella and a tantalising selection of cured meats, honey and olive oil.
Borgoluce also boasts agritourism accommodation (with a phyto-purified, natural swimming pool) allowing guests to experience the surrounding nature in an enjoyable and environmentally friendly fashion.
Cava is another favourite around the world. Hailing from the sunny shores of Spain, cava is another perennially popular variety of sparkling wine enjoyed the world over. Generally made using a combination of Macabeu, Parellada and Xarello grape varieties, cava is primarily produced in Penedès, a specific region of Catalonia.
Boasting some 270 hectares of prime Mediterranean vineyards, Juvé & Camps have been offering several cava varieties including artful blends and distinct monovarietals for generations.
The skilful prowess of South Africa’s viticulturists is largely well-known among oenophiles. This global acclaim extends to the nation’s sparkling varieties, which generally consist of the classic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. In South Africa the term Méthode Cap Classique (or MCC) is used.
Arguably the finest example of MCC is Graham Beck. Though the estate and its award-winning range of sparkling wine are relatively young (the late Graham Beck purchased the wine farm in the early 1980s), the sparkling wine label is considered superlative. The farm is situated in the charming wine-producing town of Robertson – about a two-hour drive east of Cape Town – and because of its ideal terroir has become one of the country’s most significant wine-producers. The estate features a sophisticated tasting room that’s open to the public throughout the week.
New Zealand winemakers have been putting the small island nation on the world’s wine map over the last few decades. Through innovation, sustainable practices and a diverse array of unique wine growing regions, the country’s selection of high-quality vino is impressive. This is certainly the case with Huia, a small, inviting vineyard in the prominent South Island wine-growing region of Marlborough.
Certified organic and biodynamic, Huia Vineyards doesn’t use any noxious pesticides or insecticides in their growing practices and while they produce a range of excellent wines, their two varieties of bubbly are a definite highlight. Huia Method Traditional incorporates the classic combo of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, whereas the Blanc de Blancs uses 100% Chardonnay to produce its distinctive sparkle. The vineyard’s cellar door is open to the public over the Southern Hemisphere summer months only (November to April) and when open, accommodates visitors seven days a week, from 10.30am to 4.30pm.
Aussies have been in the viticultural game for well over two centuries and in that time, the wine industry down under has grown so much that Australia is currently the world’s fifth-largest wine-exporting country. One of the premier wine-producing states, Victoria, is home to Seppelt, an award-winning wine label that includes a stunning sparkling Shiraz that is as elegant as it is pioneering. Open seven days a week and only about a 2.5 hours’ drive from Melbourne, Seppelt’s cellar door provides fascinating insight into the region’s winemaking industry and a most accessible and enjoyable bubbly tasting experience.
The story of Schramsberg’s sparkling wine is a rather rich and illustrious one. The acclaimed 150-year old Napa Valley winery has seen some of its finest bubbly being used during diplomatic engagements, such as the famed “Toast to Peace” between American president Richard Nixon and Chinese premier Zhou Enlai in 1972, featuring the estate’s Blanc de Blancs.
Schramsberg has been noted as being one of the first American wineries to emulate champagne’s quality and style. Located within the picturesque Napa Valley, a visit to and tour of the historic Schramsberg winery is an essential component for any oenophile’s travels through this renowned wine-producing region.
Expertly crafting at least 12 different sparkling wine varieties, Iron Horse Vineyards is another American wine farm worth travelling for; and at only a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, this family-owned wine farm is easily accessible.
Iron Horse farms about 65 hectares, dedicated exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery features verdant rolling hills and an outdoor tasting venue that gifts its patrons with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. While walk-in guests are accommodated (space permitting), it’s better to book a tasting prior to visiting.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.