This is my fifth time hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday, our monthly virtual tasting event, but my enthusiasm has not diminished with the passage of time. In fact, since bringing back the event from hiatus it looks like the idea might be picking up some steam judging from the entires this month. While many of the bloggers are new, some of the WBW stalwarts from the past also returned.
The first post came in a week early from Dave at Toledo Wines and Vines. His choice of a Louis Bouillot Crement de Bourgogne ($18) in celebration of the New York Giants Superbowl win got the tasting off to a fine start.
Another early entry was posted by Jasmine at the Knitting 40 shades of green blog. It’s aways good to see a new perspective from outside the wine blog circle on WBW and Jasmine did not disappoint with a nice review of Barboursville Brut ($17) from Virginia.
Alleigh from A Glass After Work was the second to blog a sparkler from Gruet Winery, their non-vintage Brut ($14). From her review it looks like this will not be the last bottle from this reliable New Mexico producer.
Wine Blogging Wednesday founder Lenn Thompson from New York Cork Report was next with a review of Happy Bitch Wines “Happy Bitch” NV Rose ($12.50). This wine is a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay from the Finger Lakes region of New York with a bit of sparkle added.
Next to post was Xandria from the BrixChicks blog, the first of three there (thanks Ladies!). She selected a Jean-Louis Denois Brut “Tradition” ($15) from France’s Languedoc. From her review, this K&L exclusive seems like a no-brainer for Bay Area or online value seekers.
The first multi-bottle entry was next from Ben at Colorado Wine Press. First of the three wines tasted was Gruet Winery Brut Rosé ($15) which was preferred over the others. Next up was Trevisiol Prosecco, Extra Dry which didn’t impress. The final wine as Domaine Chandon, Brut Classic which fared better than the Prosecco but didn’t measure up to the New Mexico sparkler.
Girl Meets Glass was next with Fleuraison Blanc de Blancs ($12). Made from Spanish base wine, it is trucked north to the Languedoc where secondary fermentation and bottling takes place. The resulting wine is delicate and might be best used for sparkling wine cocktails.
Next was Bob at 2001 Bottles – A Wine Odyssey who posted a lengthy article covering the non-vintage Evans & Tate “Zamphire” ($21) from Australia and 8th Generation “Confidence” 2010 ($22.50) from Canada’s British Columbia province. While both wines used the bulk process to add the bubbles, BC’s Confidence proved the winner in the flavor department.
Liza from BrixChicks posted a review of the reliable Napa Valley sparkling wine from Mumm, their Napa Cuvee M ($18). The wine is another winner from this respected Champagne house who has been making sparkling wine in California for 26 years.
Thea from Luscious Lushes was next with a trio of sparklers from California and New Zealand. First up was Trader Joe’s non-vintage North Coast Sparkling Wine ($10) which sounded pretty nice for the price. Next she reviewed the reliable sparking standby from Roederer Estate ($17). And finally tasted Quartz Reef Method Traditionalle NV ($22) from New Zealand. Going for extra credit, Thea blogs another 3 wines in the honorable mention category from Mumm Napa ($15), Gruet ($14) and Gloria Ferrer ($16).
My post was next with another Trader Joe’s exclusive their Albero Brut Cava ($8) which I though was a good crowd pleaser for any celebration.
Posting next was Michael from Undertaking Wine with a Long Island selection, the Palmer Vineyards non-vintage Special Reserve Brut ($20). And from his review it sounds like another good option for New Yorkers.
The final post of the night was a blow-out by BrixChicks Liza and Heidi who hosted a tasting of 10 sparkling wines. The standouts where the non-vintage Gruet Blanc de Noirs ($14), non-vintage Piper Hiedsieck Champagne Brut ($15) and 2008 Taltarni “Taché” ($20) but check out their entire post for some entertaining tasting notes including aromas reminiscent of Bath and Body Works.
Posting on Wine Blogging Thursday was Gwendolyn from Wine Predator with pairings of 4 wines with various dishes. Although all the wines seemed to work with their dishes, the Trader Joe’s Blason du Bourgogne Brut Rose, Cremant de Bourgogne ($12) seemed like best wine of the quartet.
So that concludes the seventy-fourth edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Overall, 18 bloggers tasted 38 wines from 8 countries. With only a few repeats there are over 30 solid choices for everyday sparkling wine.
Next month look for Joe from 1WineDude to take Wine Blogging Wednesday in a totally different direction which he will announce early next week.
WBW 74 by the numbers
Wines Tasted: 38
Countries Represented: 8
Least Expensive: $8 – Albero Brut Cava
Most Expensive: $22.50 – 8th Generation “Confidence” 2010
One of the wine trends from 2011 is the rise of Champagne with American consumers up over 20% from 2010. Another trend was Moscato coming out of nowhere to become nearly an overnight success. This could be in part due to the charms of the lightly sparkling frizzante made from this grape in Italy.
Sparkling wine is one of the most versatile at the table with styles to pair with nearly every dish. From bone dry to sweet, single variety to blend, sparkling wine is something we should all drink more of. And it’s made all over the world using the classic process perfected in Champagne. In Germany it is known as Sekt, Spain calls it Cava, in Portugal it goes by Espumante, and in Italy Spumante covers a lot of ground. But great sparkling wine is also made in the New World with world class wines coming from California, New Mexico and Australia. I even hear some very nice sparkling wine is being made these days in England, the country who started the style back some 400 years ago.
So the theme of Wine Blogging Wednesday 74 is Value Sparkling Wine.
Just pick a sparkling wine from any appellation, made from any grape but make sure it sells for $25 or less a bottle (€20, £16). This should open up a lot of interesting selections, from Crémant de Bourgogne, to Cava, to California & New Mexico sparkling, sparkling Shiraz, to even well chosen grower Champagne. Just post your notes by February 15th and ping me @winecast on Twitter or email me with your link at winecast (at) gmail (dot) com. I’m hoping we can once again circle the virtual wagons and taste some great bubbly.