Each year in the fall we start covering Sparkling Wines and Champagnes, so we can post them just in time for your end of the year celebrations. I just finished up posting the reviews and here is a summary of the results. As you will see the Perrier Jouets ruled the results this year. However, you will find all kinds of options at many different price points. In all cases you will enjoy your celebration with a selection of these tasty sparklers!
The 2004 Perrier Jouet “Belle Epoque Brut” not only comes in a beautiful painted bottle, it contains delicious Champagne. The panel described this wine as light bodied, silky and elegant. We loved its refined mineral flavors with notes of green apple and a hint of white pepper. We would suggest sharing this impressive bottle with someone special at a New Year’s dinner with grilled halibut or seared tuna steak. At $140 a bottle, this wine is not inexpensive. You can definitely find it online for less. Also, our friends at Colonial Spirits have it on sale for about $100 which is a great deal. It is definitely worth the experience!
If you cannot afford the Belle Epoque, give the 91 point Perrier Jouet non-vintage “Grand Brut” a try for about $45. This offering came in just a point behind its big sister and has a much lower price tag. This offering is light bodied, slightly acidic, and mouthwatering. I really liked its very tasty green apple and grapefruit flavors with nicely integrated minerality and toasted almond. It finishes dry and very refreshing. This offering would be a perfect aperitif for your New Year’s celebration. It will also prove to be quite a crowd pleaser.
Our other two 91 pointers both come from Gosset. The non-vintage “Excellence Brut” Champagne is the slightly better deal at $45. The panel described it as medium bodied, balanced, and easy going. They really enjoyed its mild strawberry and mellow lemon flavors with nicely integrated minerality and a hint of honey. The panel felt this Champagne is rather food friendly and would pair nicely with grilled swordfish or sliced extra sharp Manchego cheese. For a little more money you can try the Gosset non-vintage “Grande Reserve Brut” Champagne for $65. This offering is light bodied, slightly acidic and crisp. It is a classic style Champagne with its prominent mineral infused green pear flavors with notes of vichy water and a touch of lime. If you are looking for a more traditional style, be sure to give this one a whirl with bacon wrapped scallops.
Our 90 pointers are a mixture of sparklers from various countries and they come in all different styles. We start off in France with the non-vintage Nicolas Feuillatte “Brut Reserve” Champagne for $36. This classic Champagne is medium bodied, acidic and very fresh. It displays mineral infused green apple flavors with notes of white pepper and a hint of tangerine. It finishes rather dry and would be a perfect choice with a baked Dover sole drizzled with a touch of lemon.
Next up is an old standby. The 2009 Schramsberg “Blanc de Blancs” Sparkling Wine from the North Coast of California always performs very well with our panel. At $37 it always proves to be a good value. This year’s version is light bodied, a touch acidic and slightly effervescent. The panel enjoyed its slightly tart green apple flavors with hints of white pepper, mild grapefruit, and some nicely integrated minerality. They suggested serving this very nice sparkler with bacon wrapped scallops or evening caviar.
Our next 90 pointer hails from Italy. The non-vintage Ricci Curbastro “Brut Franciacorta” for $39 was our favorite from this country. It is a different mixture in that, it is made from 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir. The panel found it to be medium bodied and creamy with pleasant mineral infused citrus flavors with a hint of strawberry and almond. The panel felt this sparkler would go well with food and they suggested pairing it with baked scrod or baked brie with honey.
The next two 90 point Champagnes come from Besserat de Bellefon. Their non-vintage “Cuvee des Moines Brut Rose” for $55 is light bodied, slightly acidic and very flavorful. Those flavors are a strong mineral infused plum and cranberry with hints of watermelon and strawberry in the background. This Champagne will pair nicely with fresh sliced Norwegian salmon. The other offering of note is their non-vintage “Cuvee des Moines Brut Blanc de Blanc” for $56. It is medium bodied, creamy, smooth and surprisingly effervescent given its initial lack of bubbles. This classic Champagne displays mineral infused light lemon flavors with hints of strawberry and green apple. The panel suggested serving this Champagne with swordfish kabobs with a wild mushroom risotto.
Another winner from Italy to consider is the 2006 Bellavista “Franciacorta Grand Cuvee” for $65. This sparkler is light bodied, slightly effervescent, and fruity. The panel enjoyed its tasty green grape and mineral infused flavors with some hints of apple and walnut mixed in as well. They suggested serving this one with cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto or with sushi.
Our last 90 pointer is the 2003 Nicolas Feuillatte “Cuvee 225 Brut” Champagne for $90. This champagne is medium bodied, displays nice palate coverage and was described as savory. Its flavor profile is a white truffle and tangerine blend with hints of raisin, lemon, and almond. The consensus of the panel was that this classic champagne would pair nicely with grilled rainbow trout with wild mushroom risotto.
Our 89 pointers are led by two Moscato’s that are both affordable and tad sweet.
The 2010 Coppo “Moncalvina Moscato D’Asti” for $17 is light bodied, pleasantly sweet and effervescent. I enjoyed its ripe tangerine flavors with notes of apricot and a touch of vanilla, honey, and red apple. This offering is a real quaffer. It would be a perfect aperitif.
Another crowd pleasing Moscato is the non-vintage Maschio dei Cavalieri “Moscato PM” for $25. It is medium bodied, slightly sweet and flavorful. It displays tasty peach flavors with notes of minerality and lychee. I also detected a hint of tangerine and apple. This sparkler is a fun sparkler to consider for your holiday parties.
The last three 89 pointers all come from the Mumm family. The 2007 Mumm Napa “Blanc de Blancs” for $36 is the best deal. This offering is light bodied, pretty foamy and displays a large amount of bubbles. The flavor profile is bread toast with notes of integrated ginger and also has hints of minerality and almond as well. The panel suggested pairing this sparkler with oysters or pan seared scallops. The non-vintage G.H. Mumm “Cordon Rouge Brut” Champagne for $40 is a classic. It is crisp, acidic and fresh with mineral infused lime flavors with hints of white pepper, tangerine and Anjou pear. This offering is a nice one to consider as an opening aperitif served with bacon wrapped scallops. We will close the 89 pointers with the non-vintage G H Mumm “Mumm de Cremant Blanc de Blancs” for $62. This offering is medium bodied, a bit viscous and balanced. Its flavors are a mineral infused strawberry with hints of walnuts and tangerine. The panel suggested pairing this classic styled sparkler with steamed mussels or bacon wrapped striped bass.
Here is a listing of our Very Good 88 pointers.
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Sparkling Wine “Brut” (Columbia Valley, WA) $12 (88)
Barone Pizzini 2007 Franciacorta “Saten Brut” (Italy) $27 (88)
Schramsberg 2008 Sparkling Wine “Blanc de Noirs Brut” (North Coast, CA ) $39 (88)
Nicolas Feuillatte NV Champagne “Brut Rose” (France) $48 (88)
To wrap up our list is our very good 87 pointers.
Domaine Ste. Michelle NV Sparkling Wine “Blanc de Blancs” (Columbia Valley, WA) $12 (87)
Mumm Napa NV Sparkling Wine “Brut Prestige” (Napa Valley, CA) $22 (87)
We hope you enjoy these selections at your New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Please feel free to share your favorites with the group.
Happy New Year and Cheers! Ken
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