Welcome to the 1st (Hopefully annual) Sparkling line up. It has been a fun, busy lineup to work through. Because of the many bottles received (and not all reviewed) & purchased I decided to divide the summary into two parts, US and Imports.
Noticeably missing from this line up is ‘champagne’ that is to say sparkling wine that orginates from the Champagne region in France. Even the French are not allowed to call it Champagne if its not from Champagne, instead its call Cremant.
The Champagne Bureau in France declined to send or arrange any samples, but did ask that I make it clear to readers:
“Whatever you recommend, please make sure to note that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.”
Done. Now onto some (not so) serious business. I love bubbles, but am hardly a snob when it comes to this category. It should be fun and enjoyable.
I tried to focus on bubbles that were affordable and widely available. Its not really much fun for you the reader to hear about something that isn’t available unless you are wealthy or write for wine publication.
Spain & Cava
Spanish Cava represents a huge value in sparkling wines, and the quality and value will surprise you. This summer I toured through out Spain on a media Tour, visiting a number of Cava producers, including Cava kingpin Freixenet. I was blown away by the care and quality of this producer. Hundreds of tons of cava grapes, all hand picked, each year.
N.V. Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rosado – *Top Pick*
A crowd pleaser Cava Brut Rose’, great QPR. Tiny bubbles, excellent mousse. Essence of strawberry, raspberry. Very pleasant in mouth.Grab a bottle, you will
be glad. This is a sleeper brand. ~$10
N.V. Paul Cheneau Cava Lady of Spain
Decent bubbles for price; crisp, nice acidity, green apple $10
N.V. Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro (Brut)
After 150 years, there is a reason why the ‘Black Bottle’ remains the king of Spanish Cava. Despite the large production all grapes are hand harvested, not machine. Clear pale yellow, tiny mousse (bubbles). Nose has lemon, apple, pear. Crisp dry finish with some minerality. If you have shunned the black bottle because its what your parents drank, try it again. And do take the tour if ever nearby, its impressive. $10 (or less)
N.V. Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva Heredad
If the sexy bottle doesn’t get you, the bubbles should. Vibrant pale color, tight tiny bubbles, nose that is yeasty,pear. Bright citrus, green apple. A step or two up in price from traditional Cava, but unique and complex enough to merit it, and a good bridge flavor profile wise. $20
Italy – Prosecco
Prosecco has become a hot sector in the last few years, and duly earned, the quality of Prosecco coming into the US has jumped up. People avoid Prosecco because it is fermented via the charmat method – meaning it achieves its bubbles in a stainless tank, not in the bottle via méthode champenoise. My experience with domestic sparkling produced this way is mostly poor, but I have learned from experience not to shun Prosecco because of this, and you should too.
N.V. Valdo (Italy) – *Top Pick*
New to the US. Nose of pear, green melon, bread yeast. Tiny bubbles. Mostly dry, creamy mouthfeel. Nice finish. An excellent value for $10. Recommended buy. Nice apertif wine easily quaffed.
N.V. LaMarca Prosecco di Treviso Prosecco (Italy, Veneto, Prosecco di Treviso)
Pale yellow, tiny bubbles. Green apple & spice on nose. Mostly dry, Nice citrus, touch of asian pear, green apple. pleasant in mouth, fair QPR. Consumer friendly bubbles, available at Wholefoods, Safeway. Worth putting in the cart and taking home.
N.V. Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé *Top Pick*
Wonderful! Pink with a slight orange hue; excellent tiny bubbles. gorgeous nose of strawberry & yeast. Strawberries & Cream, hint of raspberry. Fermented in bottle; 80% Pinot Auxerrois, 10% Pinot Blanc and 10% Chardonnay. ~$18
2007 Domaine Rolet Crémant du Jura Crémant Brut (France, Jura, Crémant du Jura)
A nice bottle of bubbles for $17 from K&L. tiny bubbles, nice citrus, tart green bubbles, nice clean, lingering.
Look for Part II – Domestic later tonight. (Tomorrow we head to France to tour Burgundy & the Rhone). Cheers!