Tag Archives: New Year’s wine

Wine of the week: Adami Prosecco Brut Garb l NV

Wine of the week: Adami Prosecco Brut Garb l NVThe problem with Prosecco for those of us who don’t understand it is that it doesn’t taste the way we expect it to. It’s made differently, so it’s sweeter and not as bubbly. That makes it difficult to judge Prosecco as Prosecco, and not in comparison to Champagne, cava, or any sparkling wine made in a more dry and bubbly style.

Which is even more difficult if you’re one of the world’s greatest living advocates of cava and someone whose only criticism of Champagne is that it’s too expensive.

But the Wine Curmudgeon is nothing if not persistent, and my exploration of Prosecco over the past month or so has helped me get a better idea of what it is and why so many people like it. Because they do: Two-thirds of the increase in imported sparkling wine sales in 2012 in the U.S. came from Italy, and most of that was Prosecco. The key to understanding Prosecco? To accept it for what it is, and not to make the mistake that Champagne snobs make when dismissing cava for no other reason than it isn’t Champagne. Prosecco is supposed to taste like Prosecco, and nothing else.

The Adami ($15, sample, 11%) is a big step in that direction. It tastes like quality Prosecco, with more character and interest than many others at this price. That means more structure — a beginning, middle, and end, instead of just a sweetish, fruity middle — and apple fruit instead of softer tropical flavors. The bubbles are also a little sturdier. All in all, very nicely done, and you could do much worse tonight when toasting the New Year.

new year's sparklng wine 2018

Winebits 314: Sparkling wine for New Year’s

Suggestions for New Year’s bubbly from around the cyber-ether:

? Dave McIntyre of the Washington Post has almost every possibility covered, from Greek sparkling wine (who knew there was any) to more conventional — if pricey — suggestions. The Deutz Rose Brut is terrific wine, and that Dave got to an interview with the legendary Maximilian Riedel of wine glass fame when he tasted it makes the experience all that much more fun. And that Dave wants to argue with Riedel about wines glasses — I can only hope to be invited to watch.

? Jon Bonne at the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the state of American sparkling wine, and his assessment is intelligent and evenhanded — including his comments that “sweet wines are getting sweeter and more market-driven.” Among his suggestions: an Iron Horse, one of my choices for a celebration if the cheap wine book ever makes a lot of money, and Gloria Ferrer, perhaps the best value bubbly in California.

? George Yatchisin recommends California sparklers on the KCET television website, and I include his choices for three reasons. First, one of them is Schramsberg, which may be the best bubbly house in the United States and always delivers something worth drinking. Second, because KCET is the public television station in Los Angeles, and how many public TV stations do wine writing? And third, because there are no prices listed for the wines. Damn, that’s impressive, to be able to write about wine and not care how much it costs.

new year's sparklng wine 2018

New Year’s sparkling wine 2013

Call it champagne with small c (but not in front of a European), Champagne with a capital C, bubbles, or any of its other synonyms — sparkling wine deserves to be served more than at dinner on Dec. 31, for a toast at midnight, or at brunch on Jan. 1.

The good news is that it is. Bubbly has never been better made or more affordable; call it the revolution in sparkling wine. What else do you need to know for the occasion? The Champagne and sparkling wine glossary is here, and you can check out the sparkling wine category for even more ideas. 

• I’m still trying to make sense of Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine that has become hugely popular over the past year. It’s usually sweeter than cava, California sparkling, or Champagne, and since it’s made differently, the bubbles aren’t as tight. Price can also be a problem, since there are some $15 Proseccos that taste like fizzy 7-Up. Having said that, the widely available Mionetto ($13, sample, 11%) is a safe bet — not so much sweetness that it overwhelms, with a little green apple fruit and decent bubbles.

• Regular visitors here know that Spain’s cava is one of the great cheap wines of all time, and that it’s almost impossible to go wrong no matter what you buy. The Dibon Rose ($10, purchased, 11.5%) may be even more enjoyable than the Dibon Brut, which is headed to the $10 Hall of Fame. Look for strawberry and orange peel, plus a little yeastiness. All in all, an amazing value.

• Sparkling is made throughout the world, including Oregon, where Argyle does a terrific job. The 2010 Brut Rose ($50, sample, 12.5%) is no exception, with lots of tart cranberry fruit, wonderfully crisp bubbles, and a long, clean finish. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s exceptionally well made. Weltevrede’s The Ring Blanc de Blanc Brut 2009 ($23, sample, 11.5%) is a high-quality South African sparkler that offers value along with subdued lemon fruit and refreshing acidity, perfect for a New Year’s Day brunch. And don’t overlook New York’s Chateau Frank Brut 2006 ($24, sample, 12%) — a lovely, fresh, and fruity wine from one of the state’s premier winemakers. There is even caramel and vanilla, just like Champagne, as well as almost tropical fruit.

More about New Year’s sparkling wine:
New Year’s sparkling wine 2012
New Year’s sparkling wine 2011
Expensive wine 50: Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut NV
Wine of the week: Gruet Brut NV

Winebits 262: New Year’s Eve bubbly

Recommendations from around the Internet for sparkling wine for tonight. My suggestions are here.

? Same old wines: The AskMen.com website has a thorough look at Champagne history, the differences between the various kinds of bubblies, and even serving suggestions. What it doesn ?t have? Many interesting wines. It recommends Veuve Clicquot and Perrier-Jouet, which are usually two of the top five brands in the U.S. You don ?t need to know much about Champagne to pick those.

? If you don ?t want Champagne: NorthJersey.com does an excellent job with cava, cremant and the like, including a New York state bubbly, Brotherhood Winery Blanc de Blancs Brut for $10. These are all (save the Brotherhood) widely available.

? And if you don ?t like bubbly? Which the Wine Curmudgeon can ?t imagine, given how much sparkling wine I drink even when it isn ?t New Year ?s. But the Today.com website has more beer suggestions than I would have thought possible, complete with beer-speak ( ?[I]t packs a hearty 10 percent ABV that ?s very well hidden within an ambrosia of earthy fruits and dark caramel flavor notes. ?) I ?m sure they ?re all fine beers; I just wish the author hadn ?t intimated those of us who like sparkling are less than manly. Should I challenge him to a spitting contest?

New Year’s sparkling wine 2012

New Year's sparkling wine 2012Which means sparkling wine, plus a couple of other ideas — whether for dinner on Dec. 31 or brunch on Jan. 1.

Our Champagne and sparkling wine glossary is here. This is also the place for my annual plea to drink more sparkling wine during the year. Bubbly deserves deserves more than just one post in the Wine Curmudgeon top 100 (90th place in 2012).

More, after the jump:

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New Year’s sparkling wine 2011

image from zanelamprey.typepad.comHow confused are Americans about sparkling wine? Very. The Wine Curmudgeon was in line at one of Dallas' upscale grocers last week, and the woman ahead of me in line had all sorts of expensive produce and meat — and six bottles of $9 Freixenet black bottle cava. That almost certainly never would have happened if she had been buying regular, or still, wine; then her cart would have had the required 92-point bottles.

Or, to take it to the other extreme, a very well-known TV chef advised her viewers a couple of weeks ago to make mimosas — the 20-somethings' favorite hangover remedy — with $40 sparkling wine. Which would be the equivalent of making sangria with one of the $40 reds I review in the monthly expensive wine post. Which would seem certainly seem like overkill.

What's the reason for all this confusion? Because sparkling wine is seen as even more confusing than still wine, and still wine confuses us enough. Sparkling wine is more difficult to open. We're only supposed to drink it on special occasions, and never for dinner in the middle of the week. And it has bubbles!

But sparkling wine doesn't have to be this way. In fact, other than opening it, bubbly is not much different from still wine. It's made with the same grapes, it's made in much the same way, and it pairs with food just like regular red and white wine. Best yet, quality labels are available at all prices, even for less than $10.

After the jump, what you need to know about bubbly and my suggestions for the New Year's holiday.

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