Bubbles – Not Just For Valentine’s Day Anymore!

Feb 11, 2010 by

OK, I’ll admit it. I prefer expensive Champagne from France. I do. Just can’t afford to buy the stuff as much as I would like, so I buy the bubbles I can afford. There are some really good, affordable bubbles from other places, too and this piece is all about them.

Sparkling wines go great with lots of foods and occasions – picnics, Sunday brunches and midnight trysts all come to mind (I’m a sassy wench – can’t help myself!). Bubbles – not just for Valentine?s Day any more!

My panel and I tasted 20 sparkling wines from around the world (mostly from CA). I was very tempted to fill up the bathtub with the open bottles when we finished tasting, but I showed some uncharacteristic restraint and gave the open bottles to neighbors and friends. I did actually take a wine bath in leftover Syrah one time. I emptied the open bottles in the tub and topped it up with hot water. Ahhh! It was great! I was very relaxed and it did wonders for my skin. Hic!

Back to this review – The following 12 sparkling wines were our favorites:

Five Stars
Gloria Ferrer
Va de Vi Ultra Cuvee $22
Rich and sultry, like Scarlett Johansson rocking a white low-cut velvet dress, with diamonds at her throat and ears. Intense aromas and flavors of lemon meringue, buttered toast and ripe peach are all wrapped up in an effusively bubbly mouthfeel.

Five Stars
Iron Horse
2006 Wedding Cuvee $38
Tropical fruit, melon and buttered toast notes set the theme here, from the aroma, through the vivacious mouthfeel and on through the finish. Really nice!

Five Stars
Gloria Ferrer
2005 Blanc de Blancs $28
This opulently rich sparkler is done in the yeasty, toasty style that makes me do things I might regret. Or not. The nose beckons with toasted almond, yeast bread and luscious, ripe peach. These aromas continue as flavors in the vibrant mouth.

Five Stars
Gloria Ferrer
2002 Royal Cuvee Brut $3
5
Ooooh! Gorgeous! This is one to keep on hand for special occasions! Alluring scents and flavors of poached pear, caramel, toasted almond and yeast delight the senses. Brilliant mousse in the mouth. Yum!

Five Stars
Barefoot
NV Extra Dry $10.99
This is Dolly Parton in a glass! Sweet, spicy and very bubbly! One sniff says “Hi ya’ll!” Aromas and flavors of gingerbread, baked apples and ripe pear make this sweeter style bubbly a little too easy to enjoy.

Four Stars
Gloria Ferrer
NV Sonoma Brut $20
Zippaty doo da, zippity ay, my, oh my what a zippity wine! This refreshing sparkler boasts aromas and flavors of crisp pear, apple and citrus, all zipped together in a bright, clean mouthfeel. Great!

Four Stars
Gloria Ferrer
NV Blanc de Noirs $20
What a pretty wine! Notes of strawberry, pear, apple and citrus are enhanced by toast and spice, both in the nose and in the mouth. Yum!

Four Stars
Barefoot
NV Pinot Grigio Champagne $10.99
This straightforward sparkler is perfect for sipping in the hot tub with non wine-geek friends. It is loaded with aromas and flavors of ripe peach, pear and apple.

Three Stars
Barefoot
NV Chardonnay Champagne $10.99
An easy-drinking bubbly, bursting with pear, citrus and green herb aromas and flavors, this wine is affordable and enjoyable.

Three Stars
Toad Hollow
NV Amplexus $1
6
This pretty sparkler is toasty, spicy and fruity, all at the same time. What more could you ask of a delicious, reasonably priced wine – Aromas and flavors of toasted almond, buttered toast, pear, apple and baking spices meld happily in the nose and in the mouth.

Three Stars
Callaway
NV Bella Blanc $28
Do you remember the Roald Dahl story “James and the Giant Peach?” Well, this wine is “Callaway and the Giant Nectarine.” Seriously. From the first sniff, through the effusively bubbly mouthfeel and on through the finish, this wine is sparkling nectarine all the way! It is juicy, slightly sweet and delicious.

Three Stars
Villa Sandi
Prosecco, Valdobbiandene D.O.C. $14
Pull this crisp, refreshing Italian sparkler out for porch or poolside sipping. Scents and flavors of brandied pear, ripe peach and citrus delight the nose and palate. This wine is waaay too easy to drink!

We bloggers are now required by law to state the following: “All wine samples were provided complimentary by the participating wineries.” And they were. Thanks wineries!

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