Hello and happy wine Wednesday to you!
As 2017 draws to a peaceful close, I can’t help but reflect upon the past year – there were some personal accomplishments, like graduating with ‘Highest Honours’ in my Master of Champagne course and being accepted as a wine judge with the International Wine and Spirit Competition based in London, England. And, I met and connected with incredible wine writers and bloggers this past November in Sonoma who have become lifelong friends.
Most significantly, my little family and I made a decision earlier this year to move to Champagne, France as of June 2018 for one year. It will be an adventure and a great opportunity – more on our trip in posts to come…
OK, enough reflecting, on to the sparkling bottle shopping list for 2018. All wines listed are available through the B.C. liquor stores unless noted otherwise:
- Jaume Serra ‘Cristalino’ Brut Catalonia, Spain 12% ABV. $11.99 – Yes, you read that correctly, you can purchase a well-made Cava for under $12. This is a terrific entertaining wine to have on hand for the holiday season – round and fruity with notes of citrus and apple.
- Evolve Cellars ‘Effervescence’ Okanagan Valley B.C. VQA 12.5% ABV $19.99 (Save On Foods) – Here is a fun bottle of gentle bubbly to enjoy! A blend of 70% Pinot Blanc and 30% Chardonnay, this wine calls to be paired with great friends and good conversation. The approachable flavour profile is made up of ripe Macintosh apple, apricot, a hint of citrus and almond skin.
- Bottega ‘White Gold’ Pinot Nero Spumante Brut Veneto, Italy 12% ABV $29.99 – Here is my Prosecco choice for this year – a blend of Glera, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. This ‘off-dry’ wine pairs well with seafood dishes and has notes of peach, apricot, and white flowers.
- Haywire Winery ‘The Bub’ Traditional Method Sparkling Wine Okanagan Valley, B.C. VQA 12% ABV $31.99 (Everything Wine) – This zippy ‘traditional method’ bottle of bubbles impressed me. I like the clean, citrus profile and zero dosage (no sugar added). This restrained bottle of bubble will appeal to a wine drinker who believes in the ‘less is more’ philosophy – steely, searing and delicious.
- Piper-Heidsieck NV Cuvée Brut Champagne, France 12% ABV $50.99 – During my Master of Champagne studies, I became increasingly fond of Piper-Heidsieck champagne. And, this holiday season, it has become my ‘go-to’ bottle to purchase. I love the depth of this champagne – Pinot Noir makes up over half of the blend followed by Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. There is a creaminess to this wine that makes me swoon and has an intriguing flavour profile of rye bread, apples, hazelnut, almond and lemon.
- Michel Loriot ‘Authentic Meunier’ Blanc De Noirs Brut Champagne, France 12% ABV $52.99 – I first discovered this champagne at an event earlier this year in Vancouver. I heard there was going to be a 100% Pinot Meunier champagne at the tasting, so I went. This champagne is a ‘Récoltant-Manipulant’ which means that it is a ‘grower’ champagne – the person who grows the grapes also crafts the wine. It is a family owned 7-acre vineyard west of Epernay. Loriot has an interesting philosophy in that he believes that vines and wine respond to music so he plays music to the vines in the vineyard and to the fermenting wine in the cellar. I hope he keeps doing what he is doing – the wine is round, balanced and full of Golden Delicious apple, apricot, and pumpernickel bread.
- Taittinger NV Brut Réserve Champagne, France 12% ABV $58.99 – This has become my other ‘holiday darling’ champagne, for good reason. With over 40% of the blend made up of Chardonnay, I am always delighted by the elegance of this wine. Balanced and harmonious with notes of lifted stone fruit, vanilla pod, honey, and citrus, this champagne has excellent, crisp acidity and is beautifully made.
- Bollinger NV Special Cuvée Brut Champagne, France 12% ABV $79.99 – Yes, this champagne consistently shows up on my champagne list. It is also one of the champagnes I will suggest to people who ask for advice on what champagne to buy. Bollinger is synonymous with James Bond – powerful, sophisticated and complex. This wine is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir followed by Chardonnay and a bit of Pinot Meunier. Bollinger uses a nice percentage of reserve wine in their NV blend which adds to its structure and intensity. Notes of brioche, toasted walnut, apple, and spice are well-integrated and downright delicious.
I send love and good wishes to you and your families for 2018!