To be called Champagne, the wine has to have had a second fermentation in the bottle to create the fizz (known as Methode Champenoise or Methode Traditionelle) and to have been grown and produced within the borders of the Champagne region. This is why sparkling wine produced in New Zealand, which has been made using the same grape varieties and techniques as employed in Champagne, cannot be called Champagne.
This is great news to canny buyers of New Zealand bottle fermented wines - all the flavour and style, without having to pay for the ‘Champagne’ brand.
Bottle fermented wines have great acidity and lovely biscuit, brioche and marmite flavours. These are clean, refreshing and seriously well made wines. As a cool climate producer, New Zealand has the near perfect climate for the production of bottle fermented wines. Dry sparkling wines have always been a great aperitif as well as a perfect match to canapés and oysters.
Another method of producing sparkling wines is by carbonation, which maintains the fresh fruit flavours of the wine. A beautiful wine for summer is Moscato, a wine style that has its origins in Italy. Light, low alcohol and bursting with the flavours of freshly crushed Muscat grapes. My suggestion is to try a Moscato or Prosecco, well chilled, with a ripe peach on a hot summer's day.