My final shopping list for the Holidays contains a variety bubbly. Most priced under $20. The picks are divided into three categories: Party, Aperitif, and Fancy. No need need to sweat this, but it can make a difference to everyone’s enjoyment level.
Glasses of bubbly not only gets things off to a festive start, but everything that follows will feel more special. Sparkling is the no-brainer formula for good times.
Very Dry, Aperitif Style
GREAT BUY IN SPARKLING ROSE IS BACK ON THE SHELVES
It refreshes, it sparkles, and it looks pretty in peoples glasses. And at this price, there’s no reason not to buy lots – and pour lots. Codorniu’s sparkling Rosé is certainly an easy ticket for spreading Holiday cheer.
CODORNIU Brut Rosé ‘Selection Raventos’, Spain 370080 $15.95 (discounted to $13.95 at some stores***)
P.S. Don’t forget Codorniu’s Brut (non Rosé) – another world’s best at $13.95
A HANDSOME LOCAL BRUT!
At last someone has come up with a fun take on Brut – the word to describe the bone-dry sparkling wine category. Well done Angels Gate. Expect Classic Champagne-style austerity/purity – the less is more formula. It’s all about the promising tease, “Keep drinking me and something will happen.” You’ll certainly have a keen appetite – and perhaps a craving for oysters, shrimp – and who knows, even a handsome brut!
ANGELS GATE ‘Handsome Brut’ Sparkling, VQA Niagara 395160 $24.95
THE RIESLING WAY
When you grow Riesling in limestone soils, in Niagara’s ‘cool climate’, you have the essential ingredient for sparkling wine – freshness. You also get a pure/classy feeling – not quite pearls ’n the black dress, but close. Tawse Spark would be the perfect aperitif for formal, dress-up moments. The wine’s ‘cool’ feeling would certainly feel just-right with freshly shucked oysters.
TAWSE ‘Spark’ Limestone Ridge Riesling, VQA Twenty Mile Bench 370361 Vintages $19.95
Party, Party Style
GETTING PICKY-OVER- PROSECCO!
Prosecco’s trendiness is turning lots of people on to Sparkling wine – for sure a good-thing. As in all wine regions, there are good and less good performers, but getting picky-over-Prosecco at the Holiday season is as silly as criticizing the short breads! However, I must admit to a fondness for Villa Sandi’s assertive/refreshing style. Also, its lightness and delicacy. And the ‘liven up and let’s have fun feeling.
VILLA SANDI Prosecco, Veneto 394387 $13.95
A SMART NEW AUSSIE SPARKLING
Vintages shoppers may be familiar with the excellent wines from Fowles winery (under the Stone Dwellers label), and now you can find their sparkling in the regular stores – at an appealing under $20. It’s a classic Pinot/Chardonnay blend that has some of the rich/luxury feeling of Champagne, but without the yeasty tang and austerity. A crowdpleaser that will also delight the fussy. How great is that.
P.S. Why the beer cap? It’s the standard closure for all sparkling wines – while they age. The big fat cork and wire cage are added after the yeast is removed, just before going to market. Releasing the wine in beer cap delivers a non-snobby ‘I’m fun, try me’ message.
FOWLES Sparkling ‘Stone Dwellers’ Australia 430074 $19.75
Fancy – for Gift Giving, or Romance
The region of Franciacorta (between Milan and Lake Garda) prides itself on sparkling wine of the quality of Champagne. There are similarities not only in grapes, in production and style, but also in price. Ca’ del Bosco is the Moet of the region with impressive cellars and luxury cuvees. The wine below scores really well for drinkability because it manages to feel both refreshing and smooth. The hint of richness is sure to get the desired ‘wow’ response. Another reason for buying (or gifting) might be the luxury-look, golden wrap package – shades of Roederer Crystal.
CA’ DEL BOSCO ‘Cuvee Prestige’ Brut, Franciacorta, Lombardy, Italy 105353 Vintages $39.95
P.S. SHOULD YOU BE VISITING THE COUNTY…The following County wineries produce excellent and interesting sparkling wines: Rosehall Run, Hinterland, The Grange, Huff, Lighthall and Long Dog.