Tag Archives: Gerard Bertrand

new year's sparklng wine 2018

New Year’s sparkling wine 2016

New Year's sparkling wineFour New Year’s sparkling wine recommendations that combine value and quality

If you want Champagne recommendations for the New Year, you’ll have to go here. Champagne? We don’t need no stinkin’ Champagne.

In fact, even without the Wine Curmudgeon’s Champagne boycott, the sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France keeps getting more expensive and doesn’t show any real improvement in quality to match the higher prices. And the bargain Champagnes on the market, the ones that cost around $20 or $25? When a $20 wine is touted a bargain, that’s all you need to know.

Hence my sparkling wine 2016 recommendations, which focus on affordability and value.

Also handy: The blog’s annual wine gift guidelines and the sparkling wine primer.

Camino Calixo Brut NV ($10, purchased, 11.5%): Very lemony dry Spanish bubbly with tight bubbles and crisp finish. Think of it as a softer version of Hall of Fame standby Cristalino. It’s more of a food wine than I expected, so consider this for a New Year’s brunch.

Carpene Malvolti 1868 Extra Dry NV ($16, sample, 11.5%): This Italian Prosecco isn’t as sweet – extra dry means sweeter than brut, which means dry – as some brut Proseccos. Very well done, with lemon fruit and a creaminess you don’t usually find in this price of wine.

Valdo Prosecco Brut NV ($12, sample, 11%): This year’s bottle was more Champagne-like than last year’s, which wasn’t a bad thing. It was firmer, with more structure, less sweet citrus fruit, and an appealing character that said, “This is more than a cheap Prosecco.” Highly recommended.

Gérard Bertrand Brut Rosé Cuvée Thomas Jefferson 2013 ($16, purchased, 12%): This French cremant (a sparkling wine from a region that isn’t Champagne) had tight bubbles and cherry fruit. It’s an intriguing wine, made with chardonnay and pinot noir just like Champagne. I would have preferred less chardonnay, which made it rounder, and more chenin blanc, the third grape in the blend.

More on New Year’s sparkling wine
New Year’s sparkling wine 2015
New Year’s sparkling wine 2014
New Year’s sparkling wine 2013
Wine of the week: Segura Viudas Brut Rose NV
Wine of the week: Vega Barcelona Seleccion NV

Wine of the week: G rard Bertrand Cr mant de Limoux 2009


The holiday that must not be named is next week. You want to buy sparkling wine. But sparkling wine, being sparkling wine, is expensive and confusing.

Not to worry. The Wine Curmudgeon is on the job, as always, looking out for everyone caught between bubbly's rock and hard place. The Bertrand ($15, sample) is sparkling wine from France that isn't made in Champagne, which is why it's one-third the price of entry-level Champagnes. Better yet, it has much more than one-third of the quality, and is a tremendous value.

It's made using the same method as Champagne, and it uses more or less the same grapes (including pinot noir, which is not common in sparkling wine made in France outside of Champagne). That's one reason why it delivers so much value; its grapes are grown in the Limoux region in the Languedoc, where land is a fraction of the price of Champagne.

This is not as simple a wine as its price would indicate; the pinot noir gives it an edge that others don't have. Look for very crisp apple fruit and an impressively long finish (lemon zest, maybe?). And you can impress everyone with your bubbly knowledge: If the wine says Cremant on the label, as this does, that means it's sparkling wine made in the traditional method but not in Champagne. Highly recommended, and sure to impress whoever needs impressing next week.