WINE O’CLOCK: More bang for your Buck’s Fizz
I celebrated Black Friday by not doing any shopping at all. But now that the madness is out of the way, ’tis the season for buying wine. I’ll run through some selections between now and Christmas, starting with the sparkles.
In our family, after Santa’s wonders have been revealed and applauded, we like a glass of Buck’s Fizz.
Good Champagne is wasted on a drink that’s one-third orange juice. But you don’t want to go too cheap either.
Cheap sparkling wine often has gas injected and is simply unpleasant. And cheap Prosecco, in particular, can be very sweet – mix it with orange juice and you get a sugary confection, more No! No! No! than Ho! Ho! Ho!
For the right blend, the orange is as important as the wine. It’s best squeezed from a juicer, but if you don’t have time for that, buy good juice with nothing added and certainly not one made from concentrate.
The recommended formula is two parts wine to one part orange. Some people like to mix and serve it from a jug but I think it works best if you first put the fruit juice in a glass, then slowly add the wine.
Both the orange and the wine should be lightly chilled, so there is no need for ice.
Spanish Cava is a good, reliable and not too expensive mixer.
Freixenet C. Negro Medium Dry (€22.95, The Wine Centre, Kilkenny) will do the job nicely. It is a classy little sparkle and will also make a good Christmas aperitif just by itself.
I also recommend Hoya de Cadenas Cava (€19.99 Worldwide Wines, Waterford), a blend of Chardonnay and Macabeo grapes, organically grown.
If you are buying Prosecco, remember that spumante is the fizzy one that pops like Champagne. Gentle frizzante can be a better drink but it won’t make your Christmas morning go with a bang.