🍷 Become confident in wine. See Courses
Wine Folly Logo
Tips & Tricks

Sparkling 16 Tournament: Round 1 Analysis

- Updated

The bell has rung! Round 1 of the Sparkling 16 Tournament has finished and there’s nothing left but the crying.

The Wine Folly Sparkling 16 Tournament runs until December 19 – learn how to play and win a Coravin Sparkling wine preservation system.

A few of our staff picks were shot down with zeal by all of you, and they came as a surprise – so don’t count anyone out of the fight until all the votes are in.

Here’s how Round 1 went down.

Sparkling 16 first results grid

Sparkling 16 – Round 1 Analysis

sparkling-shiraz-vs-lambrusco-winefolly
Lambrusco smashed sparkling Shiraz in the voting round on instagram.

Division 1

Sparkling Shiraz vs. Lambrusco

The sparkling reds went head to head and the Wonder from Down Under, with its big bold ripe black fruit flavours, got knocked out by the fruity and savory Italian from the hometown of Ferrari.

Buy the Book - Get the Course!

Get the Wine 101 Course ($50 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition.

Learn More

Lambrusco works well with so many dishes and has a lot of different styles from bone dry to slightly sweet, so perhaps this diversity is one of the reasons why it won against Sparkling Shiraz. Lambrusco also tends to have lower tannin levels than Shiraz, which can make it more of an easy drinking red.

Champagne vs. Crémant de Bourgogne

It’s hard to beat out the popularity of the Champagne brand, even if you’re using the same grapes and the same traditional method as they do in Bourgogne (Burgundy). The depth and complexity of brioche, lemon peel, and chalk often found in Champagne can rival many Crémant wines, so it comes as no surprise that Champagne has come out on top in this match.

Match up for this Week

This week our lovely Lambrusco goes head to head with the world’s most famous sparkling wine, Champagne. Will the underdog sparkling red with its ripe red fruit and bubbles oust the king from the castle or will Champagne continue on its path to world domination with its elegance? Stay tuned and don’t forget to vote!


Division 2

cap-classique-vs-cremant-de-loire-winefolly

Cap Classique vs. Crémant de Loire

Both of these sparkling traditional method wines might have some Chenin Blanc in them. Both have that yellow apple aroma with hints of bread and brioche too. So why did the Crémant de Loire walk over the Cap Classique?

Perhaps not enough people know about how amazing Cap Classique from South Africa can be, or people already know the amazing value that can be found in the Loire! Crémant from the Loire is a great way to start a party with its fine bubbles, lemon and apple notes, and hints of honey and apple.

Cava won by a landslide.
Cava vs. Sekt

Spain overwhelmed Germany in this round! Cava is much more widely known around the world, mainly because Germany tends to drink most of its Sekt and not export much! The peach, lemon, and biscuity notes found in Cava, along with the really impressive Reservas and Gran Reservas make Cava a great pick for your holiday table.

If you like hazelnut, brioche, earthiness, lemons and peach flavors, a fine mousse, and a great deal then Gran Reserva Cava is your next bottle!

Match up for this Week

Crémant de Loire squares off against Cava this week – will the range of quality seen in Cava, from the simpler and fresh examples to the rare vintage Gran Reservas match up to the racy acidity and accessibility of Crémant? You decide!


Division 3

Blanquette de Limoux vs. PĂ©t-Nat

This was a photo finish that we weren’t expecting with Pét-Nat winning by a hair! Blanquette de Limoux is relatively unheard of and Pét-Nat (Pétillant Naturel) is very fashionable at the moment. The sheer diversity and sometimes funkiness of some Pét-Nat wines, along with their funky labels, is perhaps what nudged it over the edge.

If you haven’t had Blanquette de Limoux, it has a wonderful apple aroma mixed with creamy and floral flavors. And if you haven’t had a Pét-Nat, you want to try something funky, look for one of those hazy bottles with a crown cap at your local independent wine shop.

For as large as California sparkling market it, the small region of Alsace won out!
California Traditional vs. Crémant d’Alsace

This was another surprise for us here at Wine Folly! We thought California Traditional Method Sparkling wines would take the cake with their lemon, peach, nutty and toast flavors, but in the end the Crémant won out.

Often made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling, Crémant d’Alsace is a refreshing sparkler with delicate bubbles and racy acidity.

Match up for this Week

The prim and proper sparkling from Alsace will confront the in vogue Pet Nat. Will the cloudy sparkler take the crown? Or will the Alsatian take the win with its classic, traditional methods?


Division 4

Perhaps there are no surprises here.
Asti vs. Prosecco

Battle royale in Northern Italy! Prosecco absolutely crushed it, despite Asti being a fun, frothy sweet sparkling wine (perfect with birthday cake!) The aromatic, floral and bubbly party loving Prosecco took the cake this round.

With its global popularity at the moment this was expected, but we didn’t think it would walk all over Asti. If you’re into these affordable bubbles and want to try something a bit different you can learn more here.

English sparkling is delicious, but it still has a ways to go against Italy’s prime DOCG sparkling region.
English Sparkling vs. Franciacorta

Traditional method sparklers from outside France faced off and it was a pretty close race! Both of these underrated wines can offer a great quality alternative Champagne, and create a really fun talking point at a party.

It was the Franciacorta that finished off the fight – the slightly riper fruit character focused on stone fruits might have pushed it over the edge, or perhaps English Sparkling just doesn’t have a strong enough following just yet. Both of these are worth checking out for your next holiday party for sure.

Match up for this Week

Tank vs. Traditional methods in Northern Italy! Both of these sparkling wines have pretty strong followings, so it might be really close! Will the floral, aromatic, merrymaker Prosecco dominate? Or will the Champagne look-a-like with its fine mousse and toasty complexity reign over Italy? Make sure you vote to have your say!


Sparkling 16 Giveaway Layout

Sign up to Win

Voting continues on Instagram with the next bracket this week and there are lots of ways to increase your chances at the big prize pack – be sure to check them all out when you submit your email.

This week’s voting goes live at 12 Eastern, so head over to our Instagram to vote!

Buy the Book - Get the Course!

Get the Wine 101 Course ($50 value) FREE with the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition.

Learn More

AboutChristine Marsiglio MW

Christine Marsiglio is Head Wine Educator and Resident Master of Wine for Folly Enterprises and Wine Folly. Christine is a certified Wine & Spirits Education Trust wine educator, a winner of the Bollinger Medal, and holds an MSc in Oenology and Viticulture from École Supérieure d'Agriculture d'Angers, France.