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If you're after value for money, Australian sparkling wine is certainly the go. And for around $15 a bottle First Creek Botanica Sparkling Brut Cuvee ticks all the boxes.

But, first to the week that was ... Sydney's Covid outbreak continued to spread dangerously through the suburbs with cases close by to yours truly - Delta (the variant) has dawned with no sunset on the horizon. Luckily there is always the NRL to brighten things up. The St George Dragons contributed to lightening a depressing week when a group of their players decided it was OK to breach all current health rules and have a group BBQ/piss-up. The result was a police raid, massive fines, the severing of one player's contract and laughs and derision all around. On another NRL note, the mighty Rabbitohs thrashed North Queensland 46-18, so the week ended better than it started.

Now, to the point of this article ... the sparkling wine.

As part of our lockdown planning, my wife and I used some Qantas frequent flyer points to get a case of mixed Australian bubbly. One of the wines was a cheap and cheerful from NSW's Hunter Valley called First Creek Botanica Sparkling Brut Cuvee. It normally retails for between $15 and $20 so, won't put a dent in the budget. But ... it is really quite an acceptable drop.

First Creek wines is a family owned and operated winery located in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley. The Botanica range emphasises, according to the makers, "the clean and ecological approach" to winemaking. They also describe their bubbly thus: "This Sparkling White NV Botanica Cuvee is the perfect sparkling varietal to accompany any celebration, easy night in, R&R or even if you just feel like a little bit of bubbly."

Well, I'll drink to that. No wanky bullshit ... just straight to the point. However, they do suggest a food pairing of "freshly shucked oysters with watermelon, lemon and pepper granita". This week's Friday night bubbles, in contrast, was paired with yummy nachos, prepared by my beautiful wife, and topped with gallons of sour cream (I like sour cream!). The pairing still seemed appropriate.

Now to my personal notes on what is a great value-for-money bottle. The pour was easy peasy without excessive frothing. The nose or aroma was, to me, a little apricot or peach. And, most important of all, the flavour was quite fruity but very tasty indeed. In fact quite delicious, though not at all complex.

Report card: Won't be joining the top students in advance work any time soon, but is a very honest, hard-working student and should be proud of their progress.

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