Sparkling Wine and Champagne

Recent Tastings

Budget Champagne Uncovered: December 2023

Barry Weinman: 27th December 2023

Those who know me well know that I have a particularly fond spot for sparkling wines and Champagnes in particular. And over the festive season, my consumption (or at least the amount I open) increases further.

Champagne: Off the Beaten Track

Barry Weinman: 27th December 2023

At this year’s Taste Champagne, I took the opportunity to try as many grower/cooperative/lesser-known Champagnes as I could, given the amount of attention that this section of the market has been getting of late. So, with a somewhat heavy heart, I ignored the likes of Charles Heidsieck, Veuve Clicquot, Moet and Roederer, and headed to the grower tables. (The heavy heart came from ignoring Charles Heidsieck, which is one of my favourite wines).

2008 Vintage Champagne Tasting: The Quercus Collective

Barry Weinman: 10th June 2023

To celebrate the launch of The Quercus Collective, owners and Champagne aficionados Paul and Louise Avon-Smith hosted a tasting of twenty-one 2008 vintage champagnes.

The Quercus Collective is a bespoke commercial wine cellaring business in Perth’s Western Suburbs. The facilities offer a number of state of the art, climate controlled 1,000 and 2,000 bottle cellars.

Champagne: What to drink in Australia in Autumn 2022 Part Three: Roederer, Moet, Jacquart & Ruinart

21st April 2022

In the third part of this series, I have reviewed wines by Jacquart, Moet, Roederer & Ruinart.

Champagne: What to drink in Australia in Autumn 2022 Part Two: Ayala, Billecart, Bollinger & Devaux

11 April 2022

This is part two of a series on Champagne’s available in Australia right now. You can access part one here.

Champagne: What to drink in Australia in Autumn 2022 Part 1: Pierre Gimonnet, Pol Roger & Duval-Leroy

3rd April 2022

The title for this series of articles is very specific to a point in time for an important reason. Non-vintage Champagne is not a homogenous product and there are a number of factors that can influence how it tastes.

Summer Drinking – Sparkling Shiraz

3rd February 2022

Drinking wine during a hot Australian summer can be a challenging experience. The wines can heat up quickly, leaving the whites tasting flat and unexciting and the reds overblown, flabby and alcoholic.

Sittella: A Sparkling Success

8th December 2021

2021 marks the 20th year of sparkling wine production at Sittella and to celebrate, the winery has released several new wines that are really quite extraordinary.

Champagne Bargains: January 2021

Barry Weinman: 31st January 2021

Almost everyone loves Champagne and sparkling wine. There is a touch of mystique, an air of celebration and sense of achievement. But this all comes at a cost. There is no such thing as a cheap Champagne!
But having tried a cross-section of wines currently available, there are a number of bargains out there. (I have ordered a 6 pack of each of the below, given how good the prices are).

Sparkling Wines for Summer

Barry Weinman: 23rd December 2020

The majority of sparkling wine produced is non-vintage, and this is for good reason. By blending years, producers can make a more consistent (house) style, less impacted by the vagaries of vintage-to-vintage variations in quality that can occur.

Sittella Wines: Sparkling Success

Barry Weinman: 7th May 2020

When I sat down to write this review, my intention was to write about a cross-section of the Sittella’s range, given they make excellent (and great value) white and red wines from Margaret River, Swan Valley, Pemberton and Frankland.

Piper Heidsieck Champagne

19th December 2019

My favourite Champagne over the last few years has been Charles Heidsieck’s Brut Reserve. Yes, this is a superb Champagne, but it also has something to do with the fact that it has been served routinely on Singapore Airlines in Business Class.

Prestige Champagne: Christmas 2018

29th November 2018

This was an extraordinary tasting with every wine being worthy of a place on your Christmas table. The wines ranged in price from under $100 to over $500, and there was a variety of styles at each price point.

Sparkling Wine for Christmas 2018

9th December 2018

Depending on your budget, any of these will provide drinking pleasure over the summer months.

Sittella: Sparkling Wine Review

Barry Weinman: 16th September 2018

The first vintage of Sittella’s Sparkling Chenin was in 2001, and the wine has proved to be very popular ever since. And is the biggest selling wine in their range. The style has evolved over time, becoming gradually drier and more refined. One thing that has remained however, is the vibrancy and freshness that makes this such an easy drink.

Sparkling Wine Masterclass with Winemaker Ed Carr

4th March 2018

Ed Carr is the undisputed king of sparkling wine in Australia, with over 25 vintages under his belt. Over this time, he has learned that climate has a greater impact on sparkling wine than soil.

Champagne and more: March new release

17th March 2017

We had the opportunity to taste through a small selection of Argentinian wines and was very impressed with the quality/price equation. These are well-made wines that represent decent value.

Whilst at it, we looked at a couple of vintage Champagnes. I will recommend the Moet & Chandon over the Veuve, even thought the latter is the better wine. The reason for this is that the Moet is better drinking now, and is being discounted ($85 from Vintage Cellars).

Australian Sparkling Wine

7th February 2017

The attrition rate for this tasting was very high, with only four wines making it to this review.

The premium Heemskerk is particularly worthy of attention. A very elegant wine that is full of refinement.

Bargain Champagne

20th January 2016

Our “house” Champagne (the one that is always in the fridge in case a friend pops in) has varied over the years. Pol Roger has featured regularly; particularly when it’s has been on special closer to $50. The Pol Gessner has also featured, based on how well the wine has performed in masked tastings. The fact that it can be purchased for $35 has added to the appeal.

Champagne – Master Class

26th October 2016IMG_0699

The Comité Interprofessionnel Du Vin De Champagne (CICV) is the trade association that represents both grape growers, and producers of Champagne. The CICV has two major roles…

Champagne – January 2015

Reviewed: 31st January 2015

Drinking Champagne is about much more than just what is in the glass. The history of the region, the reputation of the producers and the house style (recipe) all add to the enjoyment. The mystique associated with the experience is key to what makes Champagne so special.


Wine and Food Society of Western Australia

Reviewed 28th March 2013.

I need to start this article with a confession: I love Champagne. The real stuff from France, rather than just any wine with bubbles. So I was very pleased to arrange a tasting of predominantly non-vintage Champagne for the Wine and Food Society of Western Australia.

Sparkling Wine – New Release

Reviewed: 16 February 2013

My perceptions were really challenged during this tasting by the wines from Yellowglen.

  • Firstly, the quality and style of the new releases from Yellowglen are completely different to the cheap wines in the range and are nothing short of stunning!
  • Secondly, whilst there has been a wholesale move to Tasmania as a source of fruit for sparkling wines, this demonstrates just how good the Adelaide Hills wines can be.
  • Finally, as a die-hard fan of Champagne, here is an Australian sparkling wine that I really want to drink.