Resolutions, Chapter 2
Unlike the 24% of Americans who always fail at keeping their resoultions, I’m still going strong on my sparkling wine commitment for 2015. That means February brought more than Valentine’s day, Daffodils, and springtime weather to Northern California–because it also brought the bubbly I sipped each week from across the Western Hemisphere.
First up was a flirty number, Fizz 56 Sparkling Red. This berry-hued sparkler is an Italian classic from the country’s chilly Piedmont region. Brachetto, or more formally Brachetto d’Acqui, can be either still or sparkling, though as the name suggests, “Fizz” 56 is of the sparkling variety. Inherently sweet and seductively aromatic, Brachetto makes a great dessert substitute or aperitif wine, or you can use the candied juice in cocktails tempered by bitter liqueurs like Campari (or straight vodka). Luscious, ripe strawberry and citrus aromas lead into a palate dominated by blood orange and jammy red raspberry. This was a melt-in-your-mouth bottle–and a perfect pairing for Kettle Corn–but definitely not for those who like a dry sparkler.
For the mid-month love celebration, Fleury Fleur de l’Europe Champagne was the choice in my house. You can’t beat a classic, and this sparkler comes in at $35–making it a great value for true Champagne. A rich golden in color, this ambrosia must be what the gods drink for breakfast. Tons of golden apple flavors dominated the rich, smooth wine, accented by white flowers and just a hint of chalky minerality. Dear God, it is good. (It also doesn’t hurt to pair it with Foie Gras or anyting else decandent. If you’re not going Big…Go Home.)
Lastly, an all-natural sparkler from California’s Onward Wines. Natural sparkling, known affectionately by hipsters everywhere as “Pet-Nat” undergoes an ancient process to become sparkling–winemakers simply bottle the stuff before it’s finished fermenting, capturing bubbles that otherwise go into the air as sugar turns into alcohol. The simplicity of the process is a challenge, however, because it often leads to extreme bottle variation. This Pinot Noir sparkler from Anderson Valley tasted like Fresca–refreshing and grapefruit-laden–but smelled a little funky. Not surprisingly, a little funk didn’t turn me off at all–the bottle was finished in less than an hour.
Cheers to March!
More Sparkling Uncorked:
Laura Loves: Sparkling wine cocktails–there’s no better way to jazz up a beverage than by adding other spirits (ahem, vodka) or apertifs like Lillet, Campari or St. Germain.
That although wildly different, all three wines featured here cost within $10 of eachother–variety and value!
Fun Facts: The U.S. wine market grew a miniscule .3% in 2014, but sparkling wines were up 3% and accounted for the most growth, thanks mostly to inexpensive foreign bubbly like Prosecco.
Wine tats for all!
Sparkling wine corks will fly from the bottle at speeds up to 45 mph.
Up The Ante Cocktail Recipe:
1/2 oz. Suze
1 oz. White Rum (Something nice, you deserve it)
4 oz. Fizz 56 Brachetto
Combine Suze and rum in a Champagne flute. Top with Brachetto. Garnish with orange zest or a lemon twist. If too bitter, add more Fizz 56 to taste.