degree mortar boardIt’s the almost the end of this year's exams. Perhaps you’ve just taken your evening class GCSE or know someone who’s handed in their very last essay. So how do you celebrate should the results prove to be a winner? Well it's got to start with the opening of a bottle of bubbly.

Majestic Monopole champagneIf you insist on champagne as the sparkling wine of choice don't despair if the available cash amounts to less than the usual twenty five pounds and upwards most supermarkets charge for this French fizz. Spar’s Marquis Belrive Champagne (£17.50) knocks spots off the supposedly posher stuff selling at double the price and you may wish you'd bought more when you taste its toasted coconut and lemon sherbet flavours.

Spending under a tenner needn't dampen down the sparkle. Cava, Spain's answer to champagne, sells for around £5 to £10 a bottle. A fiver will get you a bottle of very acceptable lemon and coconut tasting Co-op Cava Brut and if you can spare another two-pounds then try the fresh gooseberry flavours of Codorniu's 1872 Vintage Cava Brut available at Waitrose Cellar.

And to open these bottles of sparkling you’ll need to arm yourself with a tea towel. A vigorously shaken bottle will expel its cork at almost 25 miles per hour. So rather than cause an injury cover the top of the bottle with the tea towel and untwist the wire cage covering the cork.

Remove the cage, and still holding the tea towel over the cork, twist the bottom of the bottle. The bottle should start to twist off the cork.

Gradually loosen the cork and let it gently pop out. The tea towel will catch the cork and soak up any wine that fizzes out. Finally, remove the cloth and pour.

PG Wine Reviews

Co-op Cava Brut
£5.19 Co-op
Lemon and coconut fizz with a digestive biscuit edge. A very acceptable match to a post-exams picnic.

Pol Roger champagneCodorniu 1872 Vintage Cava Brut
£7.99 Waitrose Cellar (down from £11.99 until July 9)
Apple, lemon and almond aromas with gooseberry flavours.

Codorniu Seleccion Raventos
£11.99 Majestic
Still the best celebratory fizz around. The blend of Chardonnay, Macabeo and Xarel-lo grapes produces a wine that is amazingly good value. Its Opal Fruit (no Starbursts here), lemonade and set-honey flavours make me want to go out and buy the company.

Asda Extra Special Premier Cru ChampagneBrut
£21 Asda
This award winning champagne has so much praise on the label how could it be anything but great? Well it is pretty good. Toasty and well-balanced, a sophisticated fizz.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk