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October 18, 2018

Dave Zyw chats to Cyril Brun, Chef de Cave at Charles Heidsieck.

Dave Zyw chats to Cyril Brun, Chef de Cave at Charles Heidsieck.

A glass of fizz features highly on most people's favourite drinks list.

And most of us wouldn't have too many problems coming up with our top five preferred brands of Prosecco, Champagne or sparkling wine.

Edinburgh native Davy Zyw has gone rather further and written about his 101 top bottles from around the world.

101 Champagnes and Other Sparkling Wines to Try Before You Die is launched tomorrow - Global Champagne Day - by the Scottish publishers Birlinn.

Zyw, 30, began his career as a teenager working in a basement wineshop in Edinburgh.

Since then, his perceptive palette has taken him on a journey to the great Champagne caves of the world.

He has worked as a sommelier in Mayfair’s Le Gavroche and as a buyer for large retailers. His current post is with Berry Bros and Rudd in London.

There isn't much he doesn't know about a bottle of bubbles and he has shared his wisdom in his book.

Sparkling Christmas

The timing is smart as the vast majority of sparkling wine drunk in the UK is sold in the eight weeks leading up to Christmas.

Zyw's book covers 51 of his favourite Champagnes and 50 of the top sparklers he has discovered around the world.

Fizz is now a truly global phenomenon, with wines from Canada, Brazil, and the slopes of Mount Etna taking their place alongside the classic French producers.

The UK is historically one of the largest markets for Champagne and sparkling wine in the world. These days, we are also becoming prominent as sparkling wine producers.

There are now 133 wineries in England and the UK is creating wines that compete with and sometimes surpass the quality of those from the Champagne region across the Channel.

‘Global warming is real,’ says Zyw, ‘the climate in England is now very similar to the climate in Champagne a hundred years ago when their wine became renowned.’

Fizz facts

As well as the 101 descriptions of top notch sparklers, Zyw's book is also packed with quirky factoids.

For instance, did you know:

There are 49 million bubbles in every bottle of Champagne

Most Champagne bottles have close to six atmospheric bars of pressure, similar to a double-decker bus tyre

Wine bottles are 75cl because this was the average single breath of a glass-blower

Until recently London drank more champagne than the whole of the USA

101 Champagnes and Other Sparkling Wines To Try Before You Die is published by Birlinn on Global Champagne Day, 19th October 2018 (£14.99, hardback)