It took a while, but Spring finally seems to have come to our little section of Philadelphia. The cherry blossoms have bloomed, the windows are flung open at night, and I have been able to get out on my bike more often.
I have also dug out my 43 pair of shorts, failed to find my flip-flops, and have already fired up the barbecue more times than I can count. Yes, Spring is here in Philadelphia, perhaps the finest season to be in the Cradle of Liberty. Days are getting longer and occasionally warmer, more and more people are out walking in the neighborhood, and Philly’s National Holiday, the Fourth of July, is just around the corner.
When I saw the trees bloom on our street a couple of weeks ago, I realized that this would be my last Spring in my adopted home town as we are moving to Houston just after the Fourth. At first, I was apprehensive as I heard all these stories about how the weather is just horrible there in the summer; it regularly reaches well past 100º and the humidity is usually even higher.
For the past six months I have been trying to convince myself that it won’t be all that bad–I have concluded that there are three months you really don’t want to be outside in either locale. In Philly, it’s December, January, and February. In Houston it’s June, July, and August.
Regardless, I know one element that will remain constant: I am going to continue to drink a ton of sparkling wine. As I have mentioned repeatedly, sparkling wine is the most versatile of wine styles as it can be paired with practically any dish. It also should be consumed year-round, not just in the final few weeks of the year.
With that in mind, here are a few bottles of sparkling wine that I recently sampled that would be a great addition to your Spring (or Summer) repertoire:
NV Codorníu Cava Brut Blanc de Blancs Anna de Codorníu Rerserva: Retail $15. 70% Chardonnay, 30% Parellada. Nice aromas of peach, pear, and lemon in the glass with a tiny sparkle percolating through the pale yellow liquid to the surface. Past the lips this is fruity and tasty, a really nice sparkler, particularly for the tariff. Not, the most introspective of wines, but I honestly would buy this by the case and break it out often. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Codorníu Anna de Cordon Brut Rosé: Retail $15. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Strawberry, cherry, and rhubarb a go-go. On the palate, juicy and inviting with rich fruit and surprising depth. This is a sparkler that is for drinking in the short term, but it is on the verge of gangbusters. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
Coté Mas Crémant de Limoux: Retail $16. 60% Chardonnay, 20% Chenin Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir, 10% Mauzac. Muted citrus fruit and a bit of bread. On the palate, really bright and fun. This is a bargain at $16 and a steal at anything less than that. I have said before that Paul Mas is making some impressive wines and this is further evidence. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
Golan Heights Winery Gilgal Brut Galilee: Retail $15. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. I am pretty sure this is the first sparkling wine I have tried from the Golan Heights and I hope it is not the last: A tart Granny Smith apple nose that persists on the palate though a fine sparkle, it is a bit low on the biscuity aspects that are the hallmark of most traditional method sparkling wines, but again, a fine effort. Very Good. 86-88 Points.
Mia Rosa Moscato IGT: Retail $13. If you have never had a Moscato, why are you waiting? If it is good enough for Lil’ Kim, Drake, and Nicki Minaj, it is good enough for common folk like me (and presumably you). Great peach, apple, and pear, a slight sparkle and some sweetness define the wine–great for spicy food to barbecue, and all the way to dessert, this is a versatile wine. Light in alcohol and price, if you don’t mind a bit of sweetness, this is a wine you should always have in your cellar. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2014 Riverbench Cork Jumper Rosé Brut: Retail $42. 100% (?) Pinot Noir. The fine bubbles elevate through a faint salmon hue and help buoy the strawberry and rhubarb aromas out of the glass. Quite tart on the palate, with considerable depth and hints of baked bread on the finish. I drink a ton of sparkling wine and at this price point, there are few domestic sparklers that out perform. The only drawback? They call it “Méthode Champenoise” which the people from Champagne really frown upon. And since I consider myself practically champenois, well…. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.