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Everyone Could Use a Little Sparkle...


I love the holidays.  The crisp winter air, the music, the family, the food, and the best part - the bubbly.  Not that you have to wait for a special occasion to break out the Champagne (I certainly don't!) - but the holidays seem to bring out a certain desire for something a little more festive than your usual red and white, don't you think?  I took it upon myself to do a little research on some of the sparkling wines we produce right here in Northern California, and ended up on a whirlwind tour of Napa and Sonoma wineries.  Here are my findings:

Domaine Carneros (Napa) - 2003 La Reve Blanc de Blancs :  Indeed, a "dreamy" sparkler that is wonderful as a standalone wine, or paired with seafood.

Mumm Napa (Napa) - 2001 DVX:  A highly rated wine in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, this sparkling wine has the tiniest of bubbles and a rich palate.  I tried a number of DVX wines at the tasting room, and liked them all!

Iron Horse Vineyards (Sonoma County) - 2006 Wedding Cuvee:  Made mostly from Pinot Noir (my favorite grape!), I love this peachy-hued bubbly because of the hints of sweet strawberry and the lovely vanilla notes.  The property at Iron Horse is really something - if you're lucky enough to be able to visit, you should absolutely do it. 

J Vineyards & Winery (Sonoma County) - NV J Cuvee 20:  For $20, this is a steal.  Crisp flavors of green apple and citrus, it's zesty and fresh - a very affordable sparkling that's great with food.  Also, their NV J Brut Rose is pretty nice - floral with hints of vanilla, a more feminine bubbly that is nicely balanced.


And that's just Northern California! 

I can't, in good conscience, post an entry about sparkling wine without also mentioning my favorite French sparkling wines (Salon and Dom Perignon are no-brainers, so I'll mention a few others instead):

NV Billecart-Salmon - Brut Rose (France):  A lovely pale salmon color, this is a beautiful champagne is enjoyed by so many of the professional reviewers - AND wine newbies alike!  A total winner, at any time of year.

NV Ayala - Brut Zero (France):  I had the opportunity to try this champagne at a company tasting, and realized that there are actually a few dry champagnes that I like.  This particular wine, with no dosage, is crisp but not too harsh, with a slight creaminess.  

NV Krug Grand Cuvee (France):  One of my personal favorites, even above the ubiquitous Cristal.  Always delicious, and completely worth every penny.

2000 Vilmart et Cie Brut Blanc de Blancs Gastronome Premier Cru (France):  Harder to find than NV Krug, and less expensive, but I really love their champagne.  Another favorite of mine from Vilmart et Cie is their NV Vilmart et Cie Brut Cuvee Rubis (I'm a sucker for pink, what can I say?)  Both of these wines were part of the Wine & Spirits Top 100 list this year!

NV Lucien Albrecht Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose (France):  Lastly - this bubbly is not "champagne", but it is pink and French and a total crowd pleaser.  (My girlfriends and I should really buy stock in this wine, that's how much we like it.)  At less than $20 per bottle, it's fantastic and perfect for drinking any time the urge strikes.


Now go out and get thee a bottle of something sparkly - just in time for New Year's.  Bonne Annee!!
Views: 8,761

What people are saying (1)

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Conrad K commented (4 years ago)
Wow! I didn't know you were such a Champagne girl. I will have to work some of your favorites into our next lunch when I am out for the Paulee in March.
Year, Name, Varietal, Country, Region, Appellation, Color Drink dates Score(s)  
Ayala - Brut Zero
NV Ayala - Brut Zero
White Champagne Blend
France - Champagne
VF: 2008-2011
92
VF 92
Add comment
Billecart-Salmon - Brut Rose
NV Billecart-Salmon - Brut Rose
Rose Champagne Blend
France - Champagne
Comm: 2013-2020
IWC ...
JR ...
91
RJ ...
Add comment
Iron Horse - Wedding Cuvee
2006 Iron Horse - Wedding Cuvee
White Pinot Noir
USA - California - Sonoma - Green Valley
91
Add comment
Mumm Napa - DVX
2001 Mumm Napa - DVX
White Champagne Blend
USA - California - Napa - Napa Valley
Comm: 2013-2013
92
Add comment
Domaine Carneros - Le Reve Late Disgorged
2003 Domaine Carneros - Le Reve Late Disgorged
White Chardonnay
USA - California - Carneros
Add comment
Lucien Albrecht - Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
NV Lucien Albrecht - Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose
Rose Regional Blend
France - Alsace
Add comment
Krug - Grande Cuvee
NV Krug - Grande Cuvee
White Champagne Blend
France - Champagne
Comm: 2010-2015
IWC ...
JR ...
92
RJ ...
Add comment
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