Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Holiday Season that is still Sparkling

by Rob Bralow

This is the season to drink the bubbly. No really, there has never been a better time to spend money on sparkling wine. You will never get a better deal on the wine that is out there. A friend of mine who works in retail told me recently that the price wars on under way from the wineries who have the marketing dollars.

Are you having a holiday party this year? Maybe a New Year's party? The way the trends have been going lately, I would be surprised if most people will be going out and renting out bars, clubs, or restaurants for their parties. I foresee more home parties this year, more people spending less for their party, and more sales at the retail stores. Sparkling wine has taken a beating this year, Champagne especially. The producers that are going to survive are going to get behind their brands and give deals to the retailers selling the wine or have the prestige that an off year will not hurt them in the long run.

We'll see what happens.

The wines below I received as samples I recommend all of them. If I happen to receive more samples of sparkling wines between now and New Year's, I will do my best to taste them and review them before it is too late to buy them.

Saint-Hillaire Blanquette de Limoux Brut 2005, France - Bright and lovely, this French wine is so fresh that I can't imagine not enjoying this at any time of year. There is a bright and grassy quality to the nose and the taste is fresh green apple with wonderful dryness. Not enough to make me pucker but just enough to make me want to take another sip. And another. And another.

Vranken La Demoiselle de Champagne Tete de Cuvee Brut NV, France - Creamy and mild, with pear and a little bread. The taste is such an enjoyable combination of creamy pear and yellow apple with a little bit of brine to keep it balanced.

Vingna Dogarina Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut NV, Italy - Smells lightly lime and salt with a little bit of apple and bread. The yellow apple comes out in the taste, with a little lime, pear, and salt. Tastes like heaven when combined with a little bit of dark chocolate.

Marco Negri Moscato d'Asti 2008, Italy - I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Moscato d'Asti. With just a little bubble, a high sugar level and an inversely lower alcohol level, these wines are perfect for after dinner sipping. This one in particular is delicious. The smells in the glass remind me of perfume, lavender, and candied apple. The taste is sweet, but balanced with plenty of acidity.
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