An in-depth celebration of the world of bubbles
Consumers today are faced with a dazzling array of sparkling wines, from around the globe. But as little as two decades ago the picture was quite different, with Champagne the only real choice for anybody interested in quality fizz. Then came Prosecco. Although not a serious contender to Champagne itself, its huge growth in popularity this century (with sales increasing tenfold over the period), demonstrated a thirst for sparkling wine to which producers around the world have responded accordingly. Recent decades have seen England emerge as a threat to Champagne’s dominance of the market for quality bubbles, while producers from California to Tasmania and Nahe to Stellenbosch have upped their game in the sparkling wine stakes. These wines are not mere copies of Champagne: producers across a range of terroirs are experimenting with different grape varieties and techniques and this has led to the emergence of new styles of fizz. It is certainly an exciting time for lovers of sparkling wine.
In Fizz! Champagne and Sparkling Wines of the World, Anthony Rose takes a thorough look at just what makes this category of wines so special and guides wine lovers to the best wines available. That we are able to enjoy sparkling wines today is only down to an accidental discovery. As Rose notes, “It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we can see quite how ingenious an achievement putting the bubble into the bottle and keeping it there really was. Without the bubbles, Champagne, a wine made in chilly northerly climes, would have been impossibly tart and light to drink; the trick was turning it into something not just palatable but also enchantingly ephemeral and enduringly exciting.”
Fizz! tells the story of sparkling wine from the early days of experimentation, through the party days of the late nineteenth century, to its recent resurgence in popularity. The science of the bubble, winemaking techniques, varieties, terroir and viticulture are all thoroughly explored before Rose moves on to the major part of the book, his review of the sparkling wine producing regions. Although no book on sparkling wine would be complete without thorough coverage of Champagne, the other major producers of fizz are also examined in detail, presenting both a fascinating picture of the great variety of wines available in this category and an invaluable guide for anybody keen to conduct their own investigations in effervescence.
Rose is clearly an enthusiast for his subject. He is keen that sparkling wine should come to be drunk in contexts other than the traditional celebratory occasions, and even enjoyed with food (and he’s certainly no fan of wasting wine by spraying it over Grand Prix winners). Anybody doubting his deep commitment to the subject should take a look at the cover of the book, which shows a collection of just some of the muselets from bottles tasted during its writing.
About the author
Anthony Rose is an award-winning wine and sake critic who contributes to publications including Decanter, The World of Fine Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine, and reviews sparkling wines for The Real Review. Regional Chair of the southern Italy panel at the Decanter World Wine Awards, Anthony was the wine correspondent of the print version of the Independent from start to finish (1986–2016) and is a founding member of The Wine Gang (www.thewinegang.com). His book Sake and the wines of Japan was shortlisted for best drink book at the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2019.
Fizz! is published by Infinite Ideas on 29 November 2021.
ISBN: 9781999619343, pb, rrp £35, 234 x 156mm, 396pp.
Also available as an eBook.
Review copies available from firstname.lastname@example.org; 07802 443957