Budget Friendly Cava

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample for review.

Just in time for the holidays I’ve started to open up some bubbly. If you come around these parts with any regularity you know how much I love bubbles. Which is why the holiday season is particularly wonderful since people open more bubble, even though I firmly believe bubbles should be enjoyed frequently just because it’s Tuesday, for example.  Tonight we tried the Segura Viudas Brut Cava which retails for around $9.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Hosting a big holiday party this year? This budget Cava is wallet friendly and crowd-pleasing.

2.) If you want to step it up a bit, try the Segura Viudas Riserva, which has the added benefit of coming in an incredibly cool looking bottle. (I made one of mine into a lamp!)

3.) Cava in general, and the Segura Viudas Brut in particular, offers a lot of bang for your buck.

4.) I’d serve the Segura Viudas with my cheese plate this Thanksgiving.

On the nose I got a waxy note, pepper, flowers, and lemon. In the mouth I found peach, orange peel and melon. The wine had long-lasting bubbles and good acidity.


Brazilian Brut

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the winery.

I always get excited when I get an email offering me an out of the ordinary wine to taste.  When I saw the email from the PR folks for Salton, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try more wines from Brazil.  I first encountered wine from Brazil in NYC at a Snooth tasting 2 years ago, where I got to enjoy them for breakfast.  That day, I actually picked a wine from Salton as one of my top wines of the tasting.  Tonight I tried another wine from the company, the Salton Intenso Brut.  The Salton Brut sports a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $15.Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Sparkling wine at a steal. Stock up and serve it to your happy guests in the backyard all summer long.

2.) DC is a swamp, minus alligators. The Salton Brut made me momentarily forget the humidity and the mosquitoes with how refreshing I found it.

3.) I wish it were easier to find wines from Brazil in the US.  The ones I’ve tried have left me wanting more, but it doesn’t seem there’s much market saturation.

4.) The Salton Brut is a great every day sparkler for a reasonable price, something for which I am always keeping my out.

On the nose I found pears, almonds, wax, and herbs.  In the mouth I got pear, herbs, and apples. Overall I found it to finish with good acidity and crisp structure. The Salton had a spicy note the I really enjoyed.  The Chardonnay/Riesling blend is an interesting choice for a sparkling wine.

…Or Sparkle That Way

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from J Vineyards.

Apparently this review is quite timely given the announcement this week of the sale of the J brand to Gallo. Only time will tell what that will mean for the future of the brand. As for today’s wine, we have the J Cuvee 20. The Cuvee 20 is a non vintage (NV) blend made mostly of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with a touch of Pinot Meunier.  The wine has a traditional Champagne closure, retails for around $28, and sports an alcohol content of 12.5%.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The J Cuvee 20 is a solid sparkler for the money/ I’ve seen it online for as little as $20 a bottle, which is a steal and makes this a great mid-week sparkler. At closer to $28 I’d probably save it for Friday after our kid goes to bed!

2.) I really wanted something hot and salty to munch on with the wine. I was dreaming of the truffle and parm fries from the Healdsburg Bar and Grill as I sipped.

3.) I really liked the yeast and pear notes on the nose of the J Cuvee 20.

4.)  While great for sipping on its own, I think the J Cuvee 20 would lend itself well to your next cheese tray.

On the nose I found green apple, bread, yeast, lemon, and pear. In the mouth got more apple, pear, lemon, and lemon zest along with some toast and vanilla notes. The bubbles were persistent and the wine changed nicely from tart up front to smoother mid-palate.



Sparkle This Way….

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Sleigh bells ring, snow is glistening and all I can dream about is sparkling wine in my glass. Much to my wondrous eyes did appear a box full of J Vineyards holiday cheer. Enough with my mixing of Christmas songs and tales and onto the wine. I couldn’t help but bust open the J Brut Rose almost as soon as it arrived.  The J clocks in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, has a traditional Champagne closure, and retails from the winery for $38, though I see it around the internet for less.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I could drink it by the case and never tire of the J Brut Rose.

2.) I’m bringing some to my Christmas feast this year, I suggest you do the same.

3.) The color on the rose is gorgeous. I had to tear myself away so Mr. Wannabe Wino didn’t steal all the bubbles.

4.) If the color doesn’t win you over, the racy citrus backbone and perfumey nose will seal the deal.

On the nose I found orange zest, raspberry, strawberry, an an almost apricot note. In the mouth I got tart berries, raspberry, and a racy citrus backbone.  The nose of the wine was fantastically full of citrus and berry perfume and the mouth had lovely little bubbles and excellent acidity. Cheers!




New Grape New Grape New Grape

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as  a sample for a live tasting.

I’m working on my 2nd set of 100 grapes, still. The second 100 is taking much longer than the first 100. After 4 years I think I’m approximately 40 grapes into the second hundred. To be honest, I haven’t made a huge push to find new grapes during that time. This bottle came to me, so that always makes things easier. The wine is the Côté Mas St. Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux Méthode Ancestrale NV, which retails for around $14, has a traditional closure, clocks in at 7.5% alcohol by volume, and is made of 100% Mauzac grapes.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) The nose on this wine did not match up with what I tasted on the palate. Sort of like when you pick a chocolate out of the box thinking it’s caramel and it turns out to be marzipan.

2.) I think maybe the wine needed some food. Particularly something spicy.

3.) My thought on Mauzac is that it is a very unique grape and the resultant wine is quite surprisingly sweet.

4.) While it’s not something I’d like to drink on the regular, I’m glad I got to try the Mauzac grape.


The wine had very persistent bubbles in the glass and seemed to foam more than other sparkling wines. On the nose I found waxy bitters, candied lemon, and bread. In the mouth I got overripe apple, spice, and spiced pear. My other note says “holy sweet.”



Getting My Bubbly On

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample.

I decided a few weeks ago that it is spring. Regardless of the fact that it snowed in DC in April. It’s spring. I have switched to flip flops and I am stubbornly wearing dresses and short sleeves even though the high was 55 earlier this week. With spring, my mind turns toward bubbles on an mostly daily basis. Sparkling wine and spring make me happy. Tonight we tried the Asolo Prosecco Superiore Millesimato Venegazzù Montelvini.  The wine has a traditional closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $15.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) This is an extra dry Prosecco, which means it does have some residual sugar. I’m not usually the biggest fan of extra dry sparkling, but it almost didn’t register to me that this wasn’t a brut sparkling until I read the tech sheet.

2.) I chilled this down and drank it as an apertif on the porch. Because I’m classy that way.

3.) Prosecco is one of my favorite non-budget busting sparklers.

4.) I’ve never seen wine in this bottle shape before. I asked the PR guy for the brand and he said it’s called an “Astro” and is designed to fit better in an ice bucket with its squatter shape and short neck.

On the nose I got lemon, orange citrus, wax, spice, and apple. In the mouth I found green apple, citrus, melon, and spice. Overall I thought the wine was well done and I was surprised by the acidity given that it is described as extra dry.



One Bubble

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

The day before New Year’s Eve. You haven’t bought the bubbly for midnight yet. What shall you get? Thankfully, I’ve got several to recommend in just a few short hours here at different price points. For a budget friendly, domestic sparkler, we tried the Mumm Napa Prestige Brut. From as low as $15, this bubbly will not bust the bank and is sure to please on New Year’s Eve (or whenever toasting with some sparkling catches your fancy.)

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s not the most complex bubbly, but delivers well for the price point, and offers nice, small bubbles to tickle your tongue.

2.) I enjoyed the tropical notes that reined in the lemon the dominated both the nose and the palate.

3.) Especially good for the price point if you are having a crowd and don’t want to break the bank on multiple bottles.

4.) The leftovers made excellent mimosas.

On the nose I got lemon, lots of lemon, apple, tropical notes, and slight toast. Did I mention the lemon? In the mouth I found pineapple, other tropical fruits, lemon, apple, and just the slightest hint of sweet pear.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 11,082 other followers