This is it. This is the time of the year that sparkling wine gets a ton of attention. This will not be the only blog that has some sort of review of sparkling wines (nor will it be the only such post on this blog—more to come tomorrow). I have lamented for a long time that sparkling wine should be consumed all year, but here I am again writing a post just a day before sparkling wine’s Super Bowl.
Without getting into it, not all sparkling wine is “champagne” so if you are looking for an alternative to celebrate the coming year (or the end to 2016), here are a few fine suggestions.
N.V. Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco ‘1868’ Superiore Conegliano Vadobbiadene DOCG: Retail $12. 100% Glera. On my last and only trip to Valdobbiadene in the heart of Prosecco country, I learned there was a big difference between the general DOC wines and the more precise DOCG bottlings. Seeing that this was the latter, and one can notice a difference: citrusy fruit with just a wine of freshly baked bread, this wine delivers on so many levels. Great fruit, acidity, and depth, this represents the potential of the appellation. It still falls slightly short of my favorite brand from the region, but it is close. Very Good. 88-90 Points.
2009 Ferrari Perlé Trento DOC: Retail $40. 100% Chardonnay. This past Fall, I spent a few days in the TrentoDOC, but I did not get the chance to visit Ferrari, unfortunately, but this is the biggest name from the region and for good reason. Bright and biscuity with lemon zest and tinges of pineapple. A fine active mousse leads to a delightful palate, fruit with a subtle flintiness. This might need more time actually, but fantastic now. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
Loimer Extra Brut Niederösterreich: Retail $20. 42% Grüner Veltliner, 33% Zweigelt, 25% Pinot Noir. Barely any color, just a slight pale greenish hue. Apple and pear a go-go with really great acidity. A nice biscuity note, great fruit and a lengthy finish. You do not see a ton of Austian Sekt on the shelves in this country, but we should as this is wonderful. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
François Montand Brut Blanc de Blancs: Retail $16. A blend of mainly Colombard, Ugni Blanc & Chardonnay. Although not indicated anywhere on the label, the fruit for this wine comes from the East of France, including areas in the Jura region. Bright and lemony on the nose and very pale in the glass. Dry and mineral on the palate. A solid effort from a well-respected producer whose family hails from Champagne. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
N.V. Mumm Napa Rosé: Retail $24. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. I have mentioned many times about my affinity for Mumm Napa, which stems from being one of the first wine clubs I joined. I have since left that club and have tried many more domestic sparklers, but I keep coming back to Mumm. Sure, they are huge and no, they no longer are owned by their French namesake. So what? They make really good sparkling wines. This rosé is rich and tart with rhubarb and red berries, fine bubbles, and an admirable finish. One can easily find this for less than the suggested tariff (I have found it for $15), making this one of the best sparkling values to be had. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
Szigeti Sekt Pinot Noir Rosé Burgenland: Retail $25. 100% Pinot Noir. Pale salmon with a fine mousse and subtle red berry fruit. Nice fruit and body with a flinty minerality. The finish has a touch of bitterness, but very nice. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2015 Vignaioli di Santo Stefano Moscato d’Asti DOCG: Retail $22. 100% Moscato. I have been a fan of Moscato for a while now as it offers a refreshing wine that pairs well with fruit, spicy food, and even dessert. But there is one thing I don’t understand: why is Moscato d’Asti is a darling of the sommelier crowd while White Zinfandel is the ugly duckling? Don’t misunderstand—I have no problem with White Zin either, I just do not understand why it is universally panned and Moscato is widely adored. No more soap box, I promise. This wine is a honeyed golden delicious apple from start to finish, quite sweet (although certainly short of cloying) with a balanced tartness providing structure. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
N.V. Zardetto “Z” Brut Prosecco DOC: Retail $16. 100% Glera. Recently visited Prosecco and have a new-found appreciation for the region and the wines. Having just mentioned above that there can be a big difference between the DOCG and DOC wines, I have to say this is one of the better wines I have had from the latter. Pale straw color with a nose of straight up green apple and pear. Wonderfully tart and dry with nice fruit all the way to the lengthy finish. Very Good. 87-89 Points.