Champagnes & Sparkling Wines for the Holidays: The Best of 2018

Champagne and sparkling wines are especially popular during the Holidays. Families and friends toast their friendship and welcome the new year with the bubbles that convey a sense of celebration and joy.  To help guide your purchases of Champagne and sparkling wine this holiday season, we provide the following evaluations of the highest quality and best values ones we tasted in 2018.

We tasted a lot of French Champagne and sparkling wine from all over the world over the past year. The best ones are listed below along with reviews, organized alphabetically by country. Some of these wines were reviewed in the reports and blog articles we published over the year. Others are reviewed here for the first time. They cover a wide range of prices and are made from a large number of grape varieties.  When known, suggested retail prices are listed.

THE AMERICAS

US

Analemma 2013 Atavus Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Columbia Gorge ($59) 92 Alluring gold tinged blush color. Light toast and cherry skin notes on the nose. Delicate and complex with notes of cherry, peach, and a hint of brioche on the palate. Beautifully textured, fresh, and bright with excellent balancing acidity. 100% Pinot Noir aged sur lie for 40 months, disgorged August 2017. Planted in the 1960s by Charles Henderson and Dr. Walter j. Clore, the Atavus Vineyard is dry farmed. Even better than the 2012 vintage we tasted last year!

Eola Hills 2015 Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley ($30) 90  Light pink with a yeasty nose and yeasty palate with nice pure red cherry notes. Fine mousse with flavors of raspberry and slightly bitter cherry skin. Very dry. Lingering pomegranate, biscuit and raspberry notes and some dark fruit flavors. Made methode champenoise; Only 400 cases produced.

Fox Run 2013 Blanc de Blancs Finger Lakes ($30) 91 Made from Chardonnay fruit grown on a vineyard block planted 1984, the base wine is whole cluster pressed with only the first fraction used for the wine, fermented in used oak barrels, and aged 3 years on the lees. The wine is outstanding with bright lemony acidity and aromas and flavors of brioche and understated fruit.

Glenora 2014 Blanc de Blancs Finger Lakes ($30) 89 Quince and leesy notes show on the nose of this sparkler and carry over to a fresh palate with the addition of sappy green apple flavors. Three years on the lees contribute a light brioche note. Glenora 2013 Brut Finger Lakes ($30) 90 Light yellow straw. Showing a rich, yeasty nose, the Brut shows an elegant mousse and a creamy palate of ripe orchard fruit. A blend of 76% Pinot Noir and 24% Chardonnay that spent 4 years on the lees. Best of Class in the 2018 Atlantic Seaboard competition.

Herman J. Wiemer 2013 Cuvée Brut Seneca Lake ($37) 93 Lively precise aromas of Meyer lemon and freshly baked bread are mirrored on an energetic, focused palate. There’s a strong mineral component that contributes to its striking purity. Finishes rich and long with excellent clarity. A blend of 65% Chardonnay and 35% Pinot Noir aged sur lies for 48 months and disgorged August 2018.4 g/L dosage.

J Vineyards and Winery NV Brut Rosé Russian River Valley 91 The J nonvintage Brut Rosé is a delicious blend of 61% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 4% Pinot Meunier. Gently whole bunch pressed using a Coquard press, it is aged en triage for about 24 months. Highly aromatic of red cherry, it reveals excellent concentration on the palate with a creamy texture and good persistence.

Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2013 Brut Rosé Finger Lakes ($35) 91 A blend of 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier made using the méthode champenoise with 8 g/L RS. Yeasty nose, with a hint of sweetness and Champagne like aromas. Very nice. Pure flavors of red cherry with rose petal nuances on a lightly creamy palate with good persistence on the finish. Very well done sparkler by Eric Bauman.Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars 2012 Blanc de Blancs Finger Lakes ($30) 91 Incisive, mineral accented aromas. Beautiful dry and focused palate of subtle orchard fruit with good mid-palate depth, a creamy mouth feel, and tangy acidity. Finishes with noteworthy clarity. 100% Chardonnay on the lees for 4 years. 8 g/L RS. Disgorged December 2016.

Lamoreaux Landing 2009 Brut Finger Lakes ($36) 91 Highly fragrant bouquet of toasted brioche and orchard fruit is picked up on a palate that’s bursting with personality. Very clean, brisk and pure, especially given the age. On the lees until March 2018, almost 9 years. A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. Great value!

Mumm Napa NV Brut Reserve Rosé Napa 91 Showing its California roots, the Brut Reserve Rosé offers generous fruit both on the nose and palate. Sweet red berries combine with shortbread and spice to deliver full flavor in the mouth. A creamy texture and persistent finish make this a most satisfying, fruit rich, California sparkler. Spends 3 years en triage with 20% of the base wine aged in French oak.

Old Westminster 2017 Pét-Nat Grüner Veltliner Maryland 90 Old Westminster makes several sparkling wines using the méthode ancestrale and the Grüner is our favorite. It shows notes of yellow peach and Meyer lemon on the nose and white stone fruit, white pepper, and cucumber on the palate. There’s good typicity and excellent freshness, just what one wants in a fun, lightly effervescent wine. Neither fined or filtered. The fruit comes from their Cool Ridge Vineyard.

Roederer Estate NV Brut Rosé Anderson Valley ($29) 91 Medium salmon pink. The NV Roederer Estate consistently offers real drinking pleasure at a modest price. The current release offers more of the same, beautiful red berry and cherry with light yeasty notes and a creamy soft mouth feel. Very well done, especially for the price! Only the cuvée (first pressing of 120 gallons/ton) of 56% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay from estate grown grapes is used. No malo. Oak aged reserve wines make up 10-20% of the cuvée. Aged minimum of 2 years on the lees. 11 g/l RS Roederer Estate 2009 L’Ermitage Rosé Anderson Valley ($65) 93 Salmon pink. A stunningly pure and elegant sparkling wine that combines flavorful California fruit with the refinement of Champagne. Bold bouquet of dried and fresh cherries and freshly baked baguette. Creamy and vibrant in the mouth and very long on the finish. Juice from only the first pressing; a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the very best lots of Roederer’s 580 acres of vineyards. Made using a small fraction of red Pinot Noir. 7 years on the lees. 10 g/l RS. 12.4 alc.

Soter Vineyards 2013 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé Yamhill-Carlton ($65) 93 Luminous pale salmon pink. An elegant and charming sparkling rosé that spends four years on the lees. It shows a very attractive red cherry purity that begins on the nose, carries over to a creamy palate, and ends on a long, lingering finish. Absolutely beautiful! 89% Pinot Noir and 11% Chardonnay. The base wine is fermented and aged in barrel for 8 months. Disgorged Spring 2017. 4.3 g/L RS

Villa Bellangelo 2017 Sparkling Gewürztraminer Seneca Lake ($25) 89 Medium yellow straw. Ripe yellow stone fruit and green mango provide a graceful introduction to this very richly flavored and very dry sparkler. The palate recalls tropical pineapple and ripe peach. The fruit was picked at full ripeness, but there’s still enough acidity to balance this full flavored wine. No dosage. Recently disgorged. Would be a great partner for Thanksgiving.

William Heritage 2015 Brut Rosé Outer Coastal Plain ($40) 91 A very dry and refined sparkling rosé with fresh red berries and toasty lees notes and a fine mousse. Richly flavored with a lingering rich impression of raspberries and scones, this is a first class New World sparkling wine. A blend of 57% Chardonnay and 43% Pinot Noir.

Argentina

Bodegas Bressia 2016 Sylvestra Brut Nature Rosé Mendoza ($36) 90  Light salmon bronze.  A vivacious, sparkly wine with reticent aromas of dried cherry and raspberry that mount in intensity on the palate. Finishes dry and chalky with excellent persistence. Made of 100% Pinot Noir from 25 year old vines, fermented in the bottle, and aged on the lees for 10 months.

Chakana NA Ayni Nature Rosé Sparkling Wine ($33) 91 Light salmon pink. Aromatically effusive of orchard fresh red cherries.  Bright and lively on the attack, this is a sparkling wine that offers good depth of red cherry seamlessly integrated with freshly baked bread notes. Pure with good finesse, this is a wine with enough substance to pair with red meats. 100% Pinot Noir from 10 year old vines in the Ayni vineyard in the Paraje Altamira in the Uco Valley; aged 18 months on the lees.

Santa Julia NV Brut Rosé Mendoza ($15) 87  Pale salmon pink. This is a softly textured, easy to drink sparkling wine showing sweet red berries on a leesy palate. It offers straightforward drinking fun. 100% Pinot Noir from Tupungato made using the Charmat method; 10 g/L RS Santa Julia is a brand from the Familia Zuccardi winery. US Importer: Winesellers

Canada

Benjamin Bridge 2013 Methode Classique Rosé Gaspereau Valley ($45) 92   Oeil de Perdrix. Scents of dried cherry and rose petal. Beautifully elegant, creamy texture with a fine mousse and very fresh, bright flavors. On the finish, there’s a biscuit note along with persistent red cherry notes. Outstanding wine and outstanding value. A blend of 66% Pinot Noir, 23% Pinot Meunier, and 11% Chardonnay from the estate’s 85 acre vineyard, aged 3 years on the lees. Alc 11.5% RS 10.5 g/L Quebec-born Jean-Benoit Deslauriers is the chef de caves. www.benjaminbridge.com
 

EUROPE

Austria

Bründlmayer 2014 Brut Niederösterreich 91 Yellow straw. Showing yeasty, fresh baguette on the nose and roasted nut and brioche notes on the palate, A rich and beautifully integrated sparkler, delicious and beautifully balanced. Delicious but not nearly as good as the 2010 that has even more time on the lees. Bründlmayer 2010 Brut Niederösterreich  94 Medium yellow gold. A first rate Austrian sekt that compares with the best sparkling wines (including Champagne). Very precise nose with touches of hazelnut and butterscotch. Big, full and round on the palate with great acidity and leesy notes.  Bründlmayer NV Brut Reserve Niederösterreich ($45) 92 The Brut Reserve is bright and light, showing pear and yeasty notes on the nose and palate. Precise and rich on the palate. A blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Grüner Veltliner aged 2 years on the lees with 6.8 g/L RS. The base wine was aged in all stainless steel. Just 11.5% alc. Bründlmayer NV Extra Brut Reserve Niederösterreich ($45) 93 Medium yellow straw. An elegant 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and pinot Noir showing yellow flowers and biscuit on the nose. Very refined, deeply flavored palate with bright acidity. Disgorged January 2018 with 30 months on the lees; mostly from the 2015 vintage with the base wine aged 50% in 300L casks and 50% in stainless steel. RS 3 g/L  Bründlmayer NV Brut Rosé Niederösterreich  91 A very flavorful and balanced sparkling rosé made of 1/3 each Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and St Laurent fermented in stainless steel and aged 15 months on the lees in bottle. Medium copper salmon in color, the wine reveals leesy notes on the nose and notes of blood orange and raspberry flavors. There’s very good sugar-acid tension. Disgorged December 2017. Just 11.5% alc.  US Importer: Skurnik

Malat 2013 Brut Kremstal g.U.  ($52) 91   Ripe orchard fruit provides a graceful introduction to this nicely balanced , refined sekt. The ripe apple palate has a nice spicy quality and a soft, creamy texture. Finishes bright and long. A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir from Furth-Palt with 36 months on the lees, no dosage, 1.8 g/L RS, and 12.5% alc. Malat 2013 Brut Rosé Kremstal g.U.  ($52) 91The Brut Rosé has lively precise aromas of red berry fruit that are mirrored on a dry, focused palate with lingering mineral and berry notes on the finish. It’s a nicely delineated sparkling wine that provides serious drinking pleasure. Sourced from the village of Furth-Palt, located on the southern border of the Danube. Made of 100% Pinot Noir, 25-40 years of age, with no dosage, 36 months on the lees, 1.5 g/L RS, and 12% alc  US Importer: Circo Vino, The Source

Schlumberger 2012 Blanc de Noirs Reserve Niederösterreich  90 One of our favorite Schluberger sparkling wines, this Pinot Noir based wine has a fresh nose and lovely creamy mouth feel. The palate shows light red berry and cherry complemented by toasty lees notes. Schlumberger 2015 Pinot Noir Reserve Niederösterreich 90 Pale eye of the partridge. This is a fresh tasting sparkler that spends at least 30 months on the lees. It’s fresh and creamy with hints of red berries, bright acidity, and with a clean finish. Schlumberger 2012 Prestige Cuvée  91Our favorite of the Schlumberger sparklers, this Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend spends 4.5 years on the lees. It’s very creamy with hints of bread dough and with a nice fine, elegant mousse.  US Importer: Niche

Steininger 2015 Riesling Reserve Sekt Kamptal  91 A minimum of 2 years in bottle on the lees give the Riesling sekt complex yeasty aromas and flavors that booming with citrus and green apple to produce a very fresh and appealing wine. This is our favorite of the regular sekt bottlings by Steininger. It’s pure and spritzy with clean mineral notes on the finish. Steininger 2013 Riesling Vom Heiligenstein Sekt Kamptal  92 The Heiligenstein Sekt is one of Austria’s best sparkling wines. The base wine spends 1 year in acacia casks. The bottle we tasted was disgorged {disgorgement date is on the label!} in October 2017, so it has 36 months in bottle on the lees. It’s an elegant sekt with light yeast and orchard fruit showing on the nose, a delicate mousse in glass, and hints of ripe apricot and roasted nuts on a muscular body. This rich and delicious sekt is a food wine; pair it as you would an aged Riesling. RS 3.5 g/L 13.5% alc. US Importer: KW Selections

Szigeti 2011 Grüner Veltliner Brut Osterreisch Sekt  92 Made from selected vineyard parcels with 5+ years on the lees, this wine reveals the potential for making outstanding sparkling wine from Grüner Veltliner. It shows overall finesse and noteworthy complexity with lively precise aromas and flavors of lychee, stonefruit, orange rind, and toasty lees. Szigeti 2012 Gustav Klimt “Adele” Blanc de Blancs Brut Neusiedlersee Burgenland ($25) 91 This 100% Chardonnay sparkler was disgorged in August 2016, having spent 4+ years on the lees. It shows fresh, rich pear and melon fruit on the nose and has a creamy mouth feel, finishing with a crisp edge. A lovely wine, especially for the price. Szigeti 2013 Riesling Brut Spitzer Graben-Spitz  90 This sparkling Riesling offers bright, intense stonefruit on the nose and palate with notable acidity and depth of flavor. Spends 3 years on the lees, but rich fruit dominates.  US Importer: Craft+Estate/Winebow

Bulgaria

Edoardo Miroglio 2011 EM Brut Nova Zagora, Thracian Valley 92  Scents of apple, poached pear and citrus peel provide a graceful introduction to this finely textured and vibrant sparkling wine. There’s good depth of flavor with pronounced biscuit and toasty lees notes that linger on the finish. 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from 15 year old vines. Made methode champenoise and disgorged November 2017 with almost six years on the lees.  Edoardo Miroglio 2013 EM Brut Rosé Nova Zagora, Thracian Valley 91 Medium copper salmon. Highly fragrant bouquet of fresh red berries, orange zest and a touch of fennel that carries over to a zesty palate with additional hints of dried flowers and biscuit. 100% Pinot Noir from 16 year old vines. This excellent Brut Rosé has a minimum of 24 months on the lees; this bottle was disgorged January 2018 with over 4 years on the lees. 8 g/l RS US Importer: Kristova Family Partners

France: Champagne

Boizel NV Rosé Champagne ($60) 90 Salmon pink. Showing light red berry aromas complemented by citrus notes, the Boizel Rosé is creamy and fruit rich. The aromas are mirrored on a focused palate with additional cranberry and spicy orange zest notes. Finishes long with an attractive mineral edge. A blend of 50% Pinot Noir (8% red wine), 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay aged a minimum of 3 years on the lees. 8 g/l RS.   Importer: Palm Bay Imports Syosset, NY

Bruno Paillard NV Extra Brut Première Cuvée ($50) 92  Revealing citrus and pear tart on the nose, the Extra Brut Première Cuvée reveals shortbread, minerals, and floral notes on a refined palate. It’s a wine of considerable finesse and precision. A blend of 22% Pinot Meunier, 33% Chardonnay, and 45% Pinot Noir from 32 different villages, all vinified separately, with up to 48% reserve wine and  a minimum of 3 years on the lees; disgorged September 2017. 5 g/L RS  Bruno Paillard NV Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs  Grand Cru ($70) 92  Opening with notes of lemon pith, quince and toasted grain, the   Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is a delicate but lively wine with very fine bubbles, high toned flavors of citrus and lightly toasted nuts, and a lingering, ethereal finish. Sourced from Grands Crus vineyards on the Côte des Blancs with a minimum of 4 years on the lees; disgorged October 2016. 5 g/L dosage.Bruno Paillard NV Extra Brut Rosé Première Cuvée Champagne ($70) 93   Disgorged in 2017, the delicately colored Extra Brut is an outstanding example of rosé Champagne. It shows flowers and blood orange citrus accented by light yeasty notes. A wine of superb finesse and balance, the Bruno Paillard Extra Brut Rosé is a blend of 25 reserve wines going back to 1985. Spends a minimum of 3 years sur lie, RS < 6 g/L   Importer: Verity Wine Partners

Canard-Duchêne NV Authentic Rosé Champagne ($50) 91+  Pale pink with a copper tinge, this elegant Brut Rosé offers an effusive perfume of rose petals, red berries and tangerine zest that reappear on the super fresh, beautifully flavored palate. A blend of 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier, and 25% Chardonnay with 3+ years on the lees. Importer: Thiènot

Charles Heidsieck 2006 Millésime Vintage Rosé Champagne ($150) 93    Copper salmon. The Pinot character comes through on this very appealing vintage Champagne sourced from the Montagne de Reims with a small amount from Les Riceys in the Aube. Lively, incisive aromas of cherry skin and red berries provide an energetic introduction to this high toned palate with a cherry-accented, inner mouth perfume.

Duval-Leroy NV Rosé Prestige Champagne ($80) 91  Pale salmon. A lively, fragrant bouquet of fresh red berries and currants. The palate is light and vibrant with delicate bubbles and flavorful notes of strawberries and cream accented by citrus zest. A blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. 10 g/L RS  Importer: Terlato Wines

Piper Heidsieck NV Rosé Sauvage Champagne ($60) 91 This blend of Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay opens with richly fruited red berry scents. It’s juicy and full on a very dry, structured palate with slightly tart, red plum and black cherry notes. A high proportion (25%) of red wine gives this rosé a substantial, vinous quality that allows it to be paired with meaty faire.  Importer: Remy Cointreau

Roland Championà Chouilly 2012 Brut Blanc de Blancs Carte Noire Grand Cru  ($66) 92  Showing scents of freshly baked bread and pear on the nose, the 2012 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs offers a refined mouth feel and complex, integrated flavors of pear, lemon and toasty lees. There’s excellent acidic cut on the finish. Aged 6 years on the lees. Roland Champion à Chouilly 2011 Special Club Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru ($80) 93This Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs offers a complex mélange of pear and apple with touches of lime citrus and pastry. It’s broad and rich on the palate with emphatic chalky mineral notes that persist on a long, flavorful finish. Spends a minimum of 5 years on the lees.  Importer: Kysela

Serge Mathieu NV Brut Rosé Champagne ($55) 91  Bright salmon pink color. Shows notes of ripe red berries and orange zest with a complicating savory, earth note. Its wine like palate offers concentrated flavors that mirror the bouquet and linger on the finish. Serve this Champagne with rare duck breast. 90% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay with 3 years on the lees and 9.5 g/l RS.

Taittinger 2006 Comtes de Champagne Rosé Grand Cru Champagne ($262) 96 Opening with perfumed scents of freshly picked, tangy red fruits, this is one of the most prestigious of the vintage rosé Champagnes. It reveals a deeply flavored, energetic and full-bodied palate of cranberry, Montmorency cherry, and nuanced secondary flavors. Closes with outstanding persistence and clarity. Drinking beautifully now. A blend of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Bouzy Pinot Noir.   Importer: Kobrand Corporation Purchase, NY

France:  Sparkling

 Alexandre Monmousseau NV Vigneau Vouvray Sparkling Brut Val de Loire ($19)89 Pale yellow straw. Reticent nose of stone fruit and apple.  Fine, soft mousse with a lightly effervescent palate that lifts the flavors, delivering a very approachable, refreshing wine with lovely fresh cling peach flavors, finishing clean and long. A lovely, easy to drink sparkler that can be drunk by itself or used as a mixer.   100% Chenin Blanc grown on calcareous clay soils and aged on the lees for 4 months. Importer: Kysela

Bouvet NV Tresor Rosé Brut Saumur AOC ($22) 90  Pink coral. Clean aromas of red apple and cinnamon and a hint of pie crust. Lovely creamy mouth feel with red fruit and biscuit notes. A huge step up from the Rosé Excellence. Made of all Cabernet Franc with the juice fermented in new oak in the winery followed by 6 months maturation in barrique (15% new). Founded in 1851 by Etienne Bouvet, Bouvet-Ladubay is the second oldest sparkling wine–producing house in Saumur.   Importer: Kobrand Corporation

Cave Carod Freres NV Tradition Clairette de Die Méthode Ancestrale  ($18 ) 88   Pale platinum color. Bright, fresh leesy apple and pear aromas. Medium sweet on a bright palate with light apple cider and citrus flavors, finishing clean. A 75/25 blend of Muscat Petits Grains and Clairette made the ancestral method where the wine is fermented in bottle and disgorged with some residual sugar and low alcohol.  The town of Die is located in the eastern Rhone Valley. Importer: Kysela

Charles Duret NV Brut Crémant de Bourgogne ($20) 90A blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay made the traditional method and aged on the lees for 9 months, the Charles Duret Crémant de Bourgogne offers a nose of pastry and orchard fruit that are mirrored on the palate with the addition of some toasty lees. It’s full in the mouth, fresh and a touch steely in character, and finishes with good length and lingering fresh flavors. Importer: Kysela

Domaine Chavy-Chouet NV Blanc de Blancs Brut Crémant de Bourgogne ($40) 91  Pale yellow. Shows aromas of cooked apple with citrus notes. Clean and crisp on the attack, it’s full in the mouth with good freshness and effervescence on a refined, mineral driven palate. Dry but long on the finish with lingering hints of apple and oyster shells.   Made from 7 year old Chardonnay grapes grown in Puligny-Montrachet and aged 18 months in barrel. This family winery is now in its 7thgeneration.  Importer: Kysela

Prosper Maufoux NV Brut Crémant de Bourgogne ($26) 90 Medium light pink. Showing pomegranate and raspberry aromas, this Crémant offers a full bodied and full flavored palate with light red cherry and berry flavors married to brisk acidity. Very pleasant to sip or have with food. From Pinot Noir grown in the village of Santenay in the Côte de Beaune. Importer: Winesellers.

Wolfberger NV Brut Crémant d’Alsace ($23) 91  Made the traditional method, this 90/10 blend of Pinot Blanc and Pinot Auxerrois from the Alsace with a minimum of 12 months on the lees. Showing apple and shortbread on the nose, this Crémant has a lovely creamy, textured mouth feel and firm acidity that combine to offer unusual drinking pleasure in a wine of this price. If you’re trying to decide whether to buy a Prosecco or spend a few more dollars for this wine, I’d say go for it! Importer: Kysela

Germany

Hansen-Lauer 2014 Riesling Brut Sekt Mosel ($25) 91     Brilliant light yellow straw. Vibrant and effusive aromas of ripe stone fruit with lime accents.  Ripe fruit also shows on a full flavored, round and softly textured palate. Richly fruity without any residual sweetness. Well done! Aged 12 months on the lees. Importer: Kysela

Italy

Bartenura NV Sparkling Moscato Spumante Dolce ($20) 90Pale green tinged straw. Reticent nose showing hints of pear and rose petal. The palate is clean with flavors of white melon, pear, and lychee. Lovely, creamy mousse and appealing soft mouth feel. Well done! Certified Mevushal.  Bartenura NV Rosé Sparkling Moscato Spumante Dolce ($20) 88  Pale pink.ripe strawberries and a hint of triple sec show on the nose. This sweet sparkler has a creamy palate with flavors redolent of scones with clotted cream and strawberries.  Quite sweet by itself, it’s better paired with a creamy white cheese. Named in honor of Ovadia ben Abraham of Tertinoro, a 15thcentury rabbi and commentator on the Mishnah, who was commonly known as The Bartenura. Certified Mevushal.  Bartenura NV Prosecco Brut  ($20) 90 Pale straw. Fresh, reticent nose of citrus and fresh herbs. Has an attractive, creamy mouth feel with light pear and melon flavors, finishing crisp and clean with a lingering finish. Excellent Prosseco!  Certified Mevushal. US Importer: Royal Wine Corp

Murgo 2014 Brut Rosé Metodo Classico Siciliy ($26) 91 Murgo bottled their first sparkling Brut in 1990. Made from Etna Nerello Mascalase that macerates on the skins for 24 hours before pressing, this champenoise methode wine spend about 24+ months on the lees. It offers a reticent red berry nose, a light tart attack, and a subtly flavored, precisely focused, and mineral rich palate that finishes with a surprisingly rich and long cherry skin flavored finish. Importer: William Skurnik

Onepio 2017 Bardolino Chiaretto Spumante Brut ($21) 89  Frothy light pink. The nose is redolent of crushed red berries with the zest of mandarin. Light on the palate with ripe red fruit flavors, a creamy texture, and good balancing acidity. Finishes clean.  A blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara aged on the lees for 4 months Charmat method. Importer: Kysela

Rebuli NV In Fondo Prosecco Frizzante  90  Showing orchard fruit aromas, this wine offers exuberant fruit with light lemon and herbal notes.  It offers bright acidity and finishes complete dry.  One of the best Pet-Nats we’ve had this year. Made of 95% Glera, this is a sparkling wine made the ancestrale method where the wine is bottled before the end of fermentation, resulting in dissolved carbon dioxide that lends a light sparkling quality to the wine. Importer: Kysela

Rinaldi NV Joyful Vino Spumante Extra Dry ($17) 88   Pale in color, Joyful offers reticent scents of pears and apples. It has a nice, creamy mouth feel and light orchard fruit flavors. Finishes on the dry side despite 14 g/L RS. Pleasant by itself but would also be a good mixer. A blend of 85% Barbera, 10% Cortese, and 5% Moscato from Italy’s Piedmont region. Importer: Kysela

Spain

Masachs Mas Fi Brut Rosé Cava Penedés  ($  ) 89  Pale salmon pink.Made using the traditional method this Brut Rosé is aged 11 months after secondary fermentation in bottle. It offers red strawberry and cranberry with a hint of tangerine on a softly textured palate and finishes chalky dry with lingering red berry flavors. Sourced from 30 year old Trepat vines. Alc 11.5%  RS 9 g/L  Importer: Winesellers

Mestres 2015 Cupage Rosé Reserva Especial Cava ($30) 91 Copper orange tinted red. A lovely Cava that highlights the Trepat grape. It has a bright, fresh nose, a fine mousse, and a creamy palate showing pomegranate, red plum and cherry flavors. Densely flavored and wine-like in its weight, this is a Cava that calls out for food. 50% Trepat, 30% Monastrell and 20% Pinot Noir aged 30+ months on the lees. RS < 6 g/l Alc 12% Importer: Think Global LLC

Naveran 2015 Brut Vintage Rosé Cava Alt Penedes ($16) 88 Medium red with a copper orange tinge. Spicy orange and red fruit show on the nose and are mirrored on a dry, very flavorful palate. It’s a robust, rustic Cava that needs food to show its best. A good candidate for the Thanksgiving meal. 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Parellada on the lees for 18 months.  Importer: Ole Imports

Raventos i Blanc 2015 De La Finca Vinya del Fossils Conca del Riu Anoia ($45) 92  De La Finca is an elegant sparkling wine. It shows toasted nuts and lees on the nose and has creamy mouth feel that’s complex and rich. Finishes with superb flavor and length. A blend of Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada aged on the lees a minimum of 30 months.  Raventos i Blanc 2016 Blanc de Blancs Conca del Riu Anoia ($20) 91  Showing a yeast and light apple scents, the Blanc de Blancs is a lively, full bodied sparkler. It’s elegant and dry in texture with light toast notes on the palate. 50% Xarel-lo, 16% Macabeu, and 34% Parellada aged a minimum of 18 months sur lieswith no dosage. Raventos i Blanc 2016 De Nit Rosé Conca del Riu Anoia ($25) 91  Light salmon pink. A blend of 42% Macabeu, 37% Xarel-lo, 14% Parellada and 7% Monastrell that spends 18+ months on the lees, this is a chalky dry sparkling rosé.  Red berries with hints of dried cherry and tangerine zest show on a vivacious palate. US Importer: Skurnik

South Africa

Tanzanite NV Melanie Brut Cap Classique Robertson ($36) 90    This is a richly flavored sparkler showing complex notes of brioche, apple, and a hint of clementine. It’s bone dry on the finish with lingering toasty lees notes. A blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir aged 24+ months on the lees. The winemaker is Stellenbosch enology grad Melanie van der Merwe who made sparkling wine for 11 years at Distell before starting her own brand. Tanzanite NV Melanie Brut Rosé Cap Classique Robertson ($36) 91Pale pink. Ripe red berries accented by Cointreau show on the nose of this very dry and crisply textured sparkling rosé. It’s mineral and subtly fruit flavored palate is superbly fresh and alluring despite an astringent touch on the finish. It’s a great sparkler for food. A 60/40 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 10-15 year old vines in the Robertson area. US Importer: Kysela

 

 

 

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