Sparkling Wines on the Cheap

Inexpensive sparkling wines was the theme for our weekly tasting at Fine Wines of Stockton. The wines could be from anywhere in the world with the most expensive being less than $25.00. We had a pretty good turnout with some visitors from as far away as Idaho. We thought these would all be non vintage but it turned out that two of the wines were vintage sparklers. George explained that in general grapes for sparkling wines (and Champagnes) are picked for acid rather than sugar as with still wines. Thus, most of these grapes were picked earlier than they would have been for a still wine.

Segura Viudas Aria Estate Brut Cava – This Spanish sparkler had a light yellow, almost clear tint. On the nose was a little yeastiness and green apple. In the mouth the bubbles were very aggressive with a lot of acid with a light body. There was a little green apple flavor and the finish was short and left your mouth very clean. This was our favorite and the second favorite of the group.

T’iamo Prosecco – The color was light yellow. The nose was very floral with orange blossoms. The flavor was very similar with the orange blossoms as well. This wine was a little on the sweeter side. The bubbles were very fine and there was plenty of acid. There was a creaminess in the mouth, probably from a little residual sugar which also produced a longer, very clean finish.

Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut – Light yellow color with larger bubbles. The nose was interesting with licorice, tart crisp apple and minerality. The very pleasant flavor mirrored the nose. There was a lot of acid and a short clean finish. The mouthfeel was lighter than the previous wine.

2008 Sofia Blanc De Blancs – Interesting to see an inexpensive vintage sparkler from California. This wine was a fairly dark yellow with honey and orange blossoms and a scent as if made from a Riesling or maybe Muscat or Gerwerstraminer. The flavor also tasted of honey and bitter orange. This wine tied for second favorite for the group. There was good acid, fine bubbles and a clean finish with a hint of residual sugar. Once I finished writing our notes about the Sofia I looked it up and it does have some Muscat in it. It’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc and Muscat.

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Brut – this Australian sparkling wine had a minimal citrus nose. In the mouth there was a little citrus with a combination of sweetness and acid. It has a very crisp and dry finish. This was the favorite wine of the group. This wine is produced by a very old and historically important winery in SE Australia.

2003 Saint-Hilaire Blanquette De Limoux Blanc De Blancs – The color was a dark yellow as you would expect from a white wine of this age. Even though this wine is from France it is from Limoux rather than Champagne so cannot be called Champagne. Nobody could agree on what this wine smelled like. There were descriptions of cheesy, honey, yeast, dark toast. I picked up a lot of the toast. The flavor was also complex with dark, almost burnt toast, orange rind and more. The flavors evolved into more subtle complexity as the wine sat in your glass and warmed up a little. This our second favorite and at $15 we bought a couple of bottles because it was so interesting.


  1. Segura Viudas Sparkling wine is my favorite and you’re spot on with your description. Bottle after bottle and it’s always great. Have you tried the Riondo Prosecco? It reminds me of the Segura at a less expensive price at $8.99 from Table & Vine in West Springfield, MA where they gave me a bit of trivia that it was the #1 best seller of sparkling wines in Italy.

    • I’m not a big fan of sparklers while Nancy loves them but I did like the Segura Viudas as soon as I tasted it. I think as I get more exposure to sparkling wine I’ll appreciate them more.

      I have not tried the Riondo Prosecco, I’ll put it on my list to look for next time I’m out wine exploring.

  2. Nancy usually writes up the notes while we are tasting. Our taste are usually pretty close but if they are too far different I will add what I get, too. We trade off writing the posts but from the same set of notes. Also, on the Monday night dinners we sometime do a mingled impression and then note if someone had a significantly different impression.

  3. Wow, amazing range of the bubbly stuff—it’s nice that your host makes that kind of effort. Do you write your notes as you’re tasting? Do you and Nancy them compare and write up a mingled impression? Or do you trade off in the writing?