Brandon's Sparkling Shopping Cart - Gray Mackenzie & Partners, Abu Dhabi

Brandon's Shopping Cart recently was all about sparkling wines on a visit to Gray Mackenzie & Partners' flagship store at the Hilton Capital Grand, Abu Dhabi. I would like to see people enjoying sparkling wines more and more, because life should always be bubbly even in challenging times. But rather than focus on champagne, I targeted affordable sparkling options. 

Sparkling wine is very misunderstood and for most people anything sparkling is called champagne. Of course, the latter is the expensive stuff - now is not the time to write about the nuances of every sparkling variety, Today, I leave the expensive stuff and look at the sparkling options from South Africa. Spain, Australia and Germany. 

I settle on Campo Viejo, a cava, a sparkling wine from South Africa, Kleine Parys, Jacob's creek Moscato from Australia and Balthasar Ress Brut, a German Riesling. With the exception of the Riesling, the other wines are all under 75AED. 

Over the next couple weeks, I tried all 4 sparkling wines. First the Kleine Parys, priced at 60AED was a real entry level option in taste. I found the bubbles disappointing as they lacked elegance, even at that price. Don't expect any great depth to this wine, but it works as a budget option. Worth checking out. I would like to know your thoughts. 

Kleine Parys
Next, I tried the Jacob's Creek Moscato, an exciting sweet sparkling wine. In fact, I have had it several times before and recently enjoyed it at an Indian restaurant. I see it going well with anything spicy so as to bring balance. I liked the novelty of a sweet wine with bubbles. Those who like dessert wines will enjoy it while people who struggle with dry wine, beginners, will find this a n easy way to get acquainted with wine. My family in South Africa, for example, are all sweet wine drinkers. They would enjoy this easy drinking moscato. At 60AED,  a nice addition to the trolley.

I also had the Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserve - a very well priced cava. For those not sure, cava is a Spanish sparkling wine. in the 75AED price range, it is my favourite sparkling wine and I would choose it over a Prosecco. This is a lovely alternative to Proseccos which are perhaps ubiquitous. If on a budget, this should be your choice to impress your guests. That is 75AED well spent.

Finally, I  had a sparkling Riesling - made the traditional method and with light effervescent bubbles, this was not your sweet riesling that is often sold rather cheaply. Do not be put off by its deep yellow colour - you will enjoy the dryness in this wine which offers a long finish. Make sure though to serve it to guests who have a fairly sophisticated wine palate. Priced at 140AED, it also makes for a nice wine to take a long to a dinner where friends appreciate a decent, left of centre wine. 

So, Brandon's shopping Cart really had something for every palate and budget. While I did not like the Kleine Parys, for example, at 60AED, I think it is better than most in that price range.  Overall, I believe the Campo Viejo, overall, represents the best value when you consider what it offers on the palate. It has that real sparkle, if you will, to it. But the Riesling will surprise you!

The Essentials

Gray Mackenzie & Partners
Basement of The Hilton Capital Grand Hotel
Airport Road,
Abu Dhabi
+971 2 4449773

Opening Hours
Friday 4pm-10pm

Please drink responsibly and respect local laws and customs.

Disclaimer: I was invited by Gray Mackenzie & Partners to try their new store and write about the experience.