deVine Thoughts

December 26, 2008

Bubbles for the New Year

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 2:31 am

Grande_Dame_98Author: Dirk Chan

With the New Year imminent, let’s raise a glass to 2008 as it makes its exit. There’s something about bubbles that always brings a smile to my face, whether it is in celebration or commiseration.  Bubbles is certainly one of the most fascinating and refreshing drinks, amazingly flexible with food matches too.

 Champagne has the place of honor (and priced accordingly as well) but there are numerous countries making great sparkling wines at a fraction of the cost of Champagne: the Italian Prosecco, the Spanish Cava, Bruts from Canada, US, Portugal, Argentina and Australia. Here are some recommendations for sparklers to bring in 2009…

 CanellaThe Italian Prosecco from Veneto has been on quite a run with its lively mousse and fruit at the citrus end of the spectrum. Inexpensive and fun, serve this everyday without buyer’s remorse. Try the Canella for $19.99. The most affordable sparkling wines are those from Australia and the Spanish Cava. The Seppelt Great Western from Victoria is a deVine bestseller – $11.99, while the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva has some of the French Champagne quality for a measly $15.99. 

PellerFrom Argentina, the Schroeder Deseado – $21.99  is made from the indigenous Torrontes grape, it is very flowery and quite sweet.  I also like the Peller Estate Ice Cuvee Classic from Niagara is uniquely Canadian with its dosage of Canadian Icewine in the mix – $36.99.

There are some interesting and well-priced bubblies from France made outside of the Champagne region. Try the excellent Rolet Cremant Rosé from the Jura region made from the slightly oxidative tasting Poulsard grape, this is most interesting and unique – $24.99.  From Alsace, try the expansive and gutsy Francois Lichtle Methode Traditionnelle Brut – $24.99 made from 100% Pinot Noir. HuetFrom the Loire Valley, try the slightly sweet but very clean Huet Vouvray Brut, made from Chenin Blanc grape – $33.99.

Finally, we come to the king of them all, French Champagne. The latest trend is Growers’ Champagne, growers that in the past made and sold their grapes to the big boys are now merchandising and marketing their own brands.  Great value here,  so try the biscuity Chartogne-Taillet Sainte-Anne Brut – $51.99 or the very elegant Bruno Gobillard – $54.99.  BollingerFor the value-driven non-vintage Bruts, try the excellent Montaudon – $44.99, Henri Billiot et Fils – $62.99, Bollinger Special Cuvee (the one James Bond drinks!) – $78.99 and the exquisitely feminine Billecart Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru – $99.99. For the pink Rosés, try the new to Alberta Janisson & Fils Rosé – $54.99 and the alway stellar Nicolas Feuillatte 1er Cru Rosé – $62.99 is always a sure bet.

KrugFor the very best, try the vintage dated Bruts – these are full of fruit, bread and doughy nuances with amazingly elegance and finesse: 1996 Devaux Millesime – $97.99, 1998 Pol Roger Winston Churchill – $214.99,  2000 Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon – $224.99, 1998 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame – $239.99, 1998 Krug – $324.99, 2000 Louis Roederer Cristal – $349.99, the pre-phylloxera 1998 Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Francaises – $599.99 – all examples of why French Champagnes are the ultimate in celebratory wines, any of which will bring in the new year with class and distinction. Salute!

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