Prosecco shortage be damned - there is plenty of pleasing, inexpensive fizz out there.
It won't necessarily give a good Champagne anything to worry about, but that's not the point - it need only be crisp, fizzy, well-chilled and celebratory.
Côté Mas Piquepoul Frisant Picpoul / piquepoul is the "lip-stinging" crisp white from the Mediterranean coast, best drunk as a holiday wine for a few euros. This sparker is exactly what you would expect from a fizzy version - it has a sharp citrus freshness and a modern versatility. Nothing not to like here.
Serve as an aperitif.
Astelia Crémant de Limoux this is a more complex and textured wine, more substantial and interesting all round. Bigger and richer, it will match with starters such as red onion and goat's cheese tart.
The only minor quibble is price - at £9.75 the Picpoul is at the upper end of a sensible range, but £25 for the Crémant seems excessive - almost as if it's designed to be sold on deep discount.
Other related articles
Striking French! Paul Mas