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WBW#28: Sparklers! Summary Part 2

14-Dec-2006
 
 
 
We are continuing with our summary of Wine Blogging Wednesday 28 – Sparklers.  I just realized that I didn’t review the "rules" in part 1 but it’s pretty simple – any sparkler not from the Champagne region is fair game. 
 
In case you missed Part 1, it lists all of the multi-bottle entries submitted for this round. In this post we are going to delve in to the single bottle entries and they will actually be sort of organized – at least I think they will be.  We’ll see what actually happens as I go through it.  :-) 
 
As with the last post 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). 
 
Here we go!
 
France
I’m starting with France just because I think it’s nice to realize that there are French sparkling wines that are not from Champagne – not that I have anything against Champagne – not at all! 
 
Mairead from Fill Up on Bread (something that I can so easily do…) grabbed a couple friends and they went out to do their sparkling wine sampling.  They started with something expensive and local but were very disappointed and moved on to their second choice Pol Clement Brut Blanc de Blancs.  This one suited them much better!  They rate it as "Party for Sure and Definitely Special!" 
 
Our next French offering is from Dr. Debs at Good Wine Under $20 (don’t you love that premise?). She chose NV Blason de Bourgogne Cremant de Bourgogne Cuvee Brut from Auxerrois, BurgundyShe rated this as a great Party wine but more than that said it is "the best under $10 sparkler I’ve had"!  That sounds pretty good. 
 
One of our WBW newbies, Kim also stayed with a French wine, choosing Domaine Allimant-Laugner Crémant D’Alsace Brut Rose to write about on the WineLog Blog. It’s pink and it’s a Cremant – something I’ve been wanting to learn more about!  She rates it a Party Sparkler and thinks it’s perfect for a wedding…maybe even hers!
 
Our next entry is also from a WBW first-timer, Megan, and she also chose a French wine to talk about on her blog, Wannabe Wino.  She sampled Carod Freres Clairette De Die and while doing research came across a recommendation that it was good for "daytime meetings"!  I think she’d like to participate in those meetings and based on her review they might just turn into Parties!   
 
That’s it for France – let’s pop on over to Austria.
 
Austria   
I don’t know if our bloggers just made great selections or if Austria is doing something special but both of our Austrian wines rated as Special! 
 
Thomas, a German blogger with a German language blog, Winzerblog, wrote his review in English to take part in this worldwide event.  And I’m glad he did as he tells us about an interesting sparkler, Triebaumer Muscato from the Burgenland, Neusiedler See region.  Not only did Thomas enjoy this tasting but the wine brought back memories of younger years – that’s always fun!  He places this wine in the Special category. 
 
The Corkdork (with a blog of the same name) also chose an Austrian contender, Schloss Golbersburg Brut Reserve, NV from Kamptal, Austria.  His wine was quite different from Thomas’ but it also rates as a Special. 
 
Let’s move on to Italy. 
 
Italy
We have three wines from Italy to learn about. 
 
Anna from Morsels and Musings chose a wine I know nothing about, Pisani Fragolino Rosso Vivo from the Veneto.  Not that I think I know everything!  In fact just the opposite and why I love these events!  She has a bit of history with Fragolino so is in a good position to rate this wine but doesn’t as it falls between the cracks.  Not quite good enough to be rated Special but too expensive to fall into the Party category, it sits somewhere in the limbo in between. 
 
False Epiphany’s Dantae, also chose an Italian sparkler.  He ended up with a San Fermo Bellenda Prosecco after originally trying to locate a different Prosecco he’d enjoyed in the Virgin Islands.  (Although he’s spelling it differently it seems like it might be the same wine our super-achiever Bill reviewed in Part 1…)  But back to this wine.  It’s from the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region and Dantae rates it as a Party wine. 
 
Our final Italian offering comes to us from Neil, of the Brooklynguy’s Wine and Food Blog.   He blames his choice of this wine on a strange mood he was in but he seems to have had fun with his experiment.  While he might not buy the 2005 Bruno Verdi Sangue di Giuda from Lombardy again, it’s not a dud, just not a wine he prefers so he puts it in the Party category. 

Moving on to Spain…

Spain
I was a little surprised to see that we have only one Spanish post in the single bottle reviews.  We had a couple in the Part 1 posts but still not as many as I would have thought overall.  Interesting. 
 
Tim, another podcaster can be found at Wine Cast. This WBW theme challenged him to get outside his normal sparkling zone and he chose a Cava for his tasting.  His choice of Cava Avinyo, Brut Reserva, Penedes, Spain NV turned out to be a very nice surprise for him.  He calls it a "fairly complex sparkler at a bargain price; highly recommended".  At just $14 he places it in the Party category.  
 

We have one last stop in Europe and it’s an interesting one…

 
Romania
I love this!  I’ve never seen anyone write about a wine from Romania, sparkling or otherwise!
 
Andreea and her blog, Glorious Wines come to us from Belgium. (She mentions there is a Dutch version of Wine Blogging Wednesday!)  She hosts themed wine tastings and not long ago had one based on Romania.  During that tasting they discovered a very pleasant Romanian sparkler, Prahova Valley Spumant.  It’s got a few things going for it yet is cheap enough to make the Party category. 

Now we are going to head south, way south. 

Australia
I think Australia was our top contender, although the US may have had just a couple more entries.  It’s close either way. 
 
Y from Lemonpi is enjoying summer in Australia and has found just the right sparkler to sip this summer. Two Hands Brilliant Disguise Moscato 2006 from Barossa Valley is a recent discovery and one Y is anxious to share with others.  It has a low-alcohol content and is perfect for the Party category.   

A fellow Aussie, Ed who’s blog is Tomato also chose a local sparkler but he rates his wine in the Special category.  Foxeys Hangout blanc de Noirs 2003 sounds great but what is even more fun is that if you visit the winery location you can actually custom blend your own sparkling wine!  Now that is Special!

Fe of fefifofum, resides in Perth and also has an Australian pick rated as Special.  Fe had a bottle of St Hallett’s The Black NV in the cellar that they had been keeping for just the right occasion and I guess this was it!  This wine is from Barossa and often sells out soon after release, according to Fe – so get it when you can. 

Our next Australian wine is from Tasmania.  Haalo who writes at Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once selected Dominique Portet Tasmanian Cuvée 2002.  Not only is this our only Tasmanian entry it also has another very distinguishing characteristic.  That’s not what puts it in the Special category but that is where Haalo places this wine. 

Garry, a sommelier from the UK, with a blog titled Tales of a Sommelier chose our last Australian entry for this month.  His choice Charles Melton Sparkling Red (Shiraz) NV Disgorged 2005 from the Barossa Valley, an old favorite of his.  Actually, I guess I should say an old favourite of his. ;-)  Garry knows a lot about this producer and shares that information with you.  Although this is a great wine, it’s also a pricey wine and therefore belongs in the Special category. 

And now we move on to the US. 

United States
I was very sad that other than Bill’s (the super achiever) mention of Argyle Brut there weren’t any Oregon or Washington wines reviewed.  I guess, however, that was actually my job and I blew it.  Oh bother.  What was very cool though is that we did have a couple of more unusual entries.  
 
Now, I’m not sure why but our illustrious WBW founder Lenn of LennDevours, wrote up a post but failed to let me know.  You can run but you can’t hide, Lenn!  As you can guess he chose to sample a wine from Long Island, Martha Clara Vineyards 2001 Brut Rose.  His description of this wine being the "lightest coppery-pink" makes me want to try that wine.  He didn’t specify but with the price of the wine, I’m placing it in the Special category.
 
Our other interesting entry comes from David, another WBW first-timer, who writes Cooking Chat. David is from Massachusetts and so it’s not surprising that so is his wine, Westport Rivers 2002 Brut Cuvee RJR.  David reminisces about his first sparkling wines and then asks some interesting questions before describing his wine which, when all is said and done is a "Special Party" sparkler.     
 
Now, as you might guess, the balance of our sparklers are from California.  
 
Catherine from, Purple Liquid, submits a review of 2002 J Vintage Brut from the Russian River Valley, she provides an interesting summary of this wine’s lineage and puts it solidly in the Special category. 
 
Jens from Cincinnati Wine Cellars reviews a different wine from the same producer, J Vineyards Brut Rose.  Jens almost ended up in the "Paragraph of Shame" when he first tried to submit a Champagne with a bunch of flimsy excuses as to why he couldn’t complete the assignment properly! But he did manage to drink another bottle of wine to meet the qualifications prior to the deadline.  Although he then asked for extra credit!  I told him the extra credit he got was that he was able to enjoy two great sparkling wines!  He also places this wine in the Special category.
 
Another wine placed in the Special category is 2003 Mumm Pinot Meunier from Napa.  This wine was reviewed by Farley of Wine Outlook.  Now, not only did she review this wine and place it in the Special category, she actually wrote a Sonnet that Sparkles!  That is how much she loves sparkling wines! 
 
S. Anderson Blanc de Noir 1998 from Napa was the wine of choice for John from Brim to the Dregs.  John seems to have a great outlook on life and how to celebrate it (beliefs I share, by the way).  He puts this wine in the Special category but allows a little leeway for those who might think it is also a Party wine.    
 
Dave from Avenue Wine (thanks for the fancy logo, Dave!) also has a California wine he places in either the Special or Party category.  Although Dave had great aspirations to rival our super achiever, I think life and the holidays took their toll!  But still he reviewed Chandon Sparkling Wine Brut Classic and not only do you get a review but lots of background info, too. 
Update December 18, Dave actually did make it through several sparkling wines and got his post up just after I’d finished the summaries and headed out of town.  And in fact, he should have been in post 1 and ties for our super acheiver award.  Here is his updated list: 
1. Chandon Sparkling Wine Brut Classic – California = PARTY!
2. NV Chandon Sparkling Wine Blanc de Noirs – Carneros = PARTY!
3. 2002 Schramsberg Sparkling Wine Blanc de Blancs – California = PARTY!
4. NV Monticello Vineyards Sparkling Wine Montreaux Brut – Napa Valley = DUDs
5. NV Chandon Sparkling Wine Riche California = PARTY!
6. NV Chandon Sparkling Wine Reserve Brut – Carneros = PARTY!

One link takes you to all the details
 
Roederer Estate Brut (NV) from Sonoma/Anderson Valley brings back plenty of memories for Anita from Married…with Dinner.  She places it in the Party category and for good reason – this was the wine selected for her wedding and her anniversary is very soon!
 
And finishing up with one more Party sparkler we have Wine Box Guy from Box Wines and his pick, Ballatore Gran Spumante.  Wine Box Guy laments that he couldn’t find a boxed wine for this event but understands there are times when a box won’t do the trick.  While this wine did not get big raves, he feels it’s an appropriate choice for a party.   

And that ends our WBW #28 Sparkling Wine Round Up!  I think this is a very interesting selection of wines and it was amazing to me that we only had a couple duplicates!  If I counted correctly (and there’s a good chance I did not…) we had about 47 reviews (33 reviewers) and to have so few repeats is really amazing. 

I thank you all for humoring me and for playing along at this busy time of year.  Hopefully as you read through all of the individual posts you will learn a few new things – both about the wines and your fellow participants – and be motivated to go out and try a few more new sparklers that are not Champagne…

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11 Comments
  1. Unknown permalink
    15-Dec-2006 8:01 am

    Thanks for putting this all together.  But.  I\’m Farley from Wine Outlook, and I\’m not a he…. Definitely a she.  (Don\’t feel bad; it happens fairly often.)

  2. Culinary permalink
    15-Dec-2006 9:28 am

    I am so sorry, Farley!  Thanks for letting me know and the post has been corrected. 

  3. Unknown permalink
    16-Dec-2006 9:39 am

    Lots of fun, my first WBW.  I thought of doing Domaine St. Michelle for this, which would have added to the WA/OR entries.  They have good reliable, modestly priced sparklers.  David  http://cookingchat.blogspot.com

  4. Culinary permalink
    18-Dec-2006 8:14 am

    Hi David!
    Sorry for the delayed response – I was out of town the last several days. 
     
    Glad you enjoyed your WBW experience.  It\’s a good group of people to "get to know" and always a lot of fun to have some one stretch your knowledge of wine. 
     
    Ste Michelle is a great alternative!  And one I drink quite often as sort of a "house" sparkler.  At the normal price of abut $12 it\’s a great party alternative and at this time of year you can often find it priced between $8 and $9!  Really a great deal then.  I think it has made all the "Best Buy" wine lists at one time or another. 
     
    I\’m glad you didn\’t choose it though as I am intrigued by your Westport Rivers entry – something I would not have known about otherwise! 
     
    Thanks for your contribution!  Happy Holidays!
    ~ B

  5. 20-Dec-2006 3:45 pm

    Candon is our "house" bubbly.  It\’s a decent price and matches well with any food.  This was a great write up!  It\’s very interesting to learn about the different sparklers from different regions.

  6. Culinary permalink
    21-Dec-2006 7:35 pm

    Hey BH – I keep Chandon on hand, too, especially the bland de noirs with that little hint of salmon and just a tad more character.  I see they also now have a Rose – I\’ll have to look for that.  This is a great wine for the price – especially if you can shop at Costco where they almost always have it in stock!
    ~ B

  7. Unknown permalink
    23-Dec-2006 2:16 am

    So who\’s doing the next WBW?  As a rookie who had fun with this one want to figure out what\’s next!

  8. Culinary permalink
    23-Dec-2006 6:53 am

    I have yet to see anything on WBW#29.  Depending on who it is and how familiar they are with the blogging world it might show up on http://ismyblogburning.com/ and Lenn http://lenndevours.com/ will announce it, too.  And as soon as it\’s posted it will start showing up on other blogs as announcements.  I\’d start checking for it next week – most people are still a little busy with their "real" life right now. :-)

  9. danny permalink
    27-Dec-2006 6:14 pm

    Listening to shine downs 45\’ drinking herding cats 2005 shiraz. Eating, just cooked by me, mandarin sesame seed chicken. Two thumbs up to life! Oh yeah.

  10. Culinary permalink
    28-Dec-2006 1:13 pm

    Hi dannyo – Sounds like life is very good!  Have a great New Year!  ~ B

  11. 31-Dec-2006 6:23 pm

    H-N-Y!!!
    Looking forward to reading your adventures in 2007!
     
    Cheers,
    BH

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