Mary Dowey’s Bottle of the Week: A Well-priced Sicilian Fizz

Wine editor MARY DOWEY recommends this well-priced Sicilian fizz for sizzling summer parties …

Castellore Organic Grillo Spumante Brut, Sicily NV

A glass of chilled bubbly makes the perfect start to a summer party, or the perfect end to a busy week even if you’re at home alone. Because champagne is so expensive, prosecco has become the default option for value – but so much of it has sloshed around the Irish market, often of shockingly poor quality, that it’s viewed as naff rather than nice. We need something different that doesn’t cost the earth. Along comes a tasty Italian alternative from Aldi.

This likeable organic fizz is made in Sicily from the local white grape Grillo. As one of Grillo’s characteristics is highish acidity, the finished wine has the tangy, refreshing quality we expect in a decent sparkler – especially one designed to enjoy as an aperitif or with light foods.

You’ll notice subtle aromas of lemon, apples and pears with an earthy edge (a welcome reminder that wine is, or should be, a product of the soil rather the chemistry lab). On the palate, Castellore Organic Grillo Spumante Brut is fruity too, with a crisp core and soft edges.

Although it slips down easily by itself, it tastes better with a few nibbles as indeed all sparklers do. Why not honour its Mediterranean roots and serve it with olives, pesto and goat’s cheese toasts, confit tomatoes or garlicky prawns? Salted almonds or the Sicilian cheese pecorino would be terrific with it also. Just be sure to steer clear of peanuts which tend to make most wines taste metallic. 

Aldi also currently stocks a Castellore Organic Rosé Spumante Extra Dry (€13.49) – a little sweeter and less invigorating than the brut but it is the kind of easygoing pink fizz that would probably disappear at speed on a sunny day. Both wines are easy to spot in their distinctive, fat bottles.

Alcohol: 12.5%

From Aldi, €12.99

@MaryDowey

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