Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

The place for all things wine, focused on serious wine discussions.

Moderators: Jenise, David M. Bueker, Robin Garr

Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby AaronW » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:38 pm

I've delved a bit into the "American Bubbly's" ( i.e.Domain Ste. Michelle, Argyle, Korbel) and a few Cava's (i.e. Segura Viudas, Freixenet Cordon Negro), but I haven't yet braved the "Champagne" waters because of the tremendously high prices. Is the quality difference alot broader with the inexpensive vs. expensive or do pretty much the same principles apply with "sparklers" as with "still wines" in that there are low price bargain wines that are great, and great and not so great wines in all price ranges? Does that make sense? Is it worth spending the dough on a vintage Veuve Clicquot or Dom Perignon? If so, what are the intrinsic character differences between these and the less expensive ones mentioned at the top? I love bubbly's, but i just can't seem to justify myself getting one of those $100-$300 ones at this point.
Please help. All suggestions very much appreciated.
User avatar
AaronW
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Just south of SLC

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:48 am

Coincidence!! This afternoon one of the serving staff asked me about the merits of LBV Port v. Vintage Port. I was sampling some Grahams with a rep as the manager was away. I explained the merits of both styles, prices and how long a good port will last. Regarding champers, I am quite happy to fork out up to $60 but prefer to stick to the houses I was brought up with..Roederer, Bollinger, Heidsieck. Pretty easy on the wallet eh, not the high end ones of course.
Now, that $38 Prosecco>>>>>>!!

***** perhaps I should add that Alberta is not the best hunting-ground for finding champers, the likes of which were reported from McCool.
Last edited by Bob Parsons Alberta on Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Bob Parsons Alberta
aka Doris
 
Posts: 9557
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:23 am

There is a lot of good champagne at the sub-$100 level. See the thread below started by Joe Perry looking for "grower champagne" which comes from smaller producers as opposed to the large "industrial" houses. As you might expect, the smaller producers will have less consistency, but more personality in their wines.

Which one you prefer is a matter of your value system, and your tastes buds, or perhaps your mood as well.

As for how champagne compares to the other sparkling wines you mention, you could probably get a different answer from each different person on this board. But, it's safe to say that grape/terroir are the two key differences. And champagne does have some nobility going for it on both ends of that, so...

Best thing to do is to purchase, drink, and discuss, and move on from there..
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6967
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:45 am

Aaron - the range of bubblies is almost as broad as still wines. Variations in sweetness from Naturel to Brut to Extra Dry, etc. Variations in cuvee blends using some or all Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay (classic grapes from Champagne), Chenin (Sparkling Vouvray), and even Sparkling Riesling. Heck, there are even some nice sparklers made from labrusca and hybrids! And just about wherever anyone produces still wines, someone is also making sparkling wine (Dr. Frank makes some nice bubblies in the Finger Lakes). Getting back to your original question, at MOCOOL we had the opportunity to sample a number of bubblies, most of which were Champagne, and many of these were 1990 vintage. I was very impressed with the Champagnes I tasted there, but I also like many other bubblies. I guess, like still wines, it's all what you like. Here are 2 links to MOCOOL reports:

http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... ght=mocool

http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/vil ... ght=mocool
User avatar
Howie Hart
The Hart of Buffalo
 
Posts: 5930
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:13 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, NY

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby David Creighton » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:52 am

you can buy really good true champagne for upper $20's to low $30's/bottle. even better stuff in the upper $30's. as you have already been advised, forget the big houses with some exceptions - they are not great values even when they are good. the main exception is billecart-simon. as with most wines, there are often subtle differences between the good stuff and the better stuff. i suggest trying out some of the good small producers mentioned in another thread.
david creighton
David Creighton
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 11:07 am
Location: ann arbor, michigan

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:39 am

Grape/terroir that Rahsaan mentions is a very important note. I am becoming a Prosecco fan but find terroir missing in the ones I have tasted. Ah hum, maybe my $38 wine will deliver!!!!!
User avatar
Bob Parsons Alberta
aka Doris
 
Posts: 9557
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Ian Sutton » Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:39 am

IMO most sparkling wine is overpriced (but so is Barolo, but I still buy it). At the mid-range I reckon Roederer approaches fair value, though Krug GC is still far and away the best I've tasted. Have a bottle of Bolly 97 GA in the cellar to try sometime, and from the descriptors I've seen, this might be of interest, though the price has launched skywards in recent years.

At the cheaper end, hoping the Duval-Leroy NV I picked up recently for £8.50 (in a half-price sale) will be better than adequate.

Outside of Champagne, I like Cloudy Bay Pelorus (which is less hyped than the Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay) and for simple pleasure, Prosecco seems an area where there's some potential.

regards

Ian
User avatar
Ian Sutton
Spanna in the works
 
Posts: 3652
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:10 pm
Location: Norwich, UK

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Sam Platt » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:39 pm

AaronW wrote:I love bubbly's, but i just can't seem to justify myself getting one of those $100-$300 ones at this point.


Aaron, In general I find that I get lots of enjoyment out of less expensive wines of all types. The expensive stuff may be more intellectually appealing, but I can't justify it other than for special occasions. I've tasted Perignon and Cuvee Winston Churchill among other high end champagnes. If I won the lottery I would probably buy them more frequently, but I wouldn't get rid of Prosecco as my daily drinker.
Sam

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are a small
matter compared to what lies within us" -Emerson
Sam Platt
I am Sam, Sam I am
 
Posts: 2329
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 1:22 pm
Location: Indiana, USA

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Jenise » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:18 pm

Aaron,

Several things: 1) I have personally never tasted a domestic bubbly that meets the quality set by comparably priced French bubblies, but I have tasted some I like. Ironhorse and Schramsberg set the standard for the U.S., and those are very definitely worth trying at $30ish. I like Argyle, which you mentioned, too but I think the other two are generally better. 2) Are the pricey French wines worth it? Well, yes, to someone who lives for great champagne they are, but as with most things if it's not something you're immersed in the differences aren't as discernible or obviously worth the extra bucks. What you could do is delve into French bubblies at the entry level like Nicholas Feuillantte NV, Moet Brut Imperial (forget the off-dry White Star), or Duval Paris Cuvee and see if you don't notice a substantial qualitative difference between those and Ste. Michelle, for instance. If the result is positive, spring for something at the $50 level like Bollinger NV or Egly Ouriet. And if the result of that is positive, buy a NV Krug for around a $100. If that doesn't rock your world (and it should), then be satisfied to know that high priced bubblies hold no particular magic for you. But are they worth the occasional splurge for some of us? OH YES.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26395
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby Kevin Glowacki » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:35 pm

Amongst Champagnes, I've generally found the higher priced ones to be better. Having said that, if you don't care for Champagne and its particular taste profile, you probably wouldn't agree. Even then, of the three most expensive I've ever tried, the least expensive of the three was my personal favorite.

I've never been able to try any of the grower Champagnes that I often read about, since they seem to have very little distribution in Atlanta amongst the shops I frequent.

Having a low income level, I tend towards the under $20 sparklers, with Gruet Blanc de Noirs being my favorite, followed by Zardetto Prosecco and for under $10, Pearly Bay Celebration from S. Africa.

I'd suggest a blind tasting with some friends to spread out the costs. Try a vintage and NV Champagne, a Cava, a Prosecco and a domestic sparkler from California...or some combination of sparkling wines from around the world. That way, you'll get to decide what you like best for yourself and judge the value. I've done this myself and it made for a fantastic evening.
Kevin Glowacki
Cellar rat
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:49 pm

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Grape/terroir that Rahsaan mentions is a very important note. I am becoming a Prosecco fan but find terroir missing in the ones I have tasted. Ah hum, maybe my $38 wine will deliver!!!!!


It damn well better!
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10474
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:50 pm

As most people have already said, Champagne far outclasses other sparkling wines. I can get Henri Abele NV for $19.99 in DC. It is the house champagne of the French Embassy according to my sources. I'm sure the ambassador drinks something a little more "upscale". Whatever it is, enjoy the great taste of a true Champagne. It really can't be matched.
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10474
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:53 pm

I am becoming a Prosecco fan but find terroir missing in the ones I have tasted.


Technically speaking, all wines should show some terroir, shouldn't they? The question being how specific and how noble is it?

I guess a majority of prosecco is made under pretty non-serious conditions, but there are quite a few single-vineyard expressive proseccos out there, as Zul used to go on about. But I guess he's been on hiatus for a while..
Rahsaan
Wild and Crazy Guy
 
Posts: 6967
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:20 pm
Location: Chapel Hill, NC

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:37 pm

You are right Rahsaan, it would be nice to have someone here to delve into Prosecco in some detail. Any decent links out there in googleland!!?
Oh my $38 Prosecco.........only 4782 bottles, the `05 Vecchie Viti from Ruggeri. There you go!
User avatar
Bob Parsons Alberta
aka Doris
 
Posts: 9557
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:09 pm

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby AaronW » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:48 am

AaronW. wrote:I've delved a bit into the "American Bubbly's" ( i.e.Domain Ste. Michelle, Argyle, Korbel) and a few Cava's (i.e. Segura Viudas, Freixenet Cordon Negro), but I haven't yet braved the "Champagne" waters because of the tremendously high prices. Is the quality difference alot broader with the inexpensive vs. expensive or do pretty much the same principles apply with "sparklers" as with "still wines" in that there are low price bargain wines that are great, and great and not so great wines in all price ranges? Does that make sense? Is it worth spending the dough on a vintage Veuve Clicquot or Dom Perignon? If so, what are the intrinsic character differences between these and the less expensive ones mentioned at the top? I love bubbly's, but i just can't seem to justify myself getting one of those $100-$300 ones at this point.
Please help. All suggestions very much appreciated.


Absolutely excellent feedback forum-ites. Looking forward to more elaboration on this subject.
Oh, as a tantalizing side note of worthy mention: I made some onion rings a few months ago using Prosecco as the liquid base for the batter!! One word--- DIVINE!!
User avatar
AaronW
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Just south of SLC

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby James Roscoe » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:18 pm

AaronW. wrote:Absolutely excellent feedback forum-ites. Looking forward to more elaboration on this subject.
Oh, as a tantalizing side note of worthy mention: I made some onion rings a few months ago using Prosecco as the liquid base for the batter!! One word--- DIVINE!!


Oh my! That is a recipe that needs to be posted on the FLDG! It sounds great. Although my go to might be a cremant or even a champagne before a prosecco. SIt still sounds like a match made in heaven.
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10474
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Dave Erickson » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:05 pm

I'm generally agin the Grand Marque houses, but I make an exception for Pol Roger. The latest NV release is the work of Dominique Petit, formerly of KRUG. I think he's out to make a point that his standards haven't dipped...the stuff is exceptional, and should be available for around $40.

For under $20 I like Brut Comte Cote du Jura; blanc-de-blanc, nice Champagne-like toast on the nose.

I find most prosecco kinda boring. The dry ones have no character, and the fruity ones are...fruity.

I do like Ferrari Metodo Classico, however. Made in Trentino, if memory serves, from 100% chardonnay, and a formidable bubbly it is, for around $25 these days.
User avatar
Dave Erickson
Wine guru
 
Posts: 832
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 5:31 pm
Location: Asheville, NC

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Jenise » Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:05 pm

Dave said:
I find most prosecco kinda boring. The dry ones have no character, and the fruity ones are...fruity.


Finally, someone else who feels like I do about Prosecco. I really don't get that wine at all, even the geeky deluxe models are boring.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
Jenise
FLDG Dishwasher
 
Posts: 26395
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sun Sep 24, 2006 12:34 pm

It occurred to me while reading these posts that Aaron's question can be taken as one about the shape of the curve relating price to quality. That is, if a reasonably broad set of data were collected on champagnes, bubblies, sparklers, etc. would the curve relating ratings to price look more like a straight line diagonal from the origin (probably not); a horizontal line (zero slope) (probably not); a relatively flat curve at first, followed by an acceleration upwards, and then a flattening out (maybe); or something else? Alternatively, a single curve might obscure differently shaped curves for different concoctions (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, etc.). Anyone want to take a shot at this?
User avatar
Dan Smothergill
Wine guru
 
Posts: 620
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:24 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby James Roscoe » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:17 pm

Dan Smothergill wrote:It occurred to me while reading these posts that Aaron's question can be taken as one about the shape of the curve relating price to quality. That is, if a reasonably broad set of data were collected on champagnes, bubblies, sparklers, etc. would the curve relating ratings to price look more like a straight line diagonal from the origin (probably not); a horizontal line (zero slope) (probably not); a relatively flat curve at first, followed by an acceleration upwards, and then a flattening out (maybe); or something else? Alternatively, a single curve might obscure differently shaped curves for different concoctions (Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, etc.). Anyone want to take a shot at this?


Dan, it's all yours brother!
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
James Roscoe
Chat Prince
 
Posts: 10474
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:43 pm
Location: D.C. Metro Area - Maryland

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$

Postby Dan Smothergill » Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:05 pm

Come to think of it, this question would seem right up the alley of the Journal of Wine Economics, the new journal noted here a while ago. I tried ordering it, as I recall you had to join the society, but never heard back.
User avatar
Dan Smothergill
Wine guru
 
Posts: 620
Joined: Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:24 pm
Location: Syracuse, NY

Re: Sparkling Wines/Champagne -- Is the quality alot greater with alot more$$$??

Postby AaronW » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:09 pm

James Roscoe wrote:
AaronW. wrote:Absolutely excellent feedback forum-ites. Looking forward to more elaboration on this subject.
Oh, as a tantalizing side note of worthy mention: I made some onion rings a few months ago using Prosecco as the liquid base for the batter!! One word--- DIVINE!!


Oh my! That is a recipe that needs to be posted on the FLDG! It sounds great. Although my go to might be a cremant or even a champagne before a prosecco. SIt still sounds like a match made in heaven.


You're right, James, I'll have to stick that'n in the kitchen.
Stay tuned!
User avatar
AaronW
Ultra geek
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:45 pm
Location: Just south of SLC


Return to The Wine Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], Google [Bot], Google Adsense [Bot], Michael Malinoski and 10 guests