While I’m a firm believer that Sparkling Wine should be consumed every day of the year and both with and without a meal; there’s no denying that around Holiday time people pop a lot more bubbly. With that idea in mind I recently sat down and tasted close to three dozen examples. Here are the seven I feel the most strongly about recommending and a few words about each.
Cachette Blanc de Blanc (NV). This French sparkling wine was made from 100% Airen, a grape which is often associated with Spain. Primary fermentation occurred naturally while the secondary was at controlled temperatures. 2,000 cases of this offering were imported to the US and it has a suggested retail price of $14.99. Bits of ginger and lemon ice aromas are present on the nose of this Burgundian Sparkler. Fresh apples, pear and continued lemon characteristics are all in evidence through the palate which is buoyed by zippy acidity. Plenty of spice and additional citrus elements are in evidence on the finish which is clean, crisp and refreshing. This is a nice Sparkling Wine in the entry level category for those who want something dry. Cachette works well by itself or will also pair with light foods.
Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling White (NV). This Sparkling Wine was produced using 100% Malvasia from the Modena region of Italy. The family has been producing wine there under their own name since 1928. This offering is widely available in the US and has a suggested retail price of $14.99. Fresh, vibrant stone fruit aromas explode from the nose of this wine. Peach, apricot and bits of mango are all present on the fruity palate. Bits of spice emerge on the finish as the cavalcade of fruit continues. The finish shows off elements of sweetness and enough acidity to keep things in check. This is a very fun wine that will have tons of crowd appeal.
Maison J.J. Vincent Cremant de Bourgogne (NV). This sparkling wine from Burgundy was made using 100% Chardonnay. The fruit for this selection was hand picked in the earliest stages of harvest. This wine is available all over the US and has a suggested retail price of $23.99. Bits of pineapple, almond and hazelnut emerge from the nose of this wine along with a touch of lemon zest. Granny Smith apple leads the charge through the palate accompanied by bits of brioche and a firm undercurrent of yeast. Minerals, white pepper and nutmeg are all present on the finish along with a wisp of fresh ginger. There is a terrific depth of palate, purity of fruit and solid length here. It is a fresh, lively and elegant wine for the price.
Gustave Lorentz Cremant s’Alsace Rosé (NV). 100% Pinot Noir from the Alsace region of France was used to make this sparkling Rosé. This offering was vinified using the traditional Methode Champenoise. 2,500 cases of this offering were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $24.99. Strawberry, vanilla and fresh cream aromas burst forth from the nose of this Sparkling Rosé. The mouth feel here is absolutely beautiful and layered with red fruits, spice and all buoyed by a creaminess that continues though the generous, persistent, and gently layered palate. This selection would be a great choice to pair with a holiday brunch. It’s also absolutely delectable on its own. A very nice value.
Ferrari Perlé 2004 Blanc de Blancs. This Vintage Sparkling wine was made entirely from Chardonnay grapes harvested in Trento Italy. The fruit came from hillside vineyards. Select yeasts were utilized and this wine was allowed to mature on them for roughly 5 years. Ferrari has been making this offering since the 1971 vintage. It has a suggested retail price of $35. Hazelnut and apple aromas abound on the nose here. A potpourri of apple characteristics dominate the palate with yellow delicious, granny smith and gala shining through the most prominently along with wisps of nutmeg. Hints of cream and biscuit-laden goodness emerge on the lengthy finish along with copious spice notes. This is an elegant and impressively complex wine for its price point.
Ferrari Rosé (NV). This wine was produced using a blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%). It was vinified using the Classic Method. The Ferrari family has been producing this release since 1969. It has a suggested retail price of $37. Wild strawberries, crème fraiche and toasted almond aromas emerge from the lovely nose of this offering. Red cherry, hints of raspberry and fresh strawberry notes are all part of the refreshing and lively palate. Yeast and spice notes emerge on the finish which has solid length. This is a fairly light bodied wine with refined dept. It’s precise and graceful. The Ferrari Rosé is beautiful on its own and will work well with light foods.
Pol Roger Brut Reserve “White Foil” (NV). This offering is a blend of equal parts Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Only first pressed wine is used for this cuvee. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel. The final blend is always composed of at least two vintages. This widely available Champagne has a suggested retail price of $49.99. This Non Vintage Brut begins with an impressive nose layered with toasted hazelnut, ginger, honey, almond, lemon ice and a fair dollop of yeast. Continued lemon characteristics are joined by stone fruits such as white peach and apricot as well as a bevy of spices on the impressive and deeply complex palate. The crispy finish has terrific length; spice notes, bits of yeast and citrus elements reverberate on the back of the throat long after the last sip is swallowed. This continues to be an excellent example of NV Brut for its price category.
This is a broad range of wines that will suit a variety of taste buds. I feel that each of them represents a very good value in its respective category. Buy these wines with confidence, they will improve your holiday celebration or any random Tuesday night you pop the corks. Happy Holidays!