Wine Line: Bubblies are not just for the holidays

12/10/2013 12:09 PM

12/10/2013 12:11 PM

A year ago as we prepared to toast the new year, I suggested to the Navigator that we should drink more sparkling wine. She agreed. I thought it would be fun to put a bit of pop and fizz into those “blue Mondays.” She liked the idea.

All was going well until we reached September and realized that we were running out of sparkling wines in our price range and, being retired, there is no such thing as a “blue Monday.” We did taste more than 30 bubblies and rated them from the best (open and drink this bottle before the guests arrive) to the worst (open and pour this bottle so guests will leave).

Most people think that sparkling wines are only for celebrations. Not true. They’re versatile and pair well with all types of food. Drinking a bubbly for dinner is cool, chic and needn’t be expensive. Our price limit was $20, and most of the wines we tasted were around $10. Here are our favorite bubblies from our Monday tastings.

Bargain (under $7): Barefoot Bubbly Rose Cuvee, Zonin Prosecco Brut, Freixenet Cava Carta Nevada, M. Chevallier Brut Cava and Barefoot Bubbly Moscato Spumante.

Near Bargain ($8-12): Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut Rose, SeguraViudas Brut Cava, Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava, Korbel Brut, Jaume Serra Christalino Brut Cava, Korbel Blanc de Noirs and Domaine Ste. Extra Dry.

Moderate ($13-16): Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, Mumm Napa Brut Rose and Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs.

Upper End ($17-20): Kirkland Signature Champagne, Roederer Estate Brut and Scharffenberger Brut.

The Kirkland was the only true Champagne out of the 30 we tasted. The rest were cavas (from Spain), proseccos (from Italy), sekts (from Germany) and sparkling wines (from the United States). There were a few “zonks,” some so bad we wouldn’t even serve them to those guests who won’t leave. However, most were good to very good.

Remember, bubblies are not just for fancy or special occasions. They work well on Monday (blue or not) and the rest of the week as well. So, pop the cork, have a bubbly for dinner and put a little fizz in your life.

Red wine blends

In my last column, I mentioned that the new red blends had cool names. I visited Save Mart and here’s what I found. There’s Rare red, Essential Red, Authentic Red, Big House Red, Adobe Red, Sunset Red, Sultry Red, Uncensored Red, The Big Bad Red, Stark Raving Red, Apothic Red, Untamed Red, Red Velvet, Liquid Velvet and Hot to Trot. These names may prompt me to write a hot and steamy Wine Line column sometime soon. Cheers!

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