Happy 4th of July. We all love a little sparkle, from a firework or from a glass, so this year open a bottle of bubbly as you watch your holiday fireworks display adding a little extra sparkle to the day. #cheers
From Prosecco to Cava to Champagne to Cremant to sparkling wine from California, Oregon, South Africa, or Argentina, you can find delicious bubbly wines from everywhere.
Though Champagne is beloved, it wasn’t the first sparkling wine in France (or anywhere for that matter.) Along the Mediterranean coast of France in Limoux, the first sparkling wines were produced as early as the 1500s. Today, classic method Cremant de Limoux is still some of the most revered sparkling wine in France. Faire la Fete Cremant de Limoux Brut ($20) reveals notes of lemongrass, honeysuckle, and orchard fruit from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Noir.
Premium vineyards combined with traditional methods create France’s beloved Champagne wines from historic Maison’s celebrating their house styles in non-vintage and vintage cuvee wines. Champagne Delamontte Blanc de Blancs ($85) reveals a full-bodied profile with intense chalky minerality, melding with creamy cream brulee, toasted hazelnut, and green apple. Produced from 100% Chardonnay grown in mostly Grand Cru Champagne vineyards from a Maison dating back to the 1700s.
With a modern approach, but similar refinement, Palmer and Co. Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($85) highlights a slightly more subtle palate filled with white flowers, golden citrus, and orchard fruit from 100% Chardonnay fruit.
Though known for their Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, this past year Napa’s ZD Wines celebrated their 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the winery produced their ZD 50th Anniversary Sparkling Reserve Cuvee ($90,) a tiny production Brut bubbly blending fruit from their organically-farmed estate vineyards in Carneros. Complex, full-bodied, and structured, the wine is a beautiful toast to the history of ZD, showcasing stone fruit, spiced almonds, yeasty brioche, and crushed stone.
Crisp, clean, steely, and very dry, Domaine Carneros Ultra Brut ($46) is one of the truest expressions of premium Carneros sparkling wine. The zero dosage bubbly shines with lilikoi, honeysuckle, green apple, and lemon zest, creating a mouthwatering, refreshing, slightly racy sparkler with a refreshing palate and a lingering, lively finish. For all of the Domaine Carneros wines that I love, this is consistently my favorite.
Carneros’ first traditional method sparkling wine house, Gloria Ferrer, celebrates their history and future with their Gloria Ferrer Anniversary Cuvee ($45) blending Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from hand-picked, sustainably farmed vineyards. Rich and textured, with layers of red apple, black cherry, Asian pear, and custard with a touch of yeasty brioche from 5+ years of aging in the bottle on the yeasts.
Spanish sister winery, Segura Viudas, shines with their classic method Cava, produced just like Champagne but from the beloved Spanish varieties Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarel.lo. Their crown jewel Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva ($30) blends only Parellada and Macabeo into a focused, refined, and beautifully structured sparkler with character. Creamy and generous, with white flowers, fresh herbs, golden apple, and a touch of crushed stone and mineral notes, melding with toasted almond and brioche.
Taking a more classic approach, the patriarch of the portfolio which began in 1914, Freixenet celebrates over 100 years of family winemaking in the heart of Penedes, Spain. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut ($10) is a solid, traditional method bubbly that consistently delivers, especially for the price. Slightly spicy, with fresh apple, ripe pear, lemonade lemons, and ginger flower, the wine is great on its own or used as the base of your favorite sparkling cocktails.
For Rose sparklers, Mumm Napa Brut Rose ($25,) blending 80% Pinot Noir with 20% Chardonnay reveals gorgeous layers of golden peach, strawberry, and tart cranberry, complemented by creamy custard and yeasty bread notes. Fresh, fragrant, and always a crowd-pleaser.
Gary and I send you much love and aloha this holiday weekend. Be safe, wear a mask, register to vote, watch “Hamilton,” and raise a glass.