Frederic Mallo, Cremant d’Alsace, “Special Delivery” $21.99 – organic
We have enjoyed this wine with friends so many times that it has come to represent that to us—friendship, and since that is something for which we are thankful during this holiday of appreciation, we include it as a great way to start your time together. It sets the tone with its beautiful thread of bubbles and its heady aromas of citrus, spice and minerals. A blend of Auxerrois, Pinot Blanc and Riesling, this wine will provide a festive start to your celebrations.
Domaine de Vaugondy, Vouvray, Sparkling, NV $17.99
100% Chenin Blanc
Rich aromas of nuts, quince, pineapple and honey are lifted in the mouth by the refreshing acidity and effervescence. We had this with Brie baked with marmalade and slivered almonds and it was delicious. I think we’ll do that again at New Year’s, along with some Manchego topped with some home-made Membrillo given to us by a dear friend (thank you!). I think this is going to pair beautifully, but in any case, it will start our celebration on a delicious note.
Adami, Garbel $13.99
Review from The Wine Advocate: This entry-level Non-Vintage Prosecco 13 Garbel is pretty and focused in its floral fruit. This delicious Prosecco shows plenty of energy and an easy-going style. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2010. 88
Bisol, Jeio $12.99
Review from the Wine Advocate: Bisol’s NV Prosecco Jeio reveals notable freshness, vibrancy and crispness in its green apples, flowers and sweet spices. There is terrific energy and harmony here, but like most Proseccos, the wine is best enjoyed in its exuberant youth. 88
Review from The Wine Advocate: Zardetto’s Non-Vintage Prosecco Brut is one of the most consistently delicious Proseccos on the market. It is also made in sufficient quanitites to ensure that it will be available in most, if not all, major markets. This exuberant, extroverted wine is full of flowers, pears and spices, and is sure to deliver much pleasure. 88
De Conciliis, Selim, Campania, Charmat Methode $19.99
65% Fiano, 35% Aglianico
This is the wine for jazz lovers. Bruno De Conciliis, owner and winemaker, loves that Bop/Cool/Hard Bop era and has named two of his wines to commemorate icons. This sparkling wine is named for Miles Davis, with Selim being an anagram of Miles. Like Miles, the Selim sparkling is an innovation. From an area that makes delicious still wines but very little sparkling, Bruno has taken two grapes indigenous to Campania and created a smooth and absolutely unique blend. Different from any sparkling I’ve ever had, there is a weightiness to this wine that should make it a red wine drinker’s sparkling. Perhaps that comes from the Aglianico, which is a very substantial red grape making wines that can age for 20+ years, so maybe it is the Fiano, itself a full-bodied white with bold flavors from acacia honey to pineapple. This wine is long on flavor and has plenty of energy to keep it from being ponderous.
Lamberti, Vino Spumante, Rosé $14.99
34% Pinot Blanc, 33% Pinot Noir, 33% Rabosco
This is an off-dry rosé for those who prefer their sparkling with a bit of sweetness. It reminded me of fruit cocktail, but in a very nice way. The sweetness also tones down the bubble activity, giving it a creamier cushion for those who find the frenetic activity of sparkling a bit disconcerting.
La Spinetta, Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia (Frizzante) $17.99
This is another of those wines for those who don’t really enjoy sparkling but like a little sweetness. Moscato d’Asti is a sweet, low alcohol wine made in the frizzante (slightly fizzy) style. The La Spinetta, Bricco Quaglia, has aromas of incense, white peach, apricot and almonds on the nose and palate. The little spritz on the entry carries through to the finish to give it the fresh, clean end one expects from Moscato.
Michlits, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Frizzante, 2007 $18.99—biodynamic
We always have to recommend this wine because it is perfect for the meal. It has a rich nose of fresh red berry fruit and tangerine. In the mouth, it is round and so fresh, partly because of its biodynamic fruit, but certainly as well from the slight effervescence of the frizzante style. The sweet fruit flavors reach to the sweetness of the mashed or sweet potatoes, and the cranberries, but the frizzante freshness makes it work across the range at the table.
Weingut Schloss Gobelsburg, Brut Reserve, “Gobelsburg,” Kamptal $38.99
70% Gruner, 15% Pinot Noir, 15% Riesling (Disgorged February 2008)
Review by International Wine Cellar: Delicate bouquet of wild strawberry, acacia blossom, honey and sponge cake. Creamy and fine in the mouth, with refreshing acidity lifting and extending the crisp green apple and strawberry flavor. A lemony nuance emerges on the back end of this unique and attractive wine, which would make an ideal aperitif. 90
Steininger, Gruner Sekt, 2006, $28.99
For those you who like Gruner-Veltliner, Austria’s particular contribution to the wine world, you should thoroughly enjoy the Steininger’s ode to it in this lovely sparkling wine. Made in the traditional Méthode Champenoise way, that is about all this bottle shares with Champagne. Its nose and flavors range from pineapple to white pepper and Darjeeling-tea. It’s a delicious sparkling that shows best with food, particularly with something Asian like sushi or peanut noodles.
Steininger, Riesling Sekt, 2005 $31.99
This was a revelation when we visited Weingut Steininger in Langenlois, Austria, and had this ethereal bubbly. We’ve carried it since our return. Vinified dry, the wine shows compelling aromas of peaches, apricots and herbs and minerals. It is so light on the palate, so clean and fresh, yet is has a lingering finish of fresh herbs. Yummy.
Steininger, Zweigelt Sekt, 2007 $31.99
One of the more unusual sparklings anywhere, the Zweigelt Sekt is bright red, yes, red. Made from 100% Zweigelt, this is another of the red-drinker’s sparkling wines. Cherries and plum flavors dominate with a bit of spice and almonds on the finish.
Shingleback, “Black Bubbles,” Sparkling Shiraz, $23.99
Another red-drinker’s sparkling, made from Australia’s signature red grape—Shiraz. A big, deep ruby-colored wine with tons of fruit—lots of red and berry fruit on the nose and palate.
Graham Beck, Sparkling Rosé, 2007 $18.99
70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay
This remains a staff favorite 3 years after we discovered it. When it comes to affordable celebrations, the sparkling rosé from Graham Beck is hard to beat. Made in the tradition of Champagne (secondary fermentation in the bottle), the wine also uses grapes traditional to Champagne—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yeasty warm bread dough, cranberry and strawberry fruit and, you are in good company selecting Graham Beck as your celebratory wine. Both Obama after his election, and Nelson Mandela upon his inauguration, toasted their respective victories with Graham Beck sparkling wines.
Poema, Extra Dry $11.99
Our “go-to” sparkling that has enabled us to enjoy a glass of bubbly with regularity, the Poema Cava is both affordable and tasty. Cava is generally so bone-dry that the fruit is masked behind the minerality and teeth-stripping acidity. We landed on the Extra Dry (a step up in sweetness) with the Poema Cava as a way of allowing the fruit to shine through and toning down the bracing acidity. We have enjoyed this wine countless times with friends, starting off our get-togethers with a toast to the gift of friendship. That’s what the Poema Cava conveys to us—friendship.
Poema, Brut, $11.99
For those who want the driest sparkling but something with some flavor, we offer the Poema Brut. We also use this wine for mimosas—a dry but good tasting base in which to add juice to sweeten and drink with brunch.
Roger Goulart, Rosé, 2006, $19.99
Garnacha and Monastrell