In just a few days, my wife’s family will be descending upon us to spend the holidays here in Texas. As is my wont, I will have plenty of sparkling wine on hand, morning, noon, and night to keep our often thirsty visitors well quenched. Here are a few I have recently received as samples:
EMB Clairette de Die: Retail $15? 75% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, 25% Clairette. Information about this wine was scant on the internet, and the bottle only mentioned that it was produced by “EMB” and imported by Riverside Imports, in Brooklyn. I wish I had more to go on. Bright pear and apple on the nose and immediately vibrant bubbles then acidity and then sweetness on the palate. Certainly on the sweet side but balanced. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Côte Orelia Blanc de Noirs: Retail $12. This is another bottle about which there is very little information on the web. I do know that it comes from my friends at Lidl—the large European grocery chain that is now opening stores in the States. From my cursory research I ascertained that this wine seems to be at least tangentially related to Gruet, the New Mexico winery with French roots that produces perhaps the best value sparklers in the US. Really pale peach in the glass, enough to have called it a Rosé if they had so desired. Strawberry and apple on the nose with tart apple and peach on the palate. Bone dry to the taste with plenty of fine bubbles and a lingering finish. $12? Really? An easy choice for an everyday bottle of bubbles. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
NV Flaunt Sparkling Wine Brut Sonoma County: Retail $85. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay. This wine is an exciting new venture by Dianna Novy Lee, who along with her husband Adam Lee, was behind the iconic brands Siduri and Novy Family Wines. I have been a big fan of their wines for years now, and this Dianna’s foray into sparkling wine certainly is promising. This wine is stellar with green apple, some caramel, and brioche wafting out of the glass via a constant stream of delicate bubbles. On the palate, crisp from start to finish with tart apple, pear, and toasted notes. The wine is at its best, though, if it is allowed to linger in the mouth a bit longer, as the flavors, acidity, and effervescence mingle and meld. A chalky minerality accentuates the finish. Bravo. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
Riondo Spago Nero Prosecco DOC: Retail $12. 100% Glera. Spago Nero means “Black String” which was the traditional closure for many bottles of Prosecco, including this one. Red apple, pear, and white flower accentuate the nose, while the palate has all that great fruit, more than ample acidity, ending with oodles of minerality. Plenty to like here, particularly the price. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Bervini Prosecco DOC Millesimato Extra Dry: Retail $20. 100% Glera. While it is not all that uncommon to see Prosecco with a bit more sugar added (“Extra Dry” is sweeter than the standard “Brut”), it is fairly rare to see a Millesimato—a vintage Prosecco—on these shores. Fresh peach and candied apple dominate both the nose and the palate. The characteristic Prosecco acidity is balanced nicely by that extra sweetness. Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
NV Bervini Vino Spumante Rosé Extra Dry: Retail $20. Glera and Roboso. This wine is made from a leading Prosecco producer. It is made in the Veneto, home of Prosecco. The winery employs the Charmat Method (or Metodo Martinotti as many Italians prefer), the same as with Prosecco. So why is this not called Prosecco? Simple. Rosé is not permitted to be called Prosecco. Strawberry and wet rock aromas, with tartness, plenty of sparkle, and a splash of verve, beautiful in the glass and on the palate. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
NV Giuliana Prosecco DOC Extra Dry: Retail $16. 100% Glera. I was not able to find a plethora of information on this wine on line, either, which should have been a theme for this post. Its name comes from Giuliana Rancic, a popular TV personality in Italy, though, whatever that is worth. The wine? Solid—in fact it may be a notch or two above solid: pear, marzipan, and a distinct nuttiness on the nose with nice acidity, just the right amount of sweetness, and a salinity that paired well with the cashews that I was devouring before dinner. Perhaps not a head turner, but solid. Maybe even more than solid. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.