Seattleites, tune in to the Q13 News today at 4pm when I’ll be talking about sparkling wines.
Now many tend to think of these as special occasion and celebration wines – and perhaps I am only reinforcing that by writing about them before New Years! However, if you don’t already, make your New Year’s resolution to drink sparkling wines early and often in 2013. These are everyday wines. You wouldn’t just drink Cabernet Sauvignon on a certain date or on special occasions would you? Why should sparkling wines be any different?
When seeking out sparkling wines, don’t get too turned around by the nomenclature in regards to style. If you are looking for a dry wine, go with a bottle that says Brut or Extra Brut. If you are looking for something a little sweeter, go with Extra Dry (confusing no?) or Demi-Sec. See a discussion of the sweetness levels of sparkling wines here.
Often when we think about sparkling wines, we think about Champagne and with good reason. The region produces many transcendent wines. However, these wines can also be quite expensive. There’s great value to be had by looking at other regions of the world – or even other regions of France – that produce sparkling wines using the same methods that are used in Champagne. Below are a number of examples, including wines from Washington.
Finally, grower Champagne – Champagne produced by the same people who grow the grapes – has been in vogue in recent years. Folks living in and around Seattle should check out the retailer Fat Cork in lower Queen Anne that focuses exclusively on grower Champagne.
Below are a dozen sparkling wine recommendations to help ring in the New Year. Comment below or on Facebook with what you’re planning to open. Happy New Year!
Didier-Ducos Cuvee Brut Champagne NV $48
(Exceptional) An aromatically appealing wine with crusty bread, wheat, citrus, graham cracker, and honeycomb. The palate is creamy and rich with drawn out flavors and tingling effervescence leading to an extended finish. 80% Pinot Meunier, 20% Chardonnay. Fat Cork, Seattle
Colin Cuvee Alliance Champagne NV $35
(Excellent/Exceptional) The best Champagne I have had in this price range in quite some time, this wine is full of yeast and bread notes with a rich creamy palate that indicates a wine of a considerably higher price. City Cellars, Seattle
Mathieu-Gandon Espirit Brut Rose Champagne NV $48
(Excellent/Exceptional) An aromatic wine with yeast, cherry, cream, and toasty spices. The palate is full of Christmas spices with spritely acidity. A very unique, fascinating bottle of wine in a love-it-or-hate-it style, perfect for the wine geek. 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Noir Rouge. Fat Cork, Seattle
Perrot Batteaux et Filles Cuvee Helixe Champagne NV $47
(Excellent) An aromatically appealing wine with yeast, green apple, and light floral notes. The palate is light, crisp and refreshing. A very classically styled and appealing wine. 100% Chardonnay.
Roederer Estate Brut Sparkling Wine Anderson Valley $23
(Excellent) From the moment you pop the cork, you can smell this aromatic sparker which is woven with fresh baked bread notes, yeast, pear, and spices. The oak ageing here provides the palate with a bit of extra richness and depth leading to a lingering finish. An outstanding sparkling wine at this price.
Treveri Cellars Extra Brut Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $14
(Excellent) A moderately aromatic sparkler with early aromas of tropical fruit, particularly banana and pineapple, giving way to green apple, citrus notes, and brioche. The palate is tart, crisp, and quite dry with drawn out citrus flavors. Sample provided by winery. Reviewed June 19 2012
Syncline Wine Cellars Scintillation Sparkling Wine Columbia Gorge 2009 $40
(Excellent) A lightly aromatic, appealing wine with brioche, green apple, and spice. The palate has a slightly broader feel than its rosé counterpart with tart fruit flavors. 100% Chardonnay. Celilo Vineyard (1981 planting). Fermented in neutral barrels with native yeast. Bottled for two years en tirage. Disgorged January 2012. Dosage 5g/L. 12.0% alcohol. 200 cases produced. Reviewed June 27 2012
Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine Columbia Valley NV $14
(Good) A lightly aromatic wine with abundant grapefruit and floral notes. The palate is crisp and tart with abundant citrus flavors. Sample provided by winery. Recommended. Reviewed June 19 2012
Argyle Brut Sparkling Wine Willamette Valley 2008 $27
(Good) A moderately aromatic wine with light yeast and apple notes. The palate is tart and creamy, full of mineral notes. 63% Pinot Noir, 37% Chardonnay. Knudsen Vineyards, Lone Star vineyards.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Carneros NV $20
(Good) An aromatic, very clean sparkler full of bright red raspberry, apple, and light bread notes. The palate is medium bodied and quite rich with a fruit filled finish. 92% Pinot Noir, 8% Chardonnay. 12.2% alcohol.