The sun is out, which can mean only one thing: spritz season, and there’s a classy new bottle debuting for your summer drinks cart. The Chandon Garden Spritz is a fresh, ready-toserve aperitif uniting the Hispanic soul and ripe fruit of South America and Spain.
It’s the brainchild of boundary-breaking Ana Paula Bartolucci who, at 30, is the first female winemaker to have worked at Chandon Argentina and the firm’s youngest-ever new product developer. Her fascination with Spain goes back almost a decade when, aged 21, she travelled to Valencia, the home of the orange variety infused in the Garden Spritz, to broaden her horizons while interning in wine craft. Led by Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown high in Argentina’s premier winegrowing region and Bartolucci’s home province, Mendoza, the much-garlanded Brut base wine is crafted at the historic Domaine Chandon, while the orange garden liqueur with which it is blended draws on the perfumed skins of the famous, naturally bitter Valencia oranges, grown in Argentina.
‘Chandon Garden Spritz is authentically Argentinian,’ says Bartolucci. ‘Our winemakers studied oranges as if they were grapes in order to craft the best spritz experience possible. We craft the peels in different ways — fresh, macerated or baked to give process form a vital compost, integrated into the vineyards, which teem with wildlife.
Bearing half the sugar of a conventional sparkling wine spritz while being fully flavoursome, today’s blend took no fewer than 64 attempts to perfect over four years, with the vibrant, sweetly scented result tasting refreshing and uplifting.
It is also supremely easy to serve. Simply chill the bottle, free the cork and enjoy the soothing sound of fine bubbles as you pour it slowly over a few cubes of ice. Finally, add a wheel of orange or even blood orange, then an invigorating sprig of rosemary.
Never bitter or overly sweet, the balanced Chandon Garden Spritz may be sipped as an aperitif or alongside mixed salads, orangebased desserts and even fruit-based wedding cakes. With a relatively gentle alcoholic percentage, it offers a lovely way to celebrate friendships. And given its subtle spice, it’s not just for summer — try it over the winter months with a cinnamon stick stirrer to bring a little sunshine to darker days.
But while we harness these bright summer evenings, you’ll find Chandon Garden Spritz at the OXO Tower on the South Bank, Stripes of Mayfair, and from this week, The Mitre Hotel by the gates of Hampton Court.
Also available at Clos19, Fenwick, Harvey Nichols, Majestic, Ocado, Whole Foods Market, and on Zapp (£20)