Sparkling: Style of the Month

Marcy Gordon on Dec 13, 2021

Nothing makes an occasion more festive than Sparkling Wine. The pop of the cork, the rise of tiny bubbles and the gentle whoosh of foam in the glass—it’s romantic and special. Sparkling wines are not just for holidays and celebrations, they make a fine choice for everyday meals and pair exceptionally well with a variety of foods. From fried chicken to lobster bisque, the range of food pairings are endless, but nothing beats potato chips or truffle fries for flavor match made in heaven.

Sparkling wine hails from the Champagne region of France and wines grown and produced there are labeled Champagne. In the United States we call our bubbles Sparkling Wine and they are made in a variety of methods. The traditional method called Méthode Champenoise, and the tank method called Charmat. The many styles include Blanc de Blanc–made entirely of white grapes, Blanc de Noir, and Rosé. Sparkling wines come in a range of sweetness levels from sugar called dosage that is added to the wine before corking the bottle. The most popular style is Brut with less than half a gram of sugar per glass. Extra Brut and Brut Nature have even less sugar resulting in a bone-dry wine.

Here are capsule reviews of ten Sparkling Wines that will deliver you unto the bubble kingdom. 

Amista Sparkling Syrah Morningsong Vineyards

Swipe right for an instant connection with this beauty from Amista. Nuanced and multi-faceted, the Amista Sparkling Syrah shines like a rare gem. Pale garnet color with an inner golden glow, it’s juicy and bright with a persistent bubble stream. Full flavors of Rainier cherry, dusty rose petals, and all spice (nutmeg) delight the palate all the way through the long dry finish. 

 Cast Brut Rose NV

The Cast Brut Rosé is comprised of 78% Pinot Noir, 19% Chardonnay, and 3% Pinot Menuier. Pale blush pink in color with a cascade of tiny bubbles, the initial flavors are full and lush with Queen Anne cherry, tart citrus, grapefruit pith, and candied ginger. A creamy second wave of flavor comes to the forefront with rich buttered apple and a light toasty note on the long dry finish. 

Harvest Moon Sparkling Zinfandel 2017

A vision to behold, the Harvest Moon Sparkling Zinfandel is a deep garnet and ruby that sparkles with a fine bead of bubbles. A delicate perfume of cranberry and cherry glides to the top of the glass. On the palate, it’s a blend of traditional zinfandel flavors with a twist of all spice and a dash of strawberry whimsy that’s a sure bet with robust holiday fare like roasts and turkeys for the holidays or any special day. 
ABV 12.5%

Iron Horse 2017 Winter’s Cuvée, Green Valley

A classic for the ages—Iron Horse Winter’s Cuvée is rich and elegant with a bright clean scent of a fresh fallen snow. Full bodied, yet buoyant it delivers a range of captivating flavors with lemon zest, brioche, a touch of chalk, crisp green apple, lemon curd and white strawberry. The long silky finish lingers with creamy notes of peach and apricot. Like a fabulous white cashmere scarf, the Iron Horse Sparkling wine is a luxurious accessory to wrap around any occasion. 
ABV 13.5%

Longboard Brut Rosé

A delicate pale amber rose color in the glass, the Longboard Brut Rosé is a singular flex of flavor and style. Balanced and sumptuous it unfolds with a soft perfumed bouquet of chamomile and crushed rose petals on the nose. The palate is plush and creamy with top notes of orange creamsicle, white peach and white raspberry. Secondary flavors of toasted almond and strawberry mousse mingle on a bright juicy finish.
ABV 12.5

Moshin 2014 Pearl Anniversary Brut Rosé Pinot Noir Estate Grown

This special Anniversary edition of Brut Rosé is a wonder of the senses. The pale orange amber color sparkles with a steady stream of fine bubbles. A delicate sent of peach, anju pear and candied ginger reverberates on the nose with a top note of white strawberry. The palate thrums with tart cranberry and orange zest and juicy Asian pear. The finish is a dry delight with a subtle earthy bramble note at the end. 
ABV 13.5

Orsi Brut NV

Lively and enchanting with a body like super model—taut and supple— the Orsi opens with notes of crisp apple and brioche on the nose. The palate is round and full with flavors of lemon curd, lime zest, biscuit and a savory nutty note. Creamy and plush with a bright and silky strawberry finish—this special sparkler is must for any fête.
ABV 12.5%

VML Blanc de Noir 2016 RRV

The VLM Blanc de Noir opens with an initial sweet marzipan top note then takes you on a pleasure ride of flavor with granny smith apple, lime zest, grapefruit pith and fresh strawberry. A secondary wave of flavor delivers Crenshaw melon, honeydew and apple jolly rancher tartness that converge with lemon curd and ginger for a complex and deeply satisfying finish that lingers on and on.
ABV 13.5%

West Seafoam Blanc de Blanc 2016 Extra Brut Chardonnay

Plush. Lush. Delish! The West Seafoam Blanc de Blanc Extra Brut Chardonnay is a true pleasure. A persistent string of tiny bubbles race to the top of the glass delivering a nose of lemon cream mousse with distinct yet subtle notes of chalk and a kiss of brine. On the palate, a cavalcade of full-bodied flavors converge with lime zest, lemon curd, green apple, juicy white peach and pomello pith. A bright swirl of ginger and biscotti linger on the fine dry finish.
ABV 12%

Woodenhead Naturale 2019 RRV Single Vineyard

A profusion of fine bubbles bring a fresh foamy lift of citron and crème brulee to the nose. An abundance of flavors prevail upon on the palate with apple cobbler, orange zest, apricot, candied ginger and toasted almonds.  The dry and crisp finish has a tough of quince and honeydew melon that is both lively and refreshing. Austere yet elegant, the Woddenhead Natural is the essence of celebration

Posted by Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon is a freelance wine and travel writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma Magazine, The California Travel Guide, and Forbes Travel Guide. In 2017 she was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. She is the co-host of the award winning Wine Road Podcast.

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