If the holidays mean one thing when it comes to wine it is this: BUBBLY! Now, bubbly can take many different shapes, can’t it? There’s Champagne, there’s California sparkling, there’s Prosecco Superiore, Cava – the list goes on and on. I’m here to share some recommendations based on a few samples I’ve received recently. Why I love these: there’s something for everyone! Let’s pop some corks!
Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Champagne: Okay, friends, I’ve had a soft spot for a certain Champagne brand for years, but wow – this Bruno Paillard stole my heart. It is 45 percent Pinot Noir, 33 percent Chardonnay and 22 percent Pinot Meunier. It’s comprised of a blend of 25 vintages going back to 1985 and it spent three years sur lie (resting on the lees – you know, the spent yeast cells), so I think it has extra toasty-roasty yeasty deliciousness. It’s also Extra Brut, so less than 6 grams per liter of sugar, so nice and dry, with shining fruit and very fine bubbles that tickle your palate in all the best ways. God, I love it and I’m not gonna lie – I’m super happy with the shipping mix-up that resulted in me receiving two bottles – cha-ching! About $60 retail.
Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace: If it’s French, there is a high likelihood that I am going to love it and especially if it is from Alsace! Lucien Albrecht is an Alsace pioneer, going back to 1698. Crémant d’Alsace is a perfect option when you want affordable excellence. The wines are made in the traditional method (the same way Champagne is made, where the second fermentation happens in the bottle.)
The Brut – made from Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois grapes – was a pure delight: light, bright fizzy fun in a glass. Its green apple notes dance on the tongue with peaches and apricots and I defy anyone not to love this wine. The Brut Rosé has just a touch more rooty-tooty, fresh n’ fruity sweetness on the palate (12 g/L, versus 10 g/L for the Brut), but did I ever meet a pink fizz I didn’t like? No, I did not. The wine is 100 percent Pinot Noir. Both can be had for around $23!
Domaine Bousquet Charmat: Argentine sparkling? Fun! Domaine Bousquet is Argentina’s foremost producer of organic wines, and these two from the Uco Valley are made in the Charmat method, where the second fermentation happens over one to six weeks (15 days in the case of these two beauties) in a pressurized stainless tank, and is then immediately bottled.
The Brut is 75 percent estate-grown Chardonnay and 25 percent estate-grown Pinot Noir. I got some nice, bouncy green apple and peach notes and zesty acidity. The Brut Rosé is the flip-flop of the Brut, made from 75 percent estate-grown Pinot Noir and 25 percent estate-grown Chardonnay, and reveals some sexy, bouncy citrus notes, as well as a scoche of under-ripe strawberry. And you guys – these clock in at about $13 each! At that price, you can happily pop a bottle any night of the week.
Have a very fizzy festive season, friends! And thank you to Bruno Paillard Champagne, Lucien Albrecht and Domaine Bousquet for the samples.