The Sparkling Wine Issue

 


A handful of key regions dominate the sparkling wine scene, and with good reason. Sparklers are often reserved for special occasions and so we shy away from the unknown. But the truth is that a great number of wine regions are making sparkling wines and many of them are worth the risk. Regardless of your stance on Valentine’s Day, it’s never a bad time to sample sparkling wine from a variety of regions – both the mainstays and the niche. You may see more of them around this time of year when demand for sparkling wine spikes once again. The issue for many wine drinkers is access to these niche bottles. Don’t forget to engage your local retailers about the bottles you don’t see on their shelves. Now please join me on a trip around the globe in pursuit of superior sparkling wines.
Limoux, France

It is believed by some that Limoux (rather than Champagne) is the region where secondary fermentation in bottle was first practiced.  Limoux is much cooler than nearby regions because of the extremely high elevation of the vineyards and the influence of the Atlantic. The ability of this climate to produce refreshing wines with bright acidity has led its residents to specialize in sparkling wine.

Try:

Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut 2014


Brazil

Brazil’s biggest international export is sparkling wines of high quality, exceptional acidity, and freshness. You will find them made in both traditional and charmat methods. The staple Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are often used but you may find native varietals being used as well.

This brand is a good bet for a tasty wine to please a variety of palates.

Try:

Lidio Carraro Faces do Brasil Pinot Noir Brut Rose Brazil NV


Long Island

There are a lot of hidden wine gems on Long Island’s North Fork, and Lieb is one of them. The North Fork is surrounded by the Long Island Sound is to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, and in the middle, splitting the two forks, is the Peconic Bay. This, to me, brings notes of sea breeze to the wines that are hard to find elsewhere.

This particular wine received 90 points from Wine Advocate.

Try:

Lieb Cellars Reserve Sparkling Rose North Fork of Long Island 2015


New Zealand

There is a large contingent of New Zealand devotees in the wine world. They are attracted to the delicate, terroir-driven flavors that are truly unique to New Zealand.  The nose is usually a dead giveaway when it comes to New Zealand wines. The sparkling wines of New Zealand preserve the region’s unique aromatics. They are a great gift to those who appreciate the herbaceous quality for which these wines are well-known. I’m one of them.

Try:

McBride Sisters Collection Brut Rose Marlborough NV


South Africa

Chenin Blanc has been in France since the 9th century but calls South Africa its adopted home. While you can find great sparkling Chenin Blanc in Vouvray, South Africa provides some excellent options at a terrific value.

Try:

Saltare Brut Reserve Swartland NV


Washington

Wine drinkers still have a lot to discover about Washington State wines. Treveri is a family-owned shop that specializes in Washington sparkling wine. As Washington’s popularity continues to grow and larger outfits continue to acquire vineyards in the region, this is one to watch.

Try:

Treveri Blanc de Noirs Brut Reserve NV

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