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.

Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles

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

When I think of sparkling wine from Italy, my mind goes immediately to Prosecco. I’m not actually sure that I’ve had sparkling wine from Italy made from other grapes before this bottle, so I was interested to give it a try.  The Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose is composed of Nerello Mascalese and Prosecco grapes, which makes for something different from the norm. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne closure, and retails for between $13-$15.

The nose showed strawberry, raspberry, yeast, dough, sourdough, and cherry. I thought the fruit seemed quite vibrant on the nose.  In the mouth I got strawberry, cherry, and some floral notes. The palate was less vibrant than the nose, but displayed crisp, clean red fruit flavors and nice acidity, with plenty of bubbles.




A Tuesday Sparkler

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

We’re nearing the end of 2010 in case you hadn’t noticed. Almost hard for me to believe. It seems years go by faster as you get older. At least for me it does. You might recall that one of my goals this year (wine-related anyway) was to drink more sparkling wine.  I wanted to open sparkling wine just for the heck of it, on a Tuesday night. Most people I know save bubbles for a special occasion, but there’s really no reason for that. Sparkling wines are extremely versatile food-wise (I’ve yet to find something that doesn’t go well, from French Fries to Oysters) and being generally lower in alcohol content are a great mid-week wine choice. Tonight we went with the 1882 Bargrationi NV Brut. The wine hails from Georgia (the country), clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume, had a typical Champagne style cork closure, and retails for about $13. Perfect price for a mid-week sparkler.

On the nose I found lemon, sweet flowers, and pear. In the mouth, more lemon and pear, green apple, and sourdough bread. It had nice tight bubbles with great acidity. I found it to be spritzy and refreshing and the perfect pick-me-up for an otherwise rather dull weeknight. Try something a little different yourself tonight…it doesn’t get much different than sparkling wine from Georgia!


From Georgia. The Country.

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

I’ve had wine from a few far flung places. But most of my wine drinking experience comes from larger producing countries, like the US, France, Australia, etc. Once in a while I get a chance to taste wine from somewhere totally different, as is the case today. I’m doubly pleased with this wine since it’s from Georgia, the country, where I’ve never had a wine from before, and it’s a sparkling wine, so it contributes to my mission of drinking more sparkling wine this year!  We tried the 2007 Bagrationi Reserve Brut first, which had a traditional Champagne closure, clocked in at 13% alcohol by volume, and retails for $20.

On the nose I found yeast, lemon, pineapple, sourdough bread, and a some other tropical notes.  In the mouth the tropical notes came to the forefront for me, with pineapple, and citrus rounding out the flavors. The sparkling had great bubbles and nice acidity.  I also think this adds some more grapes to my list of grapes for the Century Club, being composed of Chinebuli, Mtsvane and Tsitska, though I need to look those up to make sure they don’t also go by other names. For $20 this is a great and interesting sparkler that I would definitely keep an eye out for.



Last of the Bubbles

Well, that’s not QUITE true, but it’s the last of the bubbles I have that I haven’t written about. I’ve got some nice Roederer tucked away, but I’ve written about the Roederer before! Not that it will stop me from writing about it again, but I do like to bring you some variety. Spring definitely presented some lovely weather for drinking bubbles on the porch. I think that should become an annual spring tradition at our house! Matt and I stopped after work at Grape and Bean in downtown Alexandria on a random Friday to pick up some bubbles. We came out with a bottle of the Céline and Laurent Tripoz Cremant de Bourgogne. I paid $23.50 for the wine, it had a typical Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

On the nose I got bread, honey, yeast, and honeysuckle. In the mouth I found honey butter, apricot, pear, and a chalky mineral quality. I found the wine to be crisp and tart with good bubbles. The Cremant is made from 100% Chardonnay and the estate is Demeter certified (biodynamic).