Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terrace View - Sparkling Sparklers!

There are some great choices available for sparkling wines. If you consider that Champagne can empty your wallet and that Prosecco doesn't always provide the interest or complexity you'd like then try a well made Crémant, Pétillant, or Spumante Brut from Italy. These wines are great values, occupying the space price wise between the cheap bubbles and true Champagne, and they have wonderful personality and flavors due to the secondary bottle fermentation, the same method used for Champagne. It's more labor for the winemaker and requires more time at the winery before being released, but it pays dividends with a better mouthfeel and more complexity. Here are four of my favorites that fit the bill:

From France
Peillot Bugey Montagnieu Brut $21.99 - Dry, light and crisp, nice complexity with aromas of yeasty baked bread, it's made from altesse, mondeuse, and chardonnay. This is just the type of small producer wine that we like. Click to see a profile of winemaker Franck Peillot.

Les Champs Libres Saint-Peray Pétillant $26.99 - Big, broad and savory, this is marsanne from the northern Rhone. It's a full bodied white, open-throttled with long hair blowing in the wind.

From Italy
Balter Trento Brut $29.99 - From the great Nicola Balter in Rovereto comes this beautiful Brut Spumante, all chardonnay and made with great care, aged for 3 years before release. Delicious.

Ronco Calino Franciacorta Brut $29.99 -  A dry, crisp wine with minerality that's very Champagne-like and nice length. From a 10 acre farm in Lombardy, the varietal recipe here is pinot noir, chardonnay,and pinot bianco.

By The Glass - Would you like to have a glass or two of sparkling wine each day and make a bottle last for most of the week? Here's the secret to success. Purchase a clamshell and keep the bottle in the fridge. It's $5.99.


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