Rachel: This month’s Featured Wine section brings you a special selection of sparkling wines to share with friends and family over the holidays… or on your own while you’re avoiding friends and family over the holidays. My Florida partner in wine crime & I were lucky enough to attend a sparkling wine & champagne tasting last night at the fabulous Wine By The Bay in Miami. It’s a great little place to find an eclectic array of wines and worth popping in if you find yourself in the Miami area. I am sharing with you the four of the six sampled that I liked so much that I bought a bottle of each. Don’t judge me. It’s the holidays. I’m going to give them as gifts… to myself.
Zonin Rosé Prosecco
What They Say: Following the destemming and gentle pressing of the red grapes, the crushing will release the juice and tannins, allowing a short skin contact which will contribute to its’ slight pinkish colour. The characteristic light strawberry blond color of the must comes from the antocians of the skins. In order to maintain the natural bubbles, the partially fermented must is converted to sparkling wine in pressurized stainless steel tanks in accordance with the traditional Charmat method. A lightly-coloured sparkling rosé with a ﬁne and seductively delicate perlage. Pleasant, intense and fruity, evoking memories of wisteria ﬂowers and Renetta apples. Well-blended and delightful. On the palate it is soft and smooth with ﬂoral notes and a hint of almond.
What We Say: Our esteemed host and curator for the evening, Stefano Campanini, told us that this rosé is so light that it is perfect for day drinking. Well, right there you have me. If I like anything, it’s day drinking. In this case, he is so right about this being the perfect selection for such an activity. It is light and fresh with no acid. It goes down easily and doesn’t have a heavy sweetness. This bottle doesn’t need to go with food, but if you insist, try it with shrimp, light hors d’oeurves or fish.
Blend Information: No information available
Region: Veneto, Italy
Price Point: $12.99 on wine.com
What They Say: **Translated from Italian by Google** It’s a vine that is well suited to the cultivation of a hill. The cluster is quite large, sparse, sparse tip, winged. The berry is round, of medium size but variable, with yellow-green skin that turns yellow gold vintage. The grape has a great flexibility of processing, can produce sweet wines or dry, calm, sparkling or sparkling depending on the type of wine. The wine that is obtained is a soft straw yellow in color with a characteristic scent reminiscent of acacia flowers and wisteria that grows wildflowers, wild apples to mature, mountain honey.
What We Say: This was next in our tasting and was a special purchase by Wines By The Bay for their store. We were told this is one of the best bottles of prosecco we would ever taste. While my history of prosecco drinking is rather short, this was really delicious. It has a good balance and is really refreshing. You could easily move on to this, after your day of drinking the rosé, and carry through the evening. A helpful (and fun) hint! Add a little prosecco to your risotto to make it fluffier! Can’t wait to try that! Or I can’t wait to tell someone who wants to try that and invite me over.
Blend Information: No information available
Region: Chions, Italy
Price Point: $16.95 on winebtb.com
Brut-Comté Crémant du Jura
What They Say: **Translated from French by Google** Visual aspect: beautiful string of fine bubbles in the corolla and rise from the bottom of the flute, light green hues. Aroma: fresh white fruit nose, almond. Taste: finesse, lightness, perfume floral, mouthfeel and a nice attack reveals a mature character. After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation is carried out, taking foam according to the rules of the method champenoise sparkling wine for this.
What We Say: Yes, it’s bubbles from France. No, it’s not champagne. It’s sparkling wine since it’s not from the Champagne Region of France. When Stefano told us this was 100% Chardonnay, I was sure I wouldn’t like it being that I’m not a big fan of Chardonnay in general. I especially thought this after just having tried a sparkling wine that was only 25% Chardonnay and not liking it. My hopes weren’t raised after, at first take, the aroma had notes of… wait for it… a nutty cheese. Yes, you read that right. And I wasn’t the only one at the table that said it. But smell it again after it’s been in the glass a moment and the fruit & almond notes the vineyard mentions above are what is present. The taste was the most surprising as it was delicious. I never would have expected to enjoy this as much as I did. For the price point, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a very drinkable sparkling wine that doesn’t want to spend a ton of money.
Blend Information: 100% Chardonnay
Region: Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Price Point: $19.9 on winemadeeasy.com
Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato D’Asti
What They Say: Moscato was already a very popular wine among the Greeks and Romans,who appreciated its pleasant characteristics as an excellent dessert wine. Our Nivole comes from the hills around Canelli,white calcareous-sandy soil and with an excellent exposition. Colour: pale straw-yellow with greenish reflections. Aroma: intense, aromatic and fruity, hints of clary, peach, grapefruit and meringue. Taste: clean, light and delicate, backed by an excellent, refreshing acidity.
What We Say: An appropriate way to end the evening is with a sweet dessert wine. I find most to be far too sweet to get past more than a few sips, so I wasn’t expecting much here. But again, I was surprised. The nose is yummy (technical term) peach, apricot and honeysuckle. I was surprised at how light and fresh it is. This is one of the few dessert wines of which I could sit and drink a full glass… or two. It doesn’t need to be paired with actual dessert, but we were served a delicious chocolate chip cake last night that was a lovely accompaniment. I think this would pair well with fruit and soft cheeses as well.
Blend Information: 100% Moscato
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Price Point: $13.95 on crownwineandspirits.com