Chandon is as ubiquitous as it gets in the sparkling wines category. And given the way of the beverage world at the moment, it should be no surprise that they too have decided to branch off into the ready-to-drink market. They have recently launched Garden Spritz, a “luxurious sparkling aperitif” which integrates their signature grape sparkling wines with a house-made “garden liqueur” featuring orange botanicals. According to Ana Paula Bartolucci (winemaker at Chandon Argentina and creator of the Chandon Garden Spritz), “We spent four years studying oranges as if they were wine grapes and finally mastered a perfectly authentic, naturally delicious spritz.”
So what does a “luxurious, exceptional, ready-to-drink sparkling aperitif” taste like straight out of the bottle? Let’s uncork this enigma.
They clearly indicate that this is made with orange peel bitters; however it was still tempting to expect something akin to a sweet bubbly mimosa when you see “sparkling wine” and “orange” together. But this is a far cry from a Champagne-based cocktail. This is closer to an orange version of a kir royale where the fruit flavor is provided by a thick rich liqueur instead of fruit juice. They use Valencia oranges as the base for their bitters, although they use nothing of the actual fruit juice. (They also go to lengths to note that the extracted juice is distributed to four nearby schools and other remains such as the pulp and seeds are composted for nearby vineyards.)
The Chandon Spritz is a silky champagne-forward drink that is masterfully balanced with weighty botanicals of the garden bitters. The sweetness is comforting and never cloying, and the Valencia varietal is recognizable in the orange flavor. As summer sippers go, this stands above the fray with a bit more gravitas and sophistication while being incredibly drinkable (and I might add, also affordable).