Thursday, December 16, 2010

Affordable Holiday Sparklers

When I'm not indulging in dessert wine this month, I'm usually rooting through the cabinets for a bottle of sparkling wine. It's not something I save for special occasions--unless you consider a Tuesday night sufficient! More sparkling wine is sold in the US between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day than in the rest of the year. So what will you be drinking this month to put some sparkle in your life? Here are my recommendations for tasty, affordable bubbles for the holidays--and of course they're all under $20.

NV Jaume Serra Cava Cristalino Brut (suggested retail $8; available in the market for $5-$8). Quite possibly the most excellent QPR of any sparkling wine I've had this year, this is stunning value. The aromas and flavors tend toward lemon, toast and apple. There is a yeasty aftertaste, and a strong yet small bead. Delicious for the price.

NV Presto Prosecco Brut ($10.99, Whole Foods; available elsewhere for around $12)
I'm not sure I agree this is a dry enough to be brut, but it is delicious anyway with soft fruit, citrus, and yeast notes. The wine is very well balanced between acidity and richness. Very good QPR.

NV Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley ($19.99, Whole Foods; available in the market for $16-$20) You just can't go wrong with this classy, excellent QPR sparkler from the Anderson Valley. Rich notes of apple, hazelnut, and toast leave an appealing freshness in the mouth.

NV Gloria Ferrer Va de Vi Ultra Cuvée (just over $20 in my local independent grocery store; available in the market for $16-$22). The warm, pale yellow color of this wine is a good indication of the gentle wine within. Abundant mousse and fine bead sets up the aromas of pear and lemon. These elements are echoed in the flavors, and are accompanied by cherry and toast notes. Predominantly Pinot Noir, with some Chardonnay and a touch of Muscat. Very good QPR.

NV Laurens Crémant de Limoux Brut ($15.99 in my local independent grocery store; available in the market for $12-$18) Another reliably excellent QPR sparkler, this wine has a creamy mouthfeel and aromas of citrus pith and brioche dough. Creamy pear, apple, and lemon flavors are enhanced by tiny, frothy bubbles. Delicious and lively.

NV Vinos de Terrunos German Gilabert Penedès Brut Nature Reserva ($14.99, domaineLA; available in the market for around $13) This excellent QPR sparkler has an aromatic profile reminiscent of French Champagne: yeast, lemon pith, mineral. Brightly intense lemon and bread dough flavors with lively bubbles.

NV Latitude 50 Pinot Noir Spatburgunder Sekt ($16.99, domaineLA; available in the market for around $15) This very good QPR dry sparkling wine is pale rose in color. Faint aromas of wild strawberry and bread dough lead to a rich, round-tasting strawberry flavor accented with notes of toast and clay.

2008 Reginato Malbec Celestina (suggested retail, $20; available in the market for $17-$20) Unlike any other sparkler I've had, this is very dark in color--like watered-down pomegranate juice. The flavors are quite fruity, with lots of raspberry and a hint of deeper plum as well. There is a dry finish, making for a delicious, seasonally appropriate cranberry-colored sparkler for holiday toasts.Very good QPR.

Full Disclosure: I received samples of the Reginato and the Jaume Serra sparkling wines for review. The rest I purchased when out shopping in my favorite wine and grocery stores.


Erin said...

Thanks for the recommendations. I've been curious to try Cristalino and Roederer is one of my favorites.

knownot said...

Yum. I want to try them all! : ) Unfortunately my chances of getting any of these wines in Ontario are probably slim to none. Le sigh. Still, reading about it makes for good wine porn.

Unknown said...

I had the Jaume Serra Cava Cristalino Extra Dry for Thanksgiving and it stole the show! It was great with everything, and such a good value. Thanks for the post on this!

Nancy said...

Cristalino is excellent -- however readers may want to know the label has changed this holiday season. It's now white with black lettering, more modern looking and not as attractive. (Some sort of legal matter in Spain required the change.) I've seen customers walk right by it.