Tag Archives: Cava

My Summer Wines are SPARKLING!

13 Jun

Have a glimpse into the joys of warm weather and the delights you can find in your wine glass!

There are so many lovely and affordable sparkling wines. Crémant, Cava, and Prosecco are some of the easiest words you can say this summer to keep joy in your glass without damaging your wallet.

Crémant: Love vintage champagne but don’t have the thick wallet? Never fear, Crémant is here! One of my favorites is Tissot’s Crémant du Jura. Delightfully expressive, unique, and easily found for $25/bottle. Grab it and enjoy, life is short! Drinks comparably to champagnes that cost 3-4 times the price. Just for the heck of it, I had a quick look at 67Wine‘s website. Ten crémants all under $30/bottle including the Jura region, just not the one below.

Cremant

Having spent a great deal of time tasting prosecco and vinho verde last year, I promised myself to spend more time tasting cava this year. And while I still love those wines, I found  both great taste and great value in the sparkling wines from Spain.

The best bargain I found this year was snapping up a mixed case of cava from Garagiste.

Pere Mata Cava

 

Each of the various types of cava found in the mixed case I sourced from Garagiste offered a slightly different pleasure. Last week, my neighbors and I enjoyed the Cupada Rosé  (below, far right) very much, along with some other still wines from the garden of earthy delights. The fact that a rosé cava could hold its own against classic Bordeaux blanc, high end Napa sauvignon blanc, and a killer Burgundian aligoté speaks volumes, does it not? 

 

Summer whites

 

 

Champagne. Need I say more? But not all champagnes are truly worth your time or hard-earned coin. Laurent-Perrier Brut is one I love, a non-vintage bottle I consider affordable in the low $40’s per bottle and better than many vintage (and more expensive) champagnes, but simply delightful on the palate.

 

perrier

 

Why not share this one, a glimpse into the high end of heavenly delights? One of the finest champagnes I’ve enjoyed in recent years was undoubtedly Taittinger’s 2005 Comtes de Champagne Rosé. Retailing at $300/bottle, it’s a rare and exotic enchantment that impressed me by tasting it blindly, and I was thankful I had a glass before I saw the price tag. But if your budget allows it, why not?

Unknown

So tasty, but the down side is that now even the sight of the box makes my mouth water.

Tattinger

 

Sparkling Reds! If you missed last year’s missive on Lambrusco or my discovery of sparkling shiraz in the summer heat then you missed out, but it’s never too late. Click the links on the names and read about my experiences with each of these wines.

 

So, do tell… what’s sparkling in YOUR glass this summer?

à votre santé!

 

Pop The Cork!

28 Dec

I find it interesting that many of the emails I’m getting right now are ads for champagnes. It’s that time of year, when everyone celebrates with a bottle of bubbly. Of course, we also serve champagne at major life events- births, marriages, wakes, and other large celebrations.

So why don’t I feel like opening a bottle of champagne this year?

Perhaps it’s that I’ve learned not to follow into the trap of champagne. Sure, I can enjoy a good champagne. If you’ve read deeply into my blog, you might have seen my first “aha!” moment about wine, with Dom Perignon’s 1982 Vintage.

Sadly, those amazing vintages are few are far between. There are several great champagnes out there, but much of what I find doesn’t move me. Too dry, too lifeless, too simple for my tastes, for anything less than stellar- and stellar champagnes are very pricey, even by my standards.

Pair of champagne flutes making a toast.

If you are in agreement, then it’s time you do what I did, and rediscover prosecco and cava. Prosecco (from Italy) and Cava (from Spain) are the current climbing trends that are making huge gains in market sales while champagne slips another 5% of sales this year. 

I’m not the only one noticing this. Our friends in the UK are as well, as I started to do some research on the topic.

Why prosecco? Why cava? You ask. “WHY NOT?” They answer back. It’s all in the buyer’s control. We’re noticing and making choices with our wallets. Cava and Prosecco are largely inexpensive (many bottles from as low as $7-30) that drink very well, with critics scores from the 80’s to 90’s. Moreover, they aren’t as painfully dry- hence that old Italian practice I see of people dropping a sugar cube into their champagne glass (with or without the Angostora bitters and brandy that make a champagne cocktail).

So, it tastes better, it’s cheaper, it’s not as pretentious, and it’s fun to drink? No wonder people are buying it!

In this day and age, people are finally realizing that there are great options out there in sparkling wine that just as viable as champagne, and we’re taking the plunge. I find these days I am gifting cava and prosecco in the same way I’m gifting rioja and tempranillo wines- to introduce friends and family to today’s great values in wonderful wines.

Now- if you’re going to splurge, then why not- drop the $$ on a serious champagne and enjoy? It’s tough to beat a great vintage from a great house- champagne is hard to make, a painstaking process- hence the price tag. And there are some expensive bottles out there. Looking for some pricey gifts? I found a few: From the ’96 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay ($1,995 at Southeby’s Wine) to the 1970 Dom Perignon Oenotheque ($2,495 at Sherry-Lehman) to the  Roederer Cristal Rose ’04 which garnered a score of 98 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine ($525 at Zachy’s Wine & Liquor). Any of these would make a champagne lover giggle with delight, if you have the disposable income to part with.

Just for fun, here is a link to ten of the top most expensive champagnes on the market.

After you’ve enjoyed that, when you go down to your local wine store, as the clerk to show you the cava or prosecco sparkling wine that offers incredible value, and pick some of that up for New Year’s Eve. You’ll be delighted and amazed at how good it is.

Whatever cork you choose to pop on New Year’s Eve, I hope you enjoy it, and drink responsibly, using a designated driver.

à votre santé!

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