Red, Pink, & Bubbly

There’s something inherently special about a glass of sparkling wine, and all the more so if it’s toasting a romantic evening. But the magic isn’t just in the sipping: these wines almost always have an interesting story to tell about their creation, too, especially when the grapes in question aren’t white. I’ve always been especially curious about the treatment of the red grapes of Champagne—pinot noir and pinot meunier—whether quickly pressed and made into white wine or left on the skins, their pink juices mixed in later on. Although many common sparkling wines are white, I’ve been seeing more and more bottles that use red grapes, from the more traditional red pinots to indigenous varieties like grolleau. Here are some of the more interesting (and delicious!) sparkling reds and rosés I’ve come across recently, just in time for the iconic colors of Valentine’s Day. Continue reading

Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui 2007 & 2010

I’ve been holding onto a little 2007 350 ml since February 2009, never quite sure of when to pop it. In fact, I’d held onto it for so long that I’d begun to wonder if it would be any good.

Produced in the town of Acqui in the Piedmont region of Italy (DOCG), Brachetto d’Acqui is a slightly sweet sparkling red made from the Brachetto grape. It has a soft effervescence, produced by the Charmat method, where the secondary fermentation occurs in tanks just before bottling. Typically, this method is used for wines that are meant to be consumed young, hence my nervousness about having held onto it. Continue reading

Pascal Pibaleau “La Perlette” Sparkling Grolleau NV

Don’t be fooled like I was – that dark-colored bottle is clear, showing the rich, raspberry color of the wine itself. 100% Grolleau, an almost extinct deep red grape from the Loire, this red wine is classically vinified as a rosé; winemaker Pascal Pibaleau has crafted a lovely sparkling red in the frizzante (slightly fizzy) style. Continue reading

New Year’s Sparklers

Possibly one of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories is a house party in Brooklyn with dear friends, fancy outfits, even fancier food, and Champagne — in fact, a bottle of Champagne, not Prosecco or Cava or any other sparkler, was your ticket in. What started as a tasting exercise (and way to obliterate the memory of the lobster that just would not die) turned into a raucous good time in the early hours of 2010. Continue reading

François Pinon Sparkling Vouvray Brut

A sparkling wine made by the méthode traditionelle in the Loire Valley, this 100% Chenin Blanc has a pleasant, musty nose with a hint of lemon from its extended lees contact during the aging process.

The wine is medium-bodied (13% alcohol) – weighty, but the bubbles offer a delicious, refreshing bite. Rich hints of chamomile honey are cut off by its sharp, acidic finish.

An excellent pairing for creamier dishes like risotto alla milanese.

4 out of 5 stars

Imported by Louis/Dressner