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WBW#28: Sparklers! Summary Part 1

You guys just blow me away!  What a wonderful array of sparklers sipped and documented and stories told!  I’m not going to lie to you; I haven’t read every post from start to finish.  Not yet, but I will.  The only reason I haven’t is that I really want to get this summary up early enough that it might be useful to those looking for sparkler recommendations for this holiday season.  But I will go back and read them all – I’ve seen enough to be tantalized on so many accounts.   I’m going to love this and so will you! 
Before I get into all the details I just want to thank you all for your participation.  We have several first timers (Welcome!), many of you who really spent time searching for something new and interesting (that just warms my heart!) and many of you did your tastings with friends over dinners or parties – how great is that?!?  I recognized several of you from this week’s Mixology Monday (haven’t we all been drinking a lot this week!) which was fun.   
I’m going to try to do this writeup in some sort of order although there may be a couple places where it gets messy where folks reviewed more than one bottle.  I’m also working on a little side project that may not be ready when I release this but I hope to have it done shortly after – check back later on Friday or early on Monday. 
I am also going to break this into two posts.  The first post will cover all the multiple bottle entries.  The second will cover the single bottle entries and it will be organized by (wine) region and within the region by category (party, special, dud).  Speaking of categories – remember that one man’s party wine may be another person’s special wine or even someone else’s dud. That’s what makes the world of wine fun – there is something for every person’s taste. 
One last note and then let’s get to the good stuff! To save time I am going to abbreviate the categories to Special (might be a bit more expensive but good for a special occasion); Party (won’t embarrass you to serve it, but the price point makes it good for a crowd); and Dud (self-explanatory).  Okay, let’s get to it!
Grand Tippler Award and Runner Up
We have to give special recognition to two members of the community who drank their hearts out, just so you wouldn’t have to!  Okay, maybe they just really enjoyed the tasting, but still! 
Our all time super achiever is Bill Wilson from Wine for Newbies.  Bill sampled and reported on SIX sparklers from all over the world and documents them all in his post and podcast.  Let’s start with the sparklers that he rated Special: 
Argyle Brut 2000 from Oregon; and then Domaine Chandon Brut California Classic and Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG were rated as both Special, due to taste, and Party since the price point is right.  Those falling solidly in the Party category were Santa Margherita Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Brut NV (Italy) and Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee NV from Australia.  And there was one Dud:  Rumball Sparkling Shiraz from Australia.   I was glad to see the rating on the Rosa Regale as I have a bottle just begging me to try it.  I’d do it tonight but then I’d never finish this summary!
Coming in at a very close second place for wino of the week, is Derek from the Gastronomic Fight ClubDerek samples four wines:  three are from California and the Korbel line of wines and the fourth is from New Zealand.  The three Korbels, N.V. Korbel Chardonnay "Champagne", Korbel Natural Méthode Champenoise, and N.V. Korbel Brut Rosé, are all rated as Party wines while the New Zealand offering, N.V. Le Brun No 1 Family Estate Chardonnay No. 1 Cuvée ranks as a Dud.  I’m glad to see that a Rosé made it into that lineup, too. 
Double Dipping
Then we had several people who tried two wines.  Edward of Wino Sapien ended up with two Duds, unfortunately, but don’t you think it was great of him to sacrifice himself to save others?  He tried Mini Pash and Killawarra Strawberry Dusk both something he calls alcopop – I like that term even if I wouldn’t like what falls into that category.  They are both from Australia.  I’m not sure why he didn’t mention the Cava he also writes about?  It’s Freixenet Rosado Brut Cava from Spain and from his description it looks like it may have fallen into the Party category. 
With a blog name like Catavino (and living in Spain) you might be able to guess where Ryan and Gabriella’s choices were produced.  In their post and podcast they review Paul Cheneau Brut ‘Blanc de Blancs’ and Avant by the Giro Ribot Winery, two Spanish cavas.   They rated them as a Party wine and Special bottle, respectively.  You can hear them work on their pronunciation as they sip and report throughout the podcast!  
Our next double dipper is Marcus from Doktor Weingolb who chose to go with known entities for a special dinner party.  He seems particularly enamored with Ms but you can read his post to find out about that!  In the meantime the sparklers he tried were: Cuvée J.M. Monmousseau Touraine Mousseux 2002 and Mumm Napa Cuvée Brut (NV). He rated the first as a Party wine crossing over into Special and the second as a Special. 
Amanda from PostDoc in Paris (now there’s a nice gig!) stayed with French sparklers but stayed out of Champagne, as she should! :-) She chose Blanquette de Limoux and Cremant de Limoux based on the recommendation of a friend on wines from that region. They were both new to her and both from Languedoc-Roussillon.  The first rates as a Party wine and the second as a Dud.  According to her post she actually bought two other bottles to try but is holding those for another day!
Rinku chose two Australian entries, Pink and Paringa – Sparkling Shiraz. On Cooking in Westchester, Rinku first tries Pink but is disappointed and rates this bottle a Dud.  Disappointing.  The following weekend brought another opportunity for discovery and this time the Paringa did not disappoint.  It earns a place in the Party category. 
I chose to limit my post to just two wines since I didn’t want to look like too big a lush at my own event!  Of course that was before I knew about Bill’s six samples and Derek’s four!  If only I’d known….  I chose something new and something known.  The new wine was Rumball Sparkling Shiraz from Australia, the very same wine that Bill placed in the Dud category and I heartily agree.  It’s a darn shame, too, as it’s a beautiful pour!  My second wine is a Prosecco (Italy) that I have come to love, Rive Della Chiesa Prosecco.  This is a great Party wine and extremely versatile.  I especially love it at brunch. 
All right.  That is the end of the multiple bottle posts.  I’m going to get to work on The single bottle post and it shouldn’t be too much longer before it’s  is ready for your perusal. 

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