Weekly wine review
July 11, 2008
the time you read this you will have already experienced a joyful Fourth of July.
You’ll have eaten far too many hot dogs, hamburgers, and chips and you will have had way too many beers.
Standing in direct sunlight will have sucked out any remaining energy you had leaving you feeling pretty rough Saturday morning.
Fear not. The world of wine has come up with a solution for your July 4th woes and its inventor is Dom Perignon. While Dom Perignon’s actual role in the inventing of champagne is largely embellished, he did contribute a lot to viticulture and vinification in the Champagne region.
The real point is that now we have a great wine to drink on Saturday mornings after overzealous Fridays.
With the dollar falling, gas prices rising, and champagne’s demand growing in places like China, the prices of true champagne from Champagne are getting increasingly higher.
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It wasn’t that long ago when Veuve Clicquot’s "Yellow Label" was on the shelves in Utah for $25 per bottle. Now it costs twice that. There are still bubbly wines out there that are of very fine quality from regions other than Champagne that create wines that still have a considerable amount of value.
One region that is known for it prowess in bubbly wines is the region of Penedes in Northeastern Spain, where a fun and delicious wine called Cava is created.
These wines are made using the Champagne method in which the bubbles are created by completing secondary fermentation in the bottle in which it is served. Aside from the region of production, these wines also differ in the fact that the local varieties to Penedes can be used to make Cava in addition to the Champagne grapes of pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier. The best thing about these wines is there stunning value. The Marques de Gelida Brut ($17) is about as fine an example as it gets.
Italy is another home great-value bubbly. The Prosseco wines of Italy’s Northeast are not made with the Champagne method, but do offer a good price. These sparkling wines are known in Venice to be mixed with a little bit of French white peach nectar to create the famed bellini. Bellini is one of wines most delicious cocktails and is the best mid-day beverage since the Bloody Mary. The Adami Brut Prosseco ($15) does the trick just fine.
If you are in the mood to splurge a little bit, you can find fantastic champagnes out there for a little less money if you are willing to get out of the comfort zone of Veuve Clicqout and Moet and Chandon. The category of grower champagnes is hot right now and believe it or not Utah state liquor stores actually have a pretty good selection of them.
For $45, the Chartogne-Taillet NV Brut is one of the best buys on the market. The nose is packed with that seductive yeasty aroma and the palate is layered with fruit and nuts.
However your summer works out, it is always better with a bit of bubbly.