Dec 29, 2013

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Sparkling Wine: Ring in the New Year With the Best of 2013

sparkling feature imageAnyone who knows me, knows that I am a true lover of sparkling wine. Whether it’s Champagne from France, Prosecco from Italy or Sparkling Wine from Oregon, Washington or California, pour bubbles into my glass and it will undoubtedly put a smile on my face.

2013 has been an incredible year for me, and I’m so blessed to have been able to travel the world and taste many different varietals and styles of wine and sparkling wine.  I kept a record of my absolute favorites so I could compile a list come time to ring in 2014, so here are my favorite sparkling wines of 2013.

Argyle 2010 Brut Rosé ($50): One of a few wineries known for their sparkling wine here in Oregon is Argyle, located in Dundee, the heart of the Willamette Valley. Aromas and flavors of wild strawberries, red cherries, roses and a hint of ginger flow seamlessly along the palate in creamy, lush and vibrant waves.  Lovely acidity rounds out the fruit to bring on an elegantly balanced sparkling wine.  This is truly a palate pleasing, delicious Brut Rosé made of 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier.

KARMA Vineyards Methode Champenoise Brut 2010 ($50): Located in Washington’s stunningly beautiful Lake Chelan Wine Valley is KARMA Vineyards, the first Methode Champenoise house in the Lake Chelan AVA.  The 2010 Brut has delicate aromas of Honeycrisp apples, peach and fresh baked bread.  On the palate, thousands of tiny bubbles are highlighted by lemon-lime zest that finishes with beautiful balance and freshness – an ambrosial blend of 55% Chardonnay, 36% Pinot Noir and 9% Pinot Meunier.

argyle plus glassAustrian Pepper – Pfaffl 2011 Brut ($14): One of the things I absolutely love about Austrian wines is that they are truly terroir driven. A perfect appertif, this Grüner Veltliner sparkling wine had many of the classic Grüner aromas: white pepper, pears and loads of spicy notes. With a silky mouthfeel and a shot of lemon zest on the finish, this Brut makes for a very friendly food wine and I enjoyed every sip.

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($25): Sourced from more than 50 prime Napa Valley Vineyards, the Brut Prestige is Mumm Napa’s signature cuvée sparkling wine.  Apples and pears on the nose transform on the palate into dancing fruity bubbles highlighted by vanilla and spice.  Excellent acidity rounds out the fruity characteristics to produce an outstanding balance with a crisp, vibrant finish.

Ferrari Perlé 2006 ($35): Ferrari was founded in 1902, and is located in the mountainous foothills of the Alps in Trento D.O.C., not far from the Trentino region of Italy. Produced from 100 percent Chardonnay, the ’06  Perlé Blanc de Blancs Brut displayed alluring aromas of apple, pear and lemon with a lovely hint of fresh baked sugar cookie and slow roasted almonds.  Creamy and lush on the palate, this bubbly beauty was perfectly balanced by crisp acidity, and it finished with lingering notes of fresh pastries.

monthlyclubs carmine and cheeseKramer Vineyards Celebrate! Rosé of Carmine ($30): Located in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill Carlton AVA, second generation winemaker Kim Kramer is one of my favorite Oregon winemakers – her style is adventurous, yet she always manages to produce elegant, terroir driven wines.  To the Kramer’s knowledge, this is the only sparkling wine produced from the Carmine grape anywhere in the world.  Intense fruity aromas of cranberries, raspberries and watermelon flow onto the palate in pleasing, complex layers of crisp, refreshing and lush waves.  Bold, yet elegant and absolutely unique – and a heavenly pairing with Bourdin fresh chèvre cheese.

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne ($45): First crafted in 1876, the Cordon Rouge is G.H. Mumm’s signature cuvee.  A true treat for the senses, rich and complex aromas and flavors of the tropics, like pineapple, star fruit and Key limes are highlighted by elegant, soft bubbles.  Seamless layers of fruit are rounded out by lovely acidity, and the finish is heavenly.

Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut ($50): Perrier-Jouet is one of France’s well-known Champagne Houses that consistently produce stellar sparkling wine year after year, with their very first vintage dating back to 1825 – they’ve even got some from that first vintage conserved.  The Grand Brut is truly divine with elegant aromas and subtle flavors of apples, citrus and buttered toast.  Delicately rich and well rounded, the zesty lemon finish leaves the palate completely refreshed.

Sparkling GH MummCave Geisse Nature 2010 ($20): Dry and bright with refreshing aromas of apples and fresh baked bread, this sparkling wine was my first-ever experience with any kind of wine from Brazil. The aromas carried through to the palate, and a pleasing shot of lemon zest on the finish indicated nice acidity, which beautifully rounded out the fruit flavors.  The Cave Geisse was made using Methode Champenoise and certainly resembled quality characteristics that can be found in good Champagne.

Hard Row to Hoe “Good In Bed” Sparkling Methode Champenoise 2011 ($42): Hard Row to Hoe was one of my favorite wineries in the Lake Chelan Wine Valley – I was impressed with everything they produce; especially, their sparkling wine.  The story behind the name of the winery is well worth the read, so click here.  Rich, vibrant and complex aromas and flavors are the heart of this stellar sparkling wine.  Made with 100% Lake Chelan Pinot Noir, flavors of raspberries, cherries and lemon shine through the creamy texture and finish with perfect balance.

Domaine Meriwether 2000 Brut Rosé ($45): One of my favorite Brut Rosés comes from a winery not too far from where I live in Eugene, Oregon, so I’ve enjoyed this perfectly balanced and complex beauty time and time again.  The coppery salmon hue is just gorgeous in the glass, and Pinot Noir characteristics abound.  Cherry and red berry aromas and flavors are highlighted by butterscotch and fresh baked bread.

IMG_7166Soter Vineyards 2009 Sparkling Rosé: Another great winery out of Willamette Valley’s Yamhill Carlton AVA is Soter Vineyards, and every Soter sparkling wine is vintage-dated, vineyard-designated, and disgorgement-dated. The 2009 Sparkling Rosé is a beautiful salmon-pink in the glass and offers alluring strawberry, raspberry and fresh sliced apple aromas. Fine bubbles enlighten the palate while pleasing acidity perfectly balances out the fruits.  Although it’s crisp and refreshing, it’s also complex, rich and lush.

Kramer Vineyards Celebrate! Müller-Thurgau Sparkling Wine ($18): Müller-Thurgau is Kramer Vineyards most popular white wine. With a planting of one small block back in 1986, they have increased the plantings to three acres total.  Beautiful aromas and flavors of pear, peach, banana, lemon custard and nutmeg are the highlights that make this sparkling wine stand-out from others.  The mouthfeel is lush, juicy and totally palate pleasing with loads of soft, tiny bubbles.  The tropical fruitiness was perfectly balanced by silky acidity, and I simply loved everything about this unique sparkling wine.

Candoni Wines Prosecco Treviso Brut D.O.C. ($14): The packaging of the Candoni wines definitely makes their bottles stand-out on wine shop shelves.  Each label is a piece of art made by a serigraph reproduction of an Etruscan fresco painting: Serigraphy is the technique of using woven silk screens to permanently apply color to an object. In the case of our bottles, ceramic colors are applied to the surface of the glass, which is then subjected to heat treatments that render the color indelible. Hailing from Northeastern Italy, this Prosecco has loads of tiny bubbles that dance on the palate.  It’s crisp and fresh w/ stone fruit & subtle acidity, and best of all, it’s just $14 dollars a bottle.

IMG_2769Zardetto Prosecco Brut Treviso DOC Non Vintage ($16): Tropical fruit aromas and flavors abound in this juicy, refreshing Prosecco, but the long lasting finish was what really stood out with its delicious pineapple and lemon characteristics. Hailing from the Veneto region of Italy, Zardetto is an easy find at wine shops and grocery markets since there were 1,200,000 bottles produced.

Happy New Year!