Sparkling Wine tagged posts

Better than (Most) Champagne and Half the Price (RP92, $18.95)

May 26, 2015 90+ Bargains  No comments

gaudrelle_cremant_LRGIn the infamous words of golf commentator Gary Koch, this wine is "better than most" - most Champagne that is.

I found a little wine shop in Chicago that had this sparkler for $22.  Every time we had guests in town, I bought a couple of bottles - one to drink with the guests and one to drink without!  Every time, I was blown away by this Loire sparkling wine because it outperformed many of the recent $50 Champagne, at half the price.  Sadly, after a few months, the Chicago store sold out and I was forced to move on to less tasty sparklers. Until today...

L.A. Wine Co. has this awesome sparkler, which received 92 points from Robert Parker, for $18.95.  Buy it by the case, serve it to guests, and even those with the most sophisticated palates will assume it's Champagne, unless they

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A French Sparkler for Valentine’s Day without the Champagne Price: $9.95

February 13, 2011 Daily DrinkersSpecial Occasions  No comments

You pay a tax to drink Champagne.  Plain and simple.  The best sparkling wines come from Champagne but if you are looking for low prices they just can't be found.  I literally can't remember a Champagne for under $20 (half bottles don't count).

So if you are looking for a special sparkling wine for Valentine's Day with out the special price, look to other regions of France, Spain, Italy and 'Merica.  This Cremant, a term the French developed for sparkling wine made outside of Champagne, is from the Languedoc region in Southeastern France, where the climate is such that they can produce vintage sparkling wine every year (this one is a 2007).  See, the climate in Champagne is not conducive to grape growing, so most years the Champagne houses produce non-vintage wines which are actually a

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Schramsberg Brut Rosé Mirabelle- 93 point sparkler for under $20

December 12, 2010 Special Occasions  No comments

Schramsberg is arguably the premier sparkling wine producer in the United States, and with their Mirabelle label, they produce value priced non-vintage wine that is consistently great.  Robert Parker recently tweeted:
"excellent value in a high class rose sparkling wine?-check-out Schramsberg non-vintage Mirabelle Brut rose-about $25...damn tasty juice..."
I have to agree with Parker on all but one part of his tweet: the price.  LA Wine Co. has this wine for $18.95.  This is a perfect example of a rosé with a beautiful pink color and bright berry scents on the nose.  On the palate it's broad and full with toasty vanilla from the Chardonnay and a focused minerality with raspberry flavors from the 48% Pinot Noir component.  Speaking of Pinot, some of the red grapes were fermented with the

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2001 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée- No better sparkling deal $15.95

November 11, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End Values  No comments

I originally wrote about the 2001 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvée back in March and, at the time, I thought it was the end of the vintage.  Apparently it wasn't, because this 93 point rated Carneros sparking wine is back at LA Wine Co for the absurdly low price of $18.95.  It's almost 10 years old at this point and is drinking better than ever (I had a bottle less than a month ago).

If you like sparking wine, I implore you buy this.  It's at the top of Gloria Ferrer's impressive lineup and will be drinking well for years to come.  I still can't figure out how they get the bubbles to stay in the bottle for so long, but I'm glad they do!  Good sparkling wine can actually last for hundreds of years as proven by divers who recently recovered bottles of Veuve Clicquot from 1780.  It was drinking

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Domaine Carneros Brut 2006- Celebrate in Style for $19.95

April 25, 2010 Cellar WorthySpecial Occasions  One comment

I've been in love with this wine since I first had it last year at the winery in Carneros.  The winery itself is straight out of Champagne France and the wine follows suit.  This shouldn't come as a surprise, as it's made by Taittinger, one of the biggest Champagne houses in France.  If you can make it to Napa, spend the morning here- the surroundings are spectacular and the sparkling wine makes a perfect start to a day of wine tasting.

The Chardonnay used in this wine contributes a richness and the Pinot Noir a complexity that suggests it will age very well.  It's dry, smooth and full and really shows off the uniqueness of the Carneros appellation.  The finish has a nice tartness and a distinct taste of orange peel.  Really nice.

Sparkling wine tends to be consumed in the U.S. only

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Update: 2001 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee $18.95- Even lower price!

April 3, 2010 High End ValuesSpecial Occasions  No comments

A couple of weeks ago I posted a review of the 2001 Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee.  At the time, the lowest price in the country was $21.99 .  Well, LA Wine Company just listed it on their website for $18.95.  At that price, this aged sparkling wine is amazing and is worth buying by the case (or at least the half case).  Again, it was rated 93 points from Wine Spectator and the same from Wine Enthusiast.  It was also number 55 on Wine Enthusiast's top 100 of 2008.

2001 Gloria Ferrer Brut Royal Cuvee- LA Wine Company $18.95

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Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs- Another Great Sparkling Deal!

March 28, 2010 Daily DrinkersSpecial OccasionsWines under $10  No comments

We hosted brunch for some great friends yesterday, and since I've been on such a sparkling wine kick lately, I figured this was the perfect chance to review Gloria Ferrer's other non-vintage offering- the Blanc de Noirs.  Made from 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay, this wine pours with a hint of pink, though it isn't as pink as a typical Rose sparkling wine.

The Pinot flavors shine through, with a slightly mineral nose, along with the typical clean citrus scents of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wines.  It has a fresh taste- a bit lighter than the Brut offering- but with nice round flavors infused by the Pinot Noir grapes.  Gloria Ferrer uses 5-7% cold soaked Pinot juice in this bottling and, besides adding the pinkish color, this comes through in a slightly bitter (in a good way) finish.

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NV Gloria Ferrer Brut- WS90 for $12.95

March 20, 2010 Daily DrinkersSpecial Occasions  No comments

Every great night begins with some great bubbly and last night was no exception.  After last weekend's 2001 Gloria Ferrer 'Royal Cuvee', I decided to go for its less expensive label mate, the NV Brut.  For those new to sparkling wine, most top notch producers make vintage wine for aging and non vintage wine to be consumed within a year or two of release.  I have now tasted both versions from Gloria Ferrer and I can officially say this Gloria lady makes great, sophisticated sparkling wines that are possibly unmatched values.  Why would you ever buy grocery store Corbel when you can buy this for under $13?

The wine itself starts with nice citrus and apple on the nose but less toasty oak than the more expensive version.  This too is very dry with a light but not thin texture.  You certainly don't get any of that Welch's sweetness that comes through on many comparably priced California sparklers.  The finish is very nice- clean and tart. Textbook.

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Gloria Ferrer Brut ‘Royal Cuvee’ 2001- Great Sparkling Deal WS93

March 13, 2010 Special Occasions  4 comments

Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating a special occasion with this awesome bottle of sparkling wine from Carneros.  Gloria Ferrer is usually known for their Sonoma wines, but this vintage reserve bottling uses Napa grapes, to great effect.  Unlike many California sparklers, this wine is nuanced and very dry, much like a Champagne.  With 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay, you get some of the smokey and nutty flavors of the Pinot coming through as well.

For me, it's fun to drink vintage sparkling wine, not just because of complexity gained during the 7-8 years in the bottle, but because I like to think about all the effort that went into creating it.   If you haven't read up on the complicated process of making champagne and other sparkling wine, it's worth a read.  It will make

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