30 Second Wine Advisor: Keep the bubbly flowing

Today's Sponsor

Pour With Confidence!
(And get 4 bottles of wine for the price of 2!)
How do you find great wine? Let The California Wine Club help. Use promo code JANWA when you join to get four bottles for the price of two.

Keep the bubbly flowing

New Year's Eve is well past us now. We've put away the noisemakers and the funny hats and settled into the routine of gray, chilly and blustery January, and we've pretty much gotten over carelessly writing "2010" on forms and checks.

But do we have to put away the sparkling wine?


Whether you fancy true Champagne, the pricey bubbly from the French Champagne region, or any of the other sparkling wines from around the world that offer a similar bubbly experience, there's no reason to reserve these fizzy pleasures for New Year's Eve and June weddings.

Sparkling wine, after all, differs from other wine only in that it's bubbly. For me at least, that's not a problem but an advantage.

Beyond the bubbles, sparklers work in just about any context in which wine is served. Bubbly goes well with food, it's fine for sipping as an aperitif or cocktail, and - although the opening process requires modest skill - it doesn't even need a corkscrew.

So why wait? Treat yourself to something sparkling tonight. The many affordable alternatives to Champagne range from Italian Prosecco or Franciacorta through Spanish Cava to the many fizzy wines from California or Australia or ... well, just about any region with the climate for grapevines produces a bubbly, such as the well-regarded Gruet sparkler from New Mexico.

I've been spending time recently with crémant, the sparkling wine made by producers in France outside Champagne. Under the law, they mustn't use the name "Champagne," but crémant is made from similar grapes by an identical process, making a delicious and more affordable alternative.

Pronounced "Creh-MAHN," with a French nasal N at the end, crémant looks just like Champagne, with its wire cage and cork that comes out with a pop. It's frothy and bubbly in the glass, a French-made sparkling wine that's prickly, crisp and dry.

Crémant is made in many French wine regions, which are usually tagged on to its name on the label: Crémant de Bourgogne from Burgundy, Crémant d'Alsace from Alsace, Crémant de la Loire from the Loire valley, and Crémant de Limoux from the hills of Southwestern France.

Here are two good crémants I've enjoyed this month - yes, after New Year's.

Today's Tasting Report

Bott-Geyl Crémant d'Alsace Brut Paul-Edouard ($18.99)


This is a clear, pale-gold sparkling wine with a distinct greenish hue. It froths up to a foamy mousse that drops back fast, leaving a prickly mouthfeel but no lasting bubbles. Lime and subtle flowers or fresh herbs make an elusive, appealing aroma; there's crisp citrus and a herbal not of thyme on the palate. Dry and quite acidic, it was a fine food wine.

FOOD MATCH: It was excellent with an omelet of free-range eggs filled with fresh cheddar on the first night; the leftovers were just as good with a sausage pizza another night.

WEB LINK: The Bott-Geyl Website is available in English (click "Welcome") and French ("Bienvenue").

Check prices and find limited vendors for for Bott-Geyl Crémant d'Alsace Brut Paul-Edouard on Wine-Searcher.com.

Deligeroy Crémant de la Loire Brut ($14.99)


This wine is the color of straw with just a hint of brass. The wine foams up to fill the glass but falls back quickly, leaving only a few random bubbles. Its delicious scent of fresh apples adds a pleasant back note of rising bread dough. Carbonation evident on the palate with a creamy, prickly mouthfeel; crisp white fruit flavors are framed with snappy, food-friendly acidity.

FOOD MATCH: It made a fine match with a seafood pasta dish, linguine with white clam sauce.

Check Wine-Searcher.com for vendors and prices for Deligeroy Crémant de la Loire.

Today's Sponsor

California Wine Club

Pour With Confidence! (And get 4 bottles of wine for the price of 2!)

How do you find great wine? Trying to pick a great bottle of wine from supermarket shelves chock-full of pretty labels is frustrating. Let The California Wine Club help.

CWC takes the guesswork out of picking wine and delivers the best wine, every time! Every month, they feature two different award-winning wines hand-selected from California's best limited production "mom & pop" wineries, plus they take you inside the winery with Uncorked magazine.

You get great wine delivered to your door for just $36.45 plus shipping and handling and taxes where applicable. Plus, every bottle is backed by their 100% satisfaction guarantee, and you can reorder your favorite wines for up to 50 percent off retail. It's handcrafted quality at an affordable price.

Special Offer: Join now and The California Wine Club will include two extra bottles of wine in your first shipment at no extra charge. That's four bottles for the price of two! Just visit www.cawineclub.com or call 1-800-777-4443 and use promo code: JANWA when you join.

Give The California Wine Club a try! No membership fees and no commitment means that if you're not happy, you're not stuck!

Talk About Wine Online

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet's first and still the most civil online community. To find our forums, click:

Discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D". Anonymous, cryptic or first-name-only registrations are discarded without notice.

Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.

To contact me by E-mail, write wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Subscriptions and Administrivia

We're sorry if you must leave us, but simply click the "unsubscribe"
link at the bottom of your Email edition to be instantly removed from the mailing list.

Change address:
The quickest and easiest way to change your Email address is simply to register anew, using the link below. If you are keeping your old address but no longer wish to get the Wine Advisor there, click the unsubscribe link below to take it off our list; if you are closing the mailbox, you needn't take any action, as our system will delete your old address as soon as the mail to your old address starts to "bounce."

Subscribe to this Email edition (free):

WineLoversPage.com RSS Feed (free):

Wine Advisor Archives:

Sponsorship Opportunities:
For information, E-mail wine@wineloverspage.com