than any other country. Some spumanu's are horrible. but even the infamous Asti Spumante can be very good and not necessarily sweet and grapey. says Judith Paris. She recommends Moscan d'Asti. also made from the muscat grape. and reputedly deliciously fresh and fruity.

I have mentioned the main producers. but even India produces a very respectable mat/rode chantpenoise sparkling wine stocked by both Oddbins and Bottoms Lip: Omar Khayyam is apparently quite heavy and slightly smokey -— very compatible with Indian food.

Once you have chosen your bottle. it is important to keep it away from heat and light. and if you are not drinking it immediately. to store it horizontally. Sparkling wine is at its freshest served chilled. but not so cold that the flavour is frozen in and the palate numbed. ()fcourse sparkling wine does not have to be drunk on its own: it can be the base of some delicious cocktails. Personally. I can't see the point of

better on a special summer evening. If you are lucky enough to find them outside France. mure (blackberry). framboise and fraise liqueurs are also superb.

Of course the best way to work out what you like is to try a few. . . well you would have done the same in my position. We asked several major stockists to recommend bottles. and came away with a fairly representative selection. As tasters. we were not looking for the best imitation ofchampagne. but were hoping to be pleased by individual merits.

Of the three French wines before us. we preferred Vouvray Brut Bougrier, Loire (appellation contra/ea. £6.49. Bottoms Up). Even though this is a met/rode traditionally wine. the bubbles are quite large and disappear fairly rapidly. But for me. flavour is more important than froth. and this has a rich honey. pleasantly metallic nose. and is warm and interesting to taste a hint ofapple juice without losing its fresh. sharp edge. One thing that I

the ubiquitous bucks fizz. except maybe for an indulgent breakfast. If the intention is to make the wine spin out. I would rather have one unadulterated glass and then drink orange. But a kir royale. made with just a dash ofcreme de cassis is another thing altogether. nothing l

find disappointing about all these sparkling wines though. is that they are extremely ephemeral; they play on your tongue for a moment and then disappear completely. This V'ouvray has an aftertaste. to which some of my fellow tasters objected. but this is not the same as a full

Food news is compiled by Catherine Fellows. Please send information to herat leastten days before Plication. ii asgow I ll Pavone Princes Square Courtyard. ZZI 0543. Mon—Thurs ()._‘\ll;tt]I--l lpm; Fri—Sat 9.30am—rnidnight ; Sun 10am—5pm.(ilasgow's newest Italian restaurant has opened with a full range of pizzas. pasta and seafoods at reasonable prices. You can also pop in for coffee during the day. it is waiting for its license to come through. so bring your own wine in the meantime.


I Waterloo Place 39 Waterloo Place. 557 0007. Open Mon—Sat

noon- I0.30pm (it is early days. so this may change ). Chef Andrew Radford. whose work at the Howard IIoteI. among other places. has gained him an enviable reputation for culinary excellence. is already having to turn customers away. such is the popularity of his newly opened East End restaurant. Waterloo

Place offers a combination that has been badly needed in Edinburgh for some time. that is. spacious surroundings in w hich a suit or jeans are equally acceptable. an informal approach to eating - the restaurant has room to accommodate people just looking for a starter and a glass ofwine or a pudding and a coffee and abm c all. really top quality food at affordable prices.

Iiycrything from stocks to breads and ice creams is prepared on the premises by Radford and his three assistant chefs. They are producing the predominantly light. simple dishes that the public increasingly wants. but so often cannot get. because their success requiresconsiderable culinary precision. and the best and freshest ingredients. Main dishes such as Scottish salmon with leeks. spinach and chives. or pigeon with beetroot are all under£ 10. starters. individual vegetarian pizzas made with virgin olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes for example. are between £2 and £3 and puddings. anything from baked apple with vanilla creme anglaise to a more sophisticated sabayon of

fruit. are again around £3. l The Edinburgh Wine Bar 1 l0 Hanover Street. 220 1208. Noon—midnight and until 2am during the Iidinburgh Festival. The popular wine bar has recently undergone a facelift at the capable hands of its new ow ner Murray (‘reorgeson w ho also runs I.eith's King's Wark tavern. reknowned amongother things for its stupendously large Sunday breakfast servings. Aside from offering a selection of reasonably priced hot and cold all-day food. the Wine Bar houses a permanent display of local artwork (also on sale) and hopes to be a last-minute Fringe venue during the forthcoming Festival.

I Patisserie Francoise 25a Thistle Street. 225 3103; s St (iiles Street. The specialist French cake shop (see The List 148) is due to open new premises offthe Royal Mile on Thurs I Aug. In addition to its existing range of exotic French patisserie. the new shop will include a small salon (18 the serving coffee and tea. In September a baker will move in to make fresh French bread. Late opening hours in the summer months until 8pm.

lingering flavour- perhaps I am wrong to expect this quality from sparkling wine.

The other French bottles were both from Marks and Spencer. We did not think much of the Sparkling Chardonnay Vin Mousseux (£5.99). produced by Jacques Baehni using ‘modern wine-making techniques': the strong smell discernible on opening the bottle seems to disappear as quickly as the bubbles. taking any flavour there might have been with it. The Cremant d'Alsace Cave Co-op Pfaflenheim (appellation contrélée; méthocle traditional/e. £7.50) on the other hand is much smoother in texture and tastes like a better wine altogether. It is a blanc (le blanc. that is. made exclusively from white grapes. and therefore lighter than the Vouvray. for example. I find it uninteresting alone. but it makes a delicious kir royale.

The Spanish bottle we sampled was a Cava. M. Chevallier Brut (mat/rude traditional/e. £4.69. Bottoms Up). It is fairly unremarkable. but perfectly drinkable. particularly considering its reasonable price.

The last three wines subjected to our ruthless. but discerning palates were all from the New World. We enjoyed the two from California. both are easy to drink. well made. with the best mousse ofour bunch. Wente Bros Brut Arroyo Seco 1985 Vintage ( met/rode (‘lttUll/)(’N()l.8‘(’. £8.75. Peter (ireen). is made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. as well as pinot blame. and has a satisfying biscuit and fruit taste after a delicate. dry nose. Cuvée Napa Brut NV (met/rode lflllllll()ll(’ll(’. £7.99. Oddbins). appropriately enough. since it is produced under the supervision of major champagne house. Mumm. is the closest to champagne of the seven we tasted. It is creamy and full. un fussy. simple

even. but satisfying. Finally. a rose froin Australia. Yalumba Angas Brut (‘bottle fermented”. £4.99. ()ddbins) which is good value. very popular. summery. fruity. quite fine. but essentially a light-hearted number. I have friends who love it. but it is too like sweeties for me.

To sum up. I have to say that even though I began popping corks with I great enthusiasm. I was disappointed with what I tasted. Maybe you get 5 blase when you have seven bottles in i front ofyou. but while the majority i are perfectly drinkable. they are not that special. and tend towards j insipidity. It is obviously a matter of personal preference: while I would probably invest my £7 in some i delicious. still Pouilly Fume. others adore bubbles. and there are times when nothing else will do.

Sparkling punch

Thole/Inning is“ a rat/tarpolent sparkling punch:

2 bottles dry sparkling wine

5ft oz brandy

3 fl oz cointreau

3 fl oz maraschino orgrenadine Mix without undue stirring; serve 1 immediately with ice. Enough for l sixteen servings.‘ I


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