Today my to do list reads, “cat box, bubbly post”. So I’m starting with the bubbly post! 😉 Among the many opportunities for a roving sommelier to taste wine, arises the portfolio tasting. This is when an agency sets up at a local restaurant with a wide range of the products they represent, open and ready to be tasted. My notes at these tastings are, of necessity, very short and to the point. Last week Stacey Jo treated industry insiders to the wide range of bubbles represented in her three portfolios.
Bubbles, Bubbly, Sparklers, Sparkling wine…it’s all the same and all different. Let me break it down as best I can…
Champagne which is always and only produced in the French region of Champagne using the traditional method (or methode Champenoise) of second fermentation in the bottle. The second fermentation is what gives sparkling wine the bubbles.
Spanish Cava, most of which is produced in or around Catalonia using the traditional method.
Cremant d’Alsace made in the French region of Alsace by traditional method. There are also Cremant wines made in France in Bourgogne, Bordeaux, Die, Jura, Loire, Limoux and Savoie and outside of France with the rarely found Cremant de Luxembourg.
German Sekt which can be made using traditional method, transfer method (where the second fermentation is done in the bottle and the wine is transferred under pressure, through a filtration system and then re-bottled) or Charmat method (where the second fermentation takes place in bulk pressure tanks and the wine is then bottled under pressure.
Prosecco made mostly from Glera (the grape formerly known as Prosecco) and most often in the Charmat method with some exceptions. Made in Italy in the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.
Sparkling Wine in general can be made all over the world in different styles with different methods. In France, wines identified as “Mousseux” are usually made with the Charmat method. You can find good sparklers in Austria, Portugal, Hungary, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., Argentina, Chile and any wine-making country you can think of… Please don’t be offended if I’ve left out your favorite.
My favorites of Stacey Jo’s tasting were (in no particular order):
Voga Prosecco 2011 +757809 Slatey, dry, good, solid, balanced. Nice $
Conde de Caralt Cava Brut +749146 So clear and shiny! Licorice and salt. Clean, brightly acidic, long, even. Oh so good. $
Lobetia Bubbles Organic +765483 Very floral/candy nose. Light, easy and persistent $
Graham Beck Brut +607747 New shoes, fresh vanilla. Crisp lovely and bright $$
Graham Beck Blancs de blancs 2009 +718032 Nice earthy nose, vanilla cream. Earthy palate. Eelish. Gorgeous, good, even. $$
Bollinger Special Cuvee +384529 Savoury, dirty-sweet nose. Toast and honey, Sweat and apple pie. Q says it’s a little old lady making apple pie on a hot Quebec afternoon. He’s right…Gorgeous. $$$
Bollinger Rose +732904 Big “champagne” nose. Red and black licorice, menthol, medicine, orange thyme. omg. Gorgeous, subtle and fresh. Perfect everyday Champagne. $$$
Brundlmayer Sekt Rose 728776 From Austria made of Pinot, Zweigelt & the highly aromatic St. Laurent. Yeasty, fresh dough. Tangy, bright and loooong!! $$
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut +728386 Toast and jam! 91% Pinot Noir. DIVINE! $$
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs +447797 Creamy cherry and licorice. Dreamy. Perfect. $$
Fox Creek Vixen Sparkling Shiraz +747279 Big fruity, oaky Shiraz. Bright and kinda sexy. Big heavy mid palate. Surprising. Good! $$
Summerhill Cipes Brut +314419 Vanilla and acetone. Clean and refreshing. Good fruit. $$
Summerhill Cipes Brut Rose +720539 Savoury sunny thyme notes, menthol, rose, rose, rose. $$
Ayala Brut Nature +719104 Lemony sweet nose. Very dry w. great acidity and long, long finish $$$
Ayala Cuvee Rose Nature +753724 Bright, creamy rose nose. Herbaceous and floral. $$$
Ayala Rose Majeur +719106 Light pink rose. Toast, hot shoeing, manure. Solid. Firmly acidic with great fruit and a long long finish. $$$
Henriot Blanc de Blancs +534180 Nose of buttered toast. Big, clean, very sophisticated mouthful of toast and butter with beautifully balanced fruit. Nice, long finish.$$$
Henriot Brut Millesime 2003 +527945 Bright golden hue. Vanilla and El Producto cigars, toast and jam. Lovely and dry, elegant, expressive and beautifully mineral. Mouth-watering and clean.$$$
Wolfberger Brut +702142 Herbaceous, licorice nose. Firm, fruity and savoury at once. Great acidity and length. Lovely. $$
Carpene Malvolti Extra Dry Prosecco +745114 Mellow, fruity nose. Easy and bright. Very creamy and smooth. Q loves this one. $$
Carpene Malvolti Rose Brut Prosecco +745115 Dried blackberry nose with roasted marshmallow. Really pretty palate. Fresh with great acidity and fruit. Love $$
…and then I headed off to work.
So, there you have it. A couple of hours in the afternoon of your local sommelier. Now, on to the catbox. :}