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Russian fizz beats top Champagnes

A Russian sparkling wine beat far more expensive bottles from some of the top champagne houses in a recent blind tasting. Novy Svet Pinot Noir 2002, a sparkling rosé that sells for around £10, scored higher than Bollinger Extra Brut 1996, Salon Blanc de Blancs Brut Les Mesnil 1995, Louis Roederer’s Cristal 2000 and a non-vintage Billecart-Salmon rosé.

The tasting, which was organised by Russian magazine Passport, pitted just home-grown wines against some of the best from France and was judged by a panel of 10.

The winning Russian sparkler is made by the champagne method on the Crimean Peninsula. And, although the result may seem surprising, this fizz has an illustrious history. It was first served at the coronation of Tsar Nicolas II in 1896 and in 1900 won a Grand Prix medal in Paris.