The holiday season is upon us and that means more gatherings with family and friends than usual, which also means more opportunities to enjoy sparkling wine. We have four sparklers to share with you today that we received as tasting samples. I hope you have your wine glass ready.
Côte Mas Brut NV St. Hilaire, Crémant de Limoux — medium yellow in the glass with generous bubbles. Aromas are very toasty with toasted almonds leading the way. Toasted almonds combine with bruised apples in the flavor profile along with notes of dusty minerals and citrus zest. Apple flavors linger on the finish along with notes of toast. Bubbles are mouth filling. 12.5% abv. SRP $15.99
This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir and Mauzac made using the traditional method, as in Champagne. Mauzac is a white grape variety gown near Limoux in southern France where the first sparkling wines were likely made in 1531 when the Benedictine monks of Saint Hilaire Abbey near Limoux documented their sparking wine production.
Pair this light sparkler with appetizers, or sip it while you prepare the appetizers.
Altemasi Brut, Trento DOC — medium yellow in the glass with generous bubbles that form a persistent bead. Fresh aromas of ripe apple and pear are followed by flavors of pear, stone fruit, marzipan and dried oat hay. Citrusy acidity keeps the wine bright and focused. 12% abv. SRP $23.99
Trentodoc sparkling wine is made in the Trentino portion of Trentino-Alto Adige in northern Italy. This cool, mountainous region is home to Chardonnay, Pinot Blanco, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Nero that is crafted into sparkling wine using the traditional method.
This lively, fresh Trentodoc is the perfect accompaniment to a light meal including shrimp, salmon or chicken.
Valdo Cuvée 1926 Extra Dry Prosecco, Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG — medium yellow in the glass with many bubbles. Generous aromas of tropical fruits, think mango and banana, are followed by ripe pear flavors along with ripe stone fruit and banana. A hint of sweetness and nice acidity make for a lively combination. 11% abv. SRP $19.99
This is the most aromatic Superiore Valdobbiadene DOCG I have tasted and it instantly transported me to a tropical island. It is made of 100% Glera using the charmat method (second, bubble-producing fermentation in tank under pressure) as is customary for Prosecco.
Pair this barely-sweet Prosecco with appetizers, poached chicken or creamy pasta.
André Jacquart Rosé de Saignée Experience Brut Nature NV Premier Cru, Champagne — translucent raspberry color in the glass with a persistent bead of fine bubbles. Aromas of watermelon, grated citrus peel, dried currants are followed by flavors of dried strawberries, blackberries and dried cherries. The generous flavors are supported by cedar and nice acidity. Cedar lingers on the finish along with tannins. 12% abv. SRP $58.99
I was surprised not only by the color of this Champagne, but by the flavor profile as well. It is much darker in color than most I have tasted. To be honest, I didn’t take it seriously judging by its color. Once I opened it, gave it a sniff and then a taste, I changed my mind. It is complex with flavors dominated by dried fruits and cedar. And tannins, that was unexpected as well.
Most rosé Champagne is made by blending still red wine with still white wine before it undergoes the second, bubble producing, fermentation in the bottle. This rosé is made using the saignée method. Pinot Noir juice is macerated with the skins for 24 to 48 hours before the juice is bled off and blended with 20% Chardonnay. This Champagne is a good reminder to not judge a wine by its color.
Pair this Rosé de Saignée with heavy appetizers or a meal. It has plenty of flavor and texture to pair with salmon, pork or cheeses.