Sparkling wine: is red the new white?


We’re used to associating that delightful ‘pop’ with a cascade of frothing golden bubbles, but something altogether more crimson is effervescing into the sparkling wine market.

With Italian sparkling white wine rocketing in popularity (Aldi has just announced that they will be selling a three-litre bottle of Prosecco in time for Christmas), there has been a rise in people discovering little-known red varieties. Such is their growing popularity, that Ocado is expanding its range.

Sparkling red wine originated in West Germany, and made a brief appearance in British shops in the Seventies and Eighties, but due to the quality being low and tasting on the cheap and sweet side, sales went flat. And so, it was written off, consigned to the annals of our collective wine-snob conscience - and the stereotype prevails.

Fast forward to today, and the popularity of sparkling red wine is on the rise. The wine on offer ranges from “dulce” (sweet) to “secco” (dry). It presents in a sweep of lighter and darker hues and complexities mercifully matured since the saccharine sweet wines of the Seventies.

So will it be a Lambrusco or a Sparkling Shiraz that tempts you to the red side? If you favour a more dulce taste, a Lambrusco offers soft, residual sweetness but with light berry notes, and hints of violet and rose. Modern versions can be so complex that you might even find notes of banana. And what of the Sparkling Shiraz? Already super popular in Australia, it’s a sparkling version of their famous red wine.

Grocery delivery company Ocado has seen sparkling red wine grow in popularity among the middle-classes.

Julian Twaites, wine buyer for Ocado, which delivers Waitrose and Morrisons products, said: "With Prosecco and rosé wine still in favour, it’s no surprise that this equally light and fresh wine is now proving increasingly popular with shoppers."

Germans pioneered sparkling red wine, or “sekt”, and it has long had a market in Italy. But these days most of the bottles come from the Southern Hemisphere, Mr Twaites said, and are best served chilled and “enjoyed in the sun”.

Perfect for this strangely warm Autumn we are enjoying.