Sparkle Some More

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Natural Wine Merchants.

I have been all about the bubbles in the last couple of weeks. It must be the holidays. Picture me singing, totally off-key because I’m pretty tone deaf: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…. .” Yes indeed, I have the holidays and sparklers on my mind. Tonight we tried the Pizzolata Fields Prosecco, which has a kind of cork that was part way in the neck of the bottle and part out…in any case, it took me forever and a day to open the bottle, it clocked in at 11% alcohol by volume, and retails for around $11.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Damn that cork was IMPOSSIBLE to get out. Removing it involved me whining and almost ready to slam the top of the bottle against some bricks.

2.) Other than the cork, this was an excellent Prosecco.

3.) $11. Need I say more?

4.) Bready with notes of candle wax and green apples, combined with fine bubbles, which rocks my world.

On the nose of the wine I got lemon, green apple, candle wax, and bread.  In the mouth I found notes of honey, lemon, and pear.  Overall I found the wine to be quite dry with tiny bubbles, though I would honestly describe it as more prickly than bubbly. At the price point, serve it at your next party or with dinner on Tuesday.

 

Sparkle this Season

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

Thursday of last week was the annual arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau from France. That is really not my thing, so I celebrated by drinking French wine, but not Beaujolais Nouveau.  The holidays tend to make people think of sparkling wine to toast at all the parties and belt-widening dinners and cookies. I’ve made a big effort the last few years to drink sparkling wine throughout the year, but must admit I still drink more of between now and January 1 than I do the rest of the year! We started out this season with the Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux Cuvee de l’Abbaye.  The Jaillance has a traditional Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $19.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) It’s never a bad thing when my first note for a wine is “yum.”

2.) The bready-yeasty notes just jumped out of the glass.

3.) If you greeted me at the door with a glass of this at your party I’d think you are awesome.

4.) I’m adding this to my list of sub-$20 house sparklers.

On the nose I got lemon, pear, yeast, sourdough, bread, and apple notes. In the mouth the yeast carried through with lemon, green apple, and pear. The wine had great acidity and bubbles. I was definitely happy with my selection to celebrate French wine!

 

Bubbles, Yum!

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

Oh how I love bubbles! I even made my own bubbles with some of my blogger friends in 2009.  It was just disgorged and shipped to us recently, I’m excited to tell you about it. Back to the point though. Bubbles. And yummy bubbles. You can’t beat that.  I’m adding another wine to my Thanksgiving wine recommendations for 2011.  The wine n question is the Domaine Carneros Cuvee de la Pompadour.  It clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, has a traditional Champagne closure, and retails for about $30.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I didn’t want to stop drinking this wine to take my notes because I was afraid Mr. Wannabe Wino would take more than his share while I took notes.

2.) This wine would be perfect with your turkey. It’s a rose and it’s a sparkling wine, can’t beat that!

3.) I would easily pay $30 for this wine.

4.) In fact, I will on my next wine buying trip.

On the nose I got raspberry, florals, cherry, slight apple, and wax notes.  In the mouth I found peach, pear, raspberry, and strawberry. On the palate the peach stood out the most, and tasted very fresh. Overall the wine had great bubbles and acidity and is bone dry.

 

Getting my Bubbly Groove On

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

Here’s another bubbly favorite of mine. It’s as if Pasternak Imports packed up all my favorite NV bubbles into a box and shipped them to me. That’s the best kind of box to open up! This is another Lucien Albrecht bubbly, this time the Rose Cremant d’Alsasce. I buy this one at the Total Wine and More quite frequently as well and it’s another standard for me to recommend to anyone looking for a great moderately priced sparkler. It retails for about $16, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and has a traditional Champagne closure.

First I need to note that I love the color on this wine. It’s a lovely pale salmon. On the nose I got strawberry, raspberry, sourdough bread, and yeast. In the mouth I found fresh raspberries, like you picked them yourself and ate them off the bush, strawberry, cranberry, and tart cranberry sauce. You really can’t beat this sparkler for the price point.

A Perennial Favorite

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

I love this wine. Love it. I have purchased it many many many times for myself and recommend it frequently to anyone looking for a moderately priced sparkling wine. I’m fairly certain I’ve written about it before, but it bears another mention, just in case you’ve forgotten or in case my memory is faulty and I didn’t write about it! The wine in question is NV Lucien Albrecht Brut Cremant D’Alsace. It retails for about $16, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and has a traditional Champagne closure.

On the nose I got apple, pear, nuts, yeast, honey, and toasted almond. The nose has just a hint of sweetness about it that I love. In the mouth, the flavors track pretty well with the nose. I found pear, green apple, honey, honeysuckle, lemon, and bread. The wine has great bubbles and good acidity. Perfect for a mid-week sparkler or a great way to start off your weekend!

Cava Time

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Pasternak Imports

Bubbles! We all know how much I love bubbles. In 2010 (or was it 2009? My years are starting to blend together…) I made it a goal to drink more bubbles. I did pretty well with that goal and as a result we’ve incorporated sparkling wine into our everyday wine rotations. Nothing makes a Tuesday or Thursday night special like a glass of bubbly! Tonight we tried the NV Paul Cheneau Cava Blanc de Blancs. It had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, and retails for about $9.

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, pear, and nutty and toast aromas. In the mouth I found lots of fruit, lemon, pear, and peach mostly. Overall the wine had great acidity and I found it to be crisp and fruity. In my notes I wrote “I just found a new house sparkler.” For $9, it’s easily a perfect weekday sparkler.

Happy Mother’s Day!

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from F. Wildman.

Many times I get wines pitched to me for various events. Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving…pretty much any random holiday that pops up on the calendar. Even Groundhog Day. I’m not really one who works on any particular piece. My tasting method of wines leans towards the “I’m making x for dinner and y wine will/should be nice with that, we’ll open it tonight!” But given this pitch involved bubbles and my very first Mother’s Day, I bit. I love bubbles and who can say no to a glass of sparkling on a special day? Therefore, today found me popping open a split of Pol Roger Extra Cuvee de Reserve. It clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, had a traditional Champagne closure, and a 750mL bottle retails for around $54.

On the nose I got lemon, grapefruit, orange, apple, flowers, and crayon wax. A lovely fruit bowl of a nose. In the mouth I found lemon, grapefruit, apple, and a bit of orange zest. The apple in the mouth seemed more tart than on the nose. The wine had great bubbles and a racy backbone. I very much enjoyed my glass of Mother’s Day bubbly! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, to everyone who is in a motherly role, and to all those who will someday make great moms.

A bonus picture of my little one, because who doesn’t love a smiling, bald baby?

A Love Affair

I’ve been utterly in love with the Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut. If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you’ve probably heard me gush over the vintage years of this bubbly in the past. We first visited Roederer Estate back in 2006, on a tip from the owner of the Vintage Towers, our favorite place to stay when we visit the Sonoma area. (We missed our annual journey this year, but are hopeful we will make it out next April!) On our last yearly trip, we meandered up the Anderson Valley on our way to Mendocino and of course could not pass by Roederer without a stop in. Well worth it, we picked up (among other bottles) the 2003 Roederer Estate L’Ermitage Brut. I can’t recall what I paid, but it clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and had a traditional Champagne closure.

On the nose I got lemon, crayon, wax, caramel, brioche, and apple. In the mouth I found apple, lemon, and lemon pith. Oddly, and perhaps it’s all the beer I’ve been drinking, but I thought I tasted hops.  The sparkling had great bubbles, a lovely finish, and certainly lived up to my prior experiences with the L’Ermitage Brut.

More New Grapes!

*Disclaimer: I received this as a sample from Pasternak Imports.

This wine combines a couple of my favorite things: bubbles and interesting grapes! I’m still on the hunt for more grapes to try in hopes of some day making the Double-Century Club. Which, I should really submit my application since I finished up my Century Club ages ago now…I just never got around to it!  We popped on the Lady of Spain Brut Cava the other night. Why? Because it was a weekday and bubbles make weekdays better! The Lady of Spain clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, retails for around $12, and had a traditional cork closure.  It’s composed of 45% Macabo, 40% Xarel-lo, and 15% Parellada. The first and last are new grapes for me!

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, wax, apples, and a little toast. The palate on this was almost pure green apples. My notes say “very apply,” (I like to make up words) “green apples,” and “more apples.” I found the wine to be crisp, fresh, and lively, and for $10-$12 for a weekday sipper, it’s sure to spice up your Tuesday night!

 

Southern Sparkler

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample.

I’ve previously written about this same wine, during the holiday season of 2009. I enjoyed it then, and am always willing to give it another shot. The Biltmore Estates Blanc de Blancs Brut is a non-vintage wine, though this particular release has a lower alcohol content than the one I tasted previously. As you will see, my notes for this bottle track very closely to the previous bottle I tasted, which is certainly the typical hallmark of a NV wine. The wine had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 12.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $25. Oh yes, the wine hails from North Carolina!

On the nose I got lemon, yeast, wax, citrus, pineapple, and tropical notes. In the mouth I found lemon, pineapple, tropical notes, white peach, and yeast, however, the character of the mouth predominately displayed citrus over other flavors. The wine had great acidity and perfect little bubbles. Again, I’m impressed with this sparkler from the South.

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