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Wine Advisor Express:
Vouvray again ... with bubbles

Let's stay with Vouvray for one more day as we uncork a household favorite. This fine bubbly - which I enjoy a couple of times a year and last reported in May - is the Loire's answer to Champagne, although (just like fizzy wines from California, Australia and elsewhere) it has no right to use that name but is sold as "sparkling wine," and its hand-made production method can't be called "methode champenoise" ("Champagne method") but "methode traditionnelle" ("Traditional method," with the understanding that the tradition, of course, is that of Champagne).

And, in the spirit of yesterday's "anything but Chardonnay" topic, it's worth noting that sparkling Vouvray shuns the Burgundian grape blend of Champagne (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) in favor of the Loire's own Chenin Blanc. There's nothing the matter with that, as this steely, cleansing and remarkably long-lived variety is a noble grape in its own right, and makes wines both still and sparkling that are well worth getting to know.

Next time you're in the market for a sparkling wine - and with the holiday season well under way and New Year's Eve approaching, that might be soon - make it a point to look beyond the Champagne shelves and see if your merchant doesn't have a sparkling Vouvray on hand. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Foreau Foreau non-vintage Vouvray Brut Methode Traditionnelle ($14.99)
Clear pale greenish-gold, with a frothy mousse that dissipates quickly, followed by a slow but steady stream of bubbles. Appetizing fresh fruit aromas, apples and pears, lead into a full, crisp flavor that's dry, creamy and long. A very fine sparkling wine and a credible alternative to Champagne at a price the high-price bubbly can't touch. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati, and other regional distributors. (Dec. 19, 2001)

FOOD MATCH: Perfect with a dish crafted to match - a light seafood risotto with shrimp, scallops and squid.
A Warm and Mellow Feeling
Throughout the Year

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This is Wine Advisor Express, daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. For archives of previous articles, and to read more about wine, visit Wine Lovers' Page,

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Thursday, Dec. 20, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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