Sparkling wines are not just for holidays and celebrations, they make a fine choice for everyday meals and pair exceptionally well with a variety of foods. Sparkling wines come in a range of sweetness levels the most popular style is Brut with less than half a gram of sugar per glass. Extra Brut and Brut Nature have even less sugar resulting in a bone-dry wine.
Here are capsule reviews of Sparkling Wines along the Wine Road.
The Amista Sparkling Tres from Morningsong Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. It shines in the glass with a bright cranberry color and a persistent stream of fine bubbles. It’s full of deep rich flavors of black cherry, blackberry, mulberry, orange zest, and cardamom spice. It’s earthy and savory with secondary notes of toffee almonds and a touch of pink peppercorn on the wonderful dry finish. Each sip brings a new layer of flavors. Pair with a spicy Jambalaya.
The Cast 2019 Sparkling Brut Rosé of Zinfandel is estate grown and exhibits a bewitching nose of lemon, grapefruit, allspice and creamy slated butter. Long strands of of bubbles stream up the glass with flavors of dried strawberry, citrus peel raspberry and brioche. Perfect level of sweetness balances out the clean dry finish. Pair with fried calamari and sriracha dipping sauce.
Otherworldly is not an exaggeration to describe this stunning 2014 Stargazing Cuvée from Iron Horse Vineyards. The label features the “cosmic cliffs” of the Carina Nebula from the James Webb Space Telescope. You’ll literally see stars in the tiny delicate bubbles as they fill the glass. Great complexity with bright and creamy flavors of lemon curd, grapefruit, toasty brioche, toffee, almonds and a hint of ginger. Lovely long lean finish with a whisper of white peach and orange blossom honey. Available in Magnum only, but hey, that’s only two bottles, and trust me, it will go fast! Pair with crab cakes.
Zesty and bright the Kenneth Carl Brut from Wilson Family Wines is primarily composed of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a small addition of Pinot Meunier that in my opinion gives it subtle lift and body. Opening notes of crisp yellow apple and apricot blend with refreshingly tart and tangy citrus. Full bodied and lush with a long creamy finish featuring lemon curd, marzipan and a hint of orange blossom honey. Balanced and bold enjoy with Oysters Rockerfeller.
The Pech Merle Brut Rosé is pale pink in color with a steady bubble stream. It shimmers in the glass and delivers juicy flavors of black cherry, cranberry raspberry, strawberry and ginger. Savory and plush mouth feel with a creamy fruity mousse, it’s pleasingly sweet and tart at once. Long dry finish with citrus peel, apple and marzipan. Pair with a spicy sausage pizza for a casual and romantic date night dinner.
The Trione Vineyards 2016 Sparkling Brut starts off with aromas of hazelnuts, Bosch pear, and vanilla. Tiny bubbles dance across the palate with citrus flavors of bright lemon, grapefruit pith and lemon curd. Plush and lush it strikes a balance between creamy and lean with toasty biscuit and zesty mandarin notes on the long dry finish. Pair with a creamy cheese and mushroom omelette.
Produced by Mounts Family Vineyard, the Verah 2014 Sparkling Wine is named in honor of Lana Mounts’ grandmother and is a tribute to the enduring bonds of family. Much like the Matryoshka doll charm that adorns the beautifully designed bottle, the Verah is full of flavors nested within each other, each sip revealing new depth. Dreamy and engaging it floats across the palate with a creamy mousse of butter, sage, brioche, apples and pears. It’s nutty and dry with a subtle touch of sweet fig on the finish. Pair with classic caviar blinis.
The Woodenhead Natural 2019 Brut is a Méthode Champenoise style single vineyard selection from the Russian River Valley. It’s bright, tart and lemony with long strands of pearlescent bubbles. Complex and layered with flavors of melon, ginger, citrus, and yellow apple. The finish is bone dry and savory with earthy notes of mushroom and briny oysters. Elegant and austere, like James Bond in a tuxedo—it’s a structured wine but without the pretension. Pair with Pomme frites and aioli.