It’s all in the bubbles!
Story by Dave Eckert
It is with great pleasure that we introduce a new column to KC Homes & Style – Sublime Sips. Here, we’ll focus on Kansas City’s exciting beverage scene: juice, coffee, tea, Kombucha, wine, craft beer, spirits – you name it!
If it’s wet and it whets your palate, you’ll find some insights right here!
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’re devoting the first Sublime Sips to some of the most sublime wine sips in the world: sparkling wine. I love sparkling wine, whether you’re talking about Champagne, Prosecco and Franciancortas from Italy, Spanish Cavas, British Fizz (yes, that’s a real category), or domestic bubbles.
Here are a few points on some of the more prominent sparkling wine bottlings that will hopefully make your bubbly buys easier and more informed.
All Champagne is sparkling wine, but only wine produced in the Champagne region of France can, or at least should, be called Champagne. The Champenois have earned that right by producing the finest sparkling wine in the world for centuries.
Style and price vary widely with Vintage Champagne and most Roses being pricier. I’d look for a good non vintage Brut from a less commercial house. Jacquart, Pol Roger, and Taittinger are three of my favorites in that category.
2. British Fizz
If you want a treat, and a rare treat at that, venture into Southern England for a bottle or two of British Bubbly. Fairly new into the country, and brand new into the Kansas City market, British sparkling wine is complex, elegant, and well-balanced. Of the eight or so I’ve tried, two roses were standouts: the Balfour 2001 Brut Rose and the 2010 Camel Valley Vineyards Rose. Neither are inexpensive, but if you want to give your sweetheart something special this Valentine’s Day, one or both of these might just be the ticket.
3. Franciacorta and Prosecco
Both of these bottlings can be found in Northern Italy-Franciacorta about an hour east of Milan, and the Prosecco production region in the hills north of Venice. Both are lovely expressions of sparkling wine. To my palate, Franciacortas are more Champagne-like and Proseccos softer, fruiter, and almost always less expensive. Ca’del Bosco non-vintage Cuvee Prestige is one of my favorite efforts from Franciacorta while Mionetto is a consist producer of quality Prosecco to look for in the local marketplace.
4. Spanish Cava
Most of the Spanish sparkling wine, called Cava, comes from the Penedes region south of Barcelona in the northeastern part of Spain. This is the sparkling wine category that I have the hardest time wrapping my hands around. Cavas are often the least expensive sparkling wine choices, but they are also the most inconsistent. I’d encourage you NOT to buy the cheapest bottle you find, but rather seek out a higher quality cava even if it comes at a higher price. As for recommendations, I recently had a Mestres Rose Cava that was, in a word, yummy!
5. Domestic Sparklers
There is a wide range of sparkling wine produced in the United States, but some of the best come from U.S. offshoots of French Champagne houses. Notable among those are Domaine Chandon in The Napa Valley, Domaine Carneros (Taittinger’s American sparkling wine outlet), farther south in Napa, and Roederer Estate in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley. I also enjoy the efforts, especially the Blanc de Noir, from Gloria Ferrer, a Spanish-owned sparkling wine house in the southern part of Sonoma County.
So, there you have it, some thoughts on an age-old category in our brand new column! Happy Valentine’s Day and Cheers!