Festive bubbles – Algarve Plus Magazine, Dec 2022

Festive bubbles – No festive tables complete without sparkling wines. The delicately caressing bubbles, the jingling acids, and the creaminess are the perfect addition to December magic.

Portugal produces excellent sparkling wines, so let’s take a look at some of the offerings of the larger wineries.

And now, it is time to learn about a very important question as well: how to open a sparkling wine perfectly? Hiss or pop? That is the question!

Finally, please welcome a couple of festive sparkling cocktail recipes. I hope they will be useful for your holiday preparations.

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Festive bubbles

I could start with the cliché that there is no holiday without bubbles – but this is not really a cliché: the delicately caressing bubbles, the jingling acids and the creaminess are a nice addition to the December magic.

It can be rain, it can be wind, but there is no festive table without sparkling wines. There was a time when the sparkling drink was synonymous with New Year’s Eve, and even though it is still the main season, champagnes are fortunately more and more often claiming a place on the menu of family holidays, and even when we want to make an intimate moment even more memorable to do.


But the end of the year is approaching, so it’s time to take care of the festive drinks and decide what kind of sparkling to toast with at Christmas or in honor of the new year.

Many exciting sparkling wines await consumers on store shelves, so it’s only a matter of taste and budget which one to choose. But one thing is certain: we can accompany a whole festive menu with a well-chosen bubbly.

But the choice is not easy even if like many wine-producing countries around the world, Portugal produces excellent sparkling wines as well.

So, let’s take a look at some of the offerings of the local larger wineries.

Here are my tips, among which everyone is guaranteed to find the one they like best!


First of all, it is worth highlighting the great sparkling wines of the Bairrada region, as this region produces about 80% of Portuguese sparkling wines, and whose range includes all kinds of bubbles, from white to red, at a good price/value ratio.

Here, I would especially like to draw attention to the brands of Luis Pato and also his daughter, Filipa.

Luis Pato, who is named also the ‘Baga rebel’, produces excellent sparkling wine (Luis Pato Baga Bruto, ) from the Baga grape which is the main variety of the Bairrada region. Because of the inexistence of tannins, this bubbly harmonizes very well with fish, shellfish, and roasted meats consumed during the festive season.


And Filipa, his daughter’s multi-awarded rosé sparkling, the 3B Rosé Sparkling ( ) with its very expressive aromas of strawberries, pomegranate, and anise, is a perfect aperitif to start a festive dinner or lunch.


Have you ever tasted a white bubbly produced from red grapes? Staying still in Bairrada, let me recommend you the Baga Blanc de Noirs ( ) sparkling wine from the brand of Marquês de Marialva, produced by the Adega de Cantanhede cooperative winery. This elegant, fruity sparkling with its amber color and very fine, long-lasting bubbles is a worthy addition to a festive meal.


Another leading sparkling wine producer in Portugal is Vértice, located in the Douro region. One of their special drinks, which is made exclusively from the Gouveio grape variety (Vértice Gouveio, is also highly valued by professionals. On the nose, it is young, with fresh white fruits and a touch of smokiness followed by deep flavor in the mouth.


Staying in the Douro, the Raposeira winery produces a wide range of fantastic sparkling wines, from white to red, and from dry to sweet. This bubbly is partly made from the traditional Douro red grapes, such as Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, and the whites are mainly made from the really great Chardonnay, Malvasia Fina, and Cerceal grapes, in a lower price range. Their Super Reserve Brut bubbly ( with its very harmonious fruity, intense, and ripe aroma that gives it a fresh and unique taste, is an excellent option for a lively festive dinner with friends.


If you want to choose an impressive sparkling wine, it is undoubtedly the Murganheira Millésime Brut ( Murganheira is one of the great Portuguese sparkling wine houses, located just to the south of the Douro, in the Varosa Valley. The winery is famous for its blue granite caves that naturally maintain the same temperature all year round. Their Millésime wine is produced from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. There are mature tropical and white fruit notes on the nose with a touch of nuts; in the mouth, fine, very persistent bubbles and great acidity lead to a lingering and seductive finish.


If you are a fan of the Alentejo region, you can not be without sparkling during the holidays. The Cartuxa Reserve Brut Sparkling ( was the first, produced from the rigorously selected white grape Arinto, with a second fermentation in the bottle during 5 years in the cellars of the Cartuxa Monastery.


But finally, let me ask you to accompany this year’s festive menu with any sparkling wine from our Algarve region. Many local wineries have already produced excellent bubbly in the last few years. The first accolade goes to Adega do Cantor, then part-owned by Sir Cliff Richard British singer, who made a sparkling wine named Cantor 75 to celebrate his 75th birthday. Unfortunately, this wine is no longer on the market, but the new owner also produces excellent, elegant, creamy and fruity, Brut Natur White ( ) bubbly.


If, on the other hand, you want to open a rosé sparkling, I highly recommend you to open a bottle of Qué Espumante from Quinta de Barranco Longo in Algoz ( ). With its soft, yet intense bubbles, as well as its red berry fruity and strawberry flavors, it perfectly matches the festive mood.


Maybe you already know, that Negra Mole is a unique Algarve grape. Nowadays, a great range of wines made from this grape can be found in the cellars of local wineries. But this festive you have already the possibility also to toast with the really fresh and elegant Escolhido Negra Mole Brut Natural ( ), produced by Quinta dos Santos winery. And this bubbly is also very special because the Negra Mole grape is basically a red variety but you will find a white sparkling in the bottle. A perfect choice to toast with on a festive occasion.


And if you fell in love with this grape variety, open a new bottle from the João Clara winery. Their Blanc de Noirs white Espumante ( ) with its fine and persistent bubbles, fruity and citrus nose, good creaminess and persistence will enchant you in the already festive mood.


Unfortunately, I do not have enough place in this column to list here for you those so many excellent sparkling wines produced in Portugal, mainly in the Algarve. But I encourage you to boldly open and taste new and new sparkling wines from Portuguese wineries, you won’t regret it!


Hiss or pop?

This is a very important question. Serve well chilled and find the right glass for it. The flat chalice (according to some opinions, shaped like Marie Antoinette’s bosom) is a thing of the past, and although the champagne flute still holds its own, we don’t make a big mistake if we pour our bubbly drink into a well-chosen white wine glass.

The sparkling should only be popped on New Year’s Eve, but then it is obligatory. In all other cases, it is elegant if the cork leaves the bottle with a soft hiss.


So let’s toast to the holidays with any Portuguese Espumante! I wish you a pleasant preparation, a peaceful Christmas, and a happy New Year!

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