Popping a cork for the New Year
With my warmest holiday wishes for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Winter Solstice or whatever seasonal festival you celebrate in your home, let's devote this week's short holiday edition to a quick pre-New Year's review of five assorted bubblies that I've tried recently. They range from a Champagne of real quality and value to decent bubblies from Italy and New Mexico, of all places; and a pair of very low-price "pop" sparklers that exceed the expections one might bring to sparkling wine in the $6 range. You'll find the reviews below.
Add in the outstanding Champagne Pol Roger that I reviewed in our Dec. 5 edition (http://www.wineloverspage.com/wines/wt120500.shtml), and you've got a half-dozen sparkling-wine recommendations covering every price range but the high-end luxury models that sell for $50 and up. If you want to splurge in that category, you're on your own ... but it's hard to go wrong.
Got any sparkling-wine recommendations that combine quality and value? I'd love to hear about them and hope you'll let me know, either by joining in the chat on our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, or sending me a note by E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I regret that the growing circulation of the "Wine Advisor" makes it difficult for me to reply individually to every note, and my travels this month will also limit my ability to respond; but I'll answer as many as I can; and please be assured that all your input helps me do a better job of writing about wine.
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Five good sparkling wines
A relatively modern (1948) Champagne house, Charbaut devotes much of its production to special-label brands for restaurants and distributors. The wines bottled under its own name are a little harder to find but generally offer good value, as in this Brut. Clear pale gold in color with the requisite lasting pinpoint bubbles, it offers a fresh aroma with an odd but pleasant fresh-dairy scent that evokes peaches and cream. Its flavor is fresh and crisp, mouth-filling citric fruit and zippy acidy; flavors follow the nose in a long, clean finish. U.S. importer: Charbaut America, NYC. (Dec. 24, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: An exceptional partner with a light pre-holiday dinner of potato-and-leek soup with a dash of truffle oil and hot onion-potato bread with a bit of mild Corsican goat cheese on the side.
Nino Franco non-vintage "Rustico" Prosecco di Valdobbiadene ($13.99)
FOOD MATCH: Aperitif.
Gruet non-vintage Brut Blanc de Noirs ($14.99)
FOOD MATCH: Thick bean-with-ham-hock soup and fresh-baked Italian bread.
Motif "Classic" California Sparkling Wine ($5.99)
FOOD MATCH: Aperitif.
Motif "Touch of Raspberry" California Sparkling Wine ($5.99)
FOOD MATCH: Aperitif.
Winetasting.com is an online cooperative of Californiaís leading wineries selling directly to wine lovers. This gives customers like you unique access to limited-release wines not available outside the tasting room. For full information, visit http://www.winetasting.com/hub/landing.asp?wlpgid=WLPG001LA. I have known these folks for a long time and can confidently recommend them.
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Vol. 2, No. 49, Dec. 25, 2000