Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Bubbles

People don't drink enough sparkling wine. Period. It's too often saved for special occasions or mimosas, unfortunately. There is such a wide array of styles and flavors, from under $10 a bottle Cava made from indigenous Spanish grapes, to high end Grower Champagne, grown, vinified, and bottled by humble farmers with a story, and elegant Lambrusco that will put your grandmother's Riunite to shame. Given the taste profiles and high acid content in most bubbly, it's also one hell of a food wine, standing up to the fattiest of foods (potato chips, thanks WineCoMN). Try it, I dare you.

While working at a small wine shop in Milwaukee during a short stint living at home I was energized and inspired by the employee tradition of popping the cork on a bottle of bubbly every Friday afternoon. We all celebrate our little victories and forget about our downfalls from the week prior once 4:00 rolls around on Friday. What better way to do it than with a bottle of bubbly? It's a weekly 'special occasion'. Instead of your 'go to' wine, why not try something new this week? I did, and I'm greatly pleased. Cheers, and don't forget to FEELtheWINE.

Wines that inspired this post:

Jansz Premium Non-Vintage Cuvée
Tasmania, Australia
Avg. Retail: $23 USD

58% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 2% Pinot Meunier

This unique bubbly comes from the Northeast corner of Australia's little island to the South. The cool maritime climate surely adds to the acid profile of the wine. Claiming to be the first in Tasmania to craft high-quality sparkling wine in the traditional Méthode Champenoise, Jansz has aptly named their production Méthode Tasmanoise which I find hilarious. I get green apple, orangey spices, and creme brulée on the nose. The bubbles are finer than many, enhancing the unique mouth-feel, with a dry, carmely, crisp finish. Once it's warm enough to be sitting outside on a patio, the yard is in full bloom, pollen clogging your sinuses, and good friends chattering all around, I have no doubt this wine will be a surefire 'porch pounder'.

Chateau Gaudrelle Crémant de Loire
Vouvray, France
Avg. Retail: $18 USD

50% Chenin Blanc and 50% Chardonnay

Crafted in the 'Cremant de Loire' appelation by fifth generation winemaker Alexandre Monmousseau. There is a subtle, sweet roundness I presume comes from the Chenin Blanc. Chardonnay, while not necessarily signature to the region, fills out the mouth and adds some fine acidity. Absent are the bready, yeasty notes of traditional Champagne, though this wine is made in the same style and aged in bottle 18 to 24 months before disgorgement. A smoky, struck match note lingers over and over on the nose, while the wine finishes slightly off-dry. Mr. Monmousseau is part of the 'tendre-sec' (gentle dry) movement of producing slightly off-dry wines, along with notable giants as Huet and Champalou. I would pair the shit out of this wine with any fatty appetizer, and for the price, it seems like a no-brainer for high-quality, small-production bubbly.
Here's a link to a video review of the wine I found on YouTube, which I feel to be well informed.

Cheers, and Happy Week-End!