Archive for the ‘champagne’ Category

Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut – $8.99


wwenhuang: For the $ this is a great deal. Dry, refreshing, with nice tight bubbles and a hint of sweetness.
aglassofwine: Simply put, Best Value; dry and crisp

Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin Brut – $37.99

wwenhuang: This particular pour compared to the previous seemed to have more guts to it, a little bit more complexity and a mild yeastiness to it. I got hints of citrus as well. Its VERY drinkable, I looked down and to my despair the glass was empty.
aglassofwine: dry, crisp
Drappier Sendree Cuvee de Prestige Brut 2000 – $44.99

wwenhuang: Alas, I loved this one and its the most expensive! It surpassed most of the others in complexity. It started out with a tart sweetness and finished on a more savory note for me. I suspect depending on what you eat you could bring out a nuttiness in it as well.

aglassofwine: tinge of sweetness at the end; not as bony. Quite graceful

Gloria Ferrer Cuvee Royal Brut 1997 – $21.99

wwenhuang: The majority of our tasters felt that this was a particularly watery champagne and I would have to agree. It ended with a odd sourness and was mostly flat tartness.

Roederer Estate Brut – $44.99

wwenhuang: This is a very straight forward champagne, with less subtle flavors and more bold citrus and apple. The bubbles were less tight, but overall I would say this champagne rates as so-so in my book.

Chandon Brut – $12.99

wwenhuang: Dry, Crisp, drinkable, but nothing to swoon over.

Moet White Star Brut – $34.99

wwenhuang: This was a particularly good pour with a good level of dryness along with great complexity, yeast, and mild hint of sweetness. This is a nice classic rich champagne that has a good balance of fruit and mineral. It won over many of our tasters.

aglassofwine: Best of Tasting

Vollereaux Brut Rose – $26.99

wwenhuang: This was not what you would expect from a Rose. I found myself hoping someone would finish my glass for me so I would have more room for other bottles. It had a tartness and bitterness that did not compliment well with its bold fruitiness and watery texture.

aglassofwine: This was a disappointment; someone said it tasted like fruitilops (sp)

Mumm Napa Cuvee M – $15.99

wwenhuang: I enjoyed this bottle but to be honest the bubbles had gotten to my head by this point. I tasted some hints of citrus, apple, and yeast. The bubbles were not as fine as other pours and it was not an interesting drink compared to most others. All in all I would say this is drinkable, but forgettable.

Vietti Moscato d’Asti 2006 – $11.99

wwenhuang: Typical of an asti this is a sweet, floral, fruity wine that is reminiscent of biting into a ripe peach and apple all at once. The nose is to die for, if only I could distill it into perfume form. A completely different animal compared to champagne, this is dessert to the very end.
aglassofwine: This is a simple, easy to drink sparkling wine. Yet, it had the best nose of ALL the tastings. Floral. Fun, happy drink. One of my favorites of the tasting, because of its distinct aromas.

Shooting Star Bubbles – $16.99

wwenhuang: This was an interesting red sparkling. Just by virtue of being a sparkling syrah, it has kind of a spicy, fruitiness to it. However, the finish is quite tart and can be bitter. I much rather prefer the other sparklings to this one.

wwenhuang: In summary, champagne is not necessary my forte either, but I do have to say that with the right pairing it could give many good wines a run for their money. The bubbles to get to your head quicker, and it’s so fun to drink. I would love to do this again with specific pairings, the flavors can be so subtle that the right food could really create a new experience.

aglassofwine: I can’t say for Wendy, but personally, I’m not a champagne girl. Give me still wine anytime. I’m all about the nose, and I just couldn’t get enough of it with the champagnes. Maybe, someone ought to teach me how to appreciate the bubbles… Nonetheless, I had an superbly enjoyable time. Good food (egg lasagna, crossaints, whole leg of ham, salad, bowls of fresh fruit), great company. ūüôā


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Tomorrow,¬†our wine group will be conducting a tasting of Champagne and other¬†Sparkling wines¬†– at brunch, no less. ūüôā¬†

As part of my research, I’m looking into Spumantes,¬†otherwise known as¬†sparkling wines in Italy.¬†Italian sparklers¬†hold a place near and dear to my heart, since they were¬†one of my early introduction to wine. I¬†fondly remember¬†one cool October morning, where I sat with three other friends in a piazza in Turin (one of the Piedmontese cities in¬†northwestern Italy), sipping a tall glass of Moscato D’Asti. That, was life. ¬†


Spumante: Italian for sparkling
You can find most of Italy’s spumantes in the northern (and thus cooler) regions. Unlike champagne, most Italian sparkling wines are made using the Charmat method, where the second fermentation is done in tanks instead of in bottles. This technique produces young, crisp and low alcohol wines that should be consumed within a few years of purchase.

Astis are made from Moscato grapes (white), from Asti in Piedmont, the northwestern region of Italy. The craggy, limestone soil in the areas excellent for growing grapes, and Piedmont is one of the powerhouse regions of Italian wine country – non-sparkling wonders like Barolo, Barbera, and Barbarescos are other examples of the region’s wide
repertoire of grapes. Asti is light, sweet, with hints of peaches. High acidity. It’s typically a non-vintage wine and should be drunk early.

Moscato D’ Asti:
This is the higher class version of Asti Spumanti, if you will. Comes from the same region – Asti, though there are plenty of good fizzy moscatos in other Piedmontese regions like Alba as well, but these are less well known, and not readily found in the US. It’s less fizzy, and is light and crisp with typically 5%-7% of alcohol. Delightful summer drink, and makes for an elagant apertif. Good Moscato D’Asti is not over poweringly sweet, unlike many of the cheap commercially made crap for American palates.

Another sparkling wine from Piedmont is the Bracchetto. I haven’t tried this personally, but it’s a red sparkling wine, made from Brachetto grapes. According to some of the tasting notes I’ve read online, the wine is light, with hints of strawberry and cherry; makes for an excellent pairing with fruit/cheese or a light dessert, but is also a good pairing with pizza.

Trader Joes sells a delightfully cheap and easy to sip Lambrusco. It’s simple, unpretentious: fizzy and slightly sweet red sparkling wine. Best served chilled, and is an excellent, excellent pairing with spicy food. Lambruscos are found in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (central).

Prosecco (derived from its grape) comes from the northeastern region of Italy, in Veneto (where Venice is). It’s the base for Bellinis (recipe: blend peaches into your prosecco). Light and refreshing, it has a lovely bouquet of melons, pears, and almonds. The wine is dry and crisp.

I’ve never tried this wine before either. Franciacorta is a name of a region in the Lombardy Lake District of Italy, and is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco (or Blanc), and Pinot Noir. Unlike most other Italian spumantes, Franciacorta is made using the French champagne method – i.e. wine is fermented in bottles. This results in tighter, smaller bubbles. Tasting notes online say that it is a dry, somewhat complex wine, with hints of almond, vanilla, and yellow ripe fruit. According to Italian wine law, Franciacorta must be aged for at least 18 months, vintage Franciacorta for 30 months.

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