Your favorite bubbly at < $15.01 - Printable Version

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- Tyrrell - 11-10-2003 03:24 PM

I am getting married on June sixth next year. We're inviting a goodly number of friends and family to the event so there is a good deal of related expense. Looking at our budget and our (my) priorities it seems that I'll have a budget of at most $15 per bottle to spend on a sparkler for the toast. If I get can get by cheaper I intend to put the savings in to the wine that we'll have with the meal. (I'll write a post to bend your ear on that subject when I've a got a menu nailed down.)

So which sparklers have you had at that price that you've enjoyed that most?

I'm asking now so that we have a chance to try a few before we make a decision.

- Auburnwine - 11-10-2003 03:38 PM

Others will speak authoritatively on the Spanish Cavas, but I think that the Domaine Ste. Michelle NVs are quite pleasant.

- Auburnwine - 11-10-2003 03:40 PM

Others will speak authoritatively on the Spanish Cavas, but I think that the Domaine Ste. Michelle NVs are quite pleasant.

P.S. And congratulations!

- Botafogo - 11-10-2003 06:13 PM

Prosecco without question and Toffoli or Bisol in particular. For a large, broad demographic like a wedding they bring sofisticated flavors and "chic" cachet yet are not to dry for Grandma...

- Drew - 11-11-2003 07:46 AM

Gruet sparkler from New Mexico.


- Kcwhippet - 11-11-2003 07:57 AM


What's your take on the vintage Bisol? My wife picked up some 92 and 96 Bisol brought in by Viansa.

- Tyrrell - 11-11-2003 09:24 AM

Auburnwine, could you educate an ignorant man on the meaning of NV in the statement "I think that the Domaine Ste. Michelle NVs are quite pleasant"?


- Auburnwine - 11-11-2003 09:53 AM

NV - Non-Vintage: A wine blended from more than one vintage, allowing the vintner to establish a stable house style. Many Champagnes, sparkling wines, sherries, and ports are nonvintage.

- Thomas - 11-11-2003 10:32 AM

Of course, Tyrell, you've got as many suggestions as people responding. I will cast my vote either for Cava or Prosecco; you can still get premium Cava for less than any premium sparkler, including Prosecco. Make sure the place you have the reception does not serve the sparkler in those ridiculous flat so-called "Champagne" glasses.

Auburnwine, I don't believe any sherry is vintage dated--that is intentional on their part; the way it's made. And are you still coming to NYC this weekend?

- Bucko - 11-11-2003 11:33 AM

NV Barefoot Bubbly, Brut Cuvee, California, $7. Simple and sweet, this bubbly is very drinkable. Displaying a medium bead, peach and green apple overtones delight the senses. 2.42% residual sugar; 81/84.

NV Barefoot Bubbly, Extra Dry, California, $7. Citrus and floral notes lead off, followed by light tangerine flavors. Value-priced. 3.24% residual sugar; 82/85.

NV Chandon, Blanc de Noirs, California, $17. The apricot hue of this sparkler is pleasing to the eye. Cherries, strawberries, cassis and citrus dictate the aromas and flavors. The finish is long and soft; 85/85.

NV Chandon, Brut Classic, California, $17. Light gold with a medium bead, the wine maintains a brisk mouth feel. Pears, apples, cherries, citrus and almonds all combine to make a tasty package; 86/87.

NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Blanc de Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. This sparkler is rather simple, dry (0.47% RS), and crisp, but with a nice toastiness and yellow delicious apple nuances; 84/86.

NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Cuvee Brut, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. Straw gold and presenting a large bead, this value Brut sports aromas of apples and bread dough. Straightforward and crisp, you’ll appreciate fresh figs and melons on the finish; 83/85.

NV Domaine Ste. Michelle, Extra Dry, Columbia Valley, Washington, $11. Simple, but quaffable. Relatively crisp and sweet (1.95% RS). Pear and tropical fruit flavors prevail; 83/85.

NV Freixenet, Brut de Noirs, Spain, $9. An equal mix of Garnacha and Monastrell went into this Spanish sparkler. Residual sugar of 1.5% is balanced by modest acidity. Tart cherry/berry flavors prevail across the taste spectrum; 83/85.

1999 Freixenet, Brut Nature, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Spain, $14. Here’s another value Cava for the holidays. I think that this is the first time that I have tasted pecans in a wine. Ripe apple fruit is the major player here, with bread dough noted on the finish; 84/86.

NV Freixenet, Cordon Negro Brut, Spain, $10. The #1 imported sparkling wine in the world, this cava is easy to like with its modest acidity and rounded feel. A straightforward mix of pear, peach, and citrus fruit is enhanced by toasty notes; 83/85.

NV Freixenet, Cordon Negro Extra Dry, Spain, $10. Sporting a medium bead, this cava has 2.3% residual sugar and a smooth, creamy feel to it. Ripe apple aromas morph into peach and pears flavors; 83/85.

NV Greg Norman, Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, South Australia, $16. Relatively crisp, this down under rendition gives off aromas of strawberries, citrus and cashews, followed by very ripe stone fruit flavors and caramel notes; 84/84.

NV Segura Viudas, Aria, Estate Brut, Spain, $12. Aria is a méthode champenoise sparkling wine from the Segura Viudas Estate in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Spain. Nice acidity balances the delicate sweetness (1%). Honey and almonds underscore the nose and straightforward flavors mirror the aromas; 83/85.

NV Segura Viudas, Brut Reserva, Penedès, Spain, $10. A cuvée of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, this sparkler has a medium bead, modest acidity and a dry mouth feel. Ripe apples and baked bread aromas carry over to the palate, with tangerine nuances lurking in the background; 84/86.

- Tyrrell - 11-11-2003 11:52 AM

Roberto, My retailer seemed concerned that Prosecco was too sweet for as wide a demogrphic as my wedding. Are the two that you suggested an exception to the rule (that my retailer believes) that proseccos are sweet?

- Tyrrell - 11-11-2003 11:57 AM

Also, they suggested a 100% chardinay french wine "Centenaire Brut" which they felt they could get a good price on. Not that I won't try it myself, but before I do does anyone have an oppinion abbout it?

- Auburnwine - 11-11-2003 05:25 PM

Foodie, I'll be there December 5 - 9. Just got my ticket. I'm a happy lad.

- Kcwhippet - 11-11-2003 07:56 PM

Lucky you. I'll be down in DC from 7 - 11 on business, and they want to keep going into the wee hours.

- Auburnwine - 11-11-2003 09:11 PM

I really enjoy DC, a manageable big city. It's easy to get around and there are such wonderful riches to discover. I've found some marvelous wine shops in the Virginia suburbs.

- Botafogo - 11-11-2003 11:39 PM

Unless your retailer has some true crap (it happens), he is wrong. Good prosecco has about the same balance of fruit, sweet and acidity of an Extra Dry Champagne (except it will usually taste better) and that is PRECISELY why I recommended it for your gathering: The #1 reason a lot of people think they do not like Champagne is that they were 14 years old at some wedding with a piece of angel food cake with butter creme frosting in one hand and a (bad) brut sparkler in the other and said, "Mommy, it's SOUR!"

We do hundreds of weddings a year and prosecco is our most popular item in them.

- Botafogo - 11-11-2003 11:41 PM

"What's your take on the vintage Bisol? My wife picked up some 92 and 96 Bisol brought in by Viansa."

Eleven year old Prosecco?!?!? Homey don't play that. Are you sure they are not some other type of sparkler made BY Bisol, maybe a methode champenoise Pinot Bianco or something (Loredan Gasparini does this in addition to their prosecco).

- Kcwhippet - 11-12-2003 05:53 AM

You're right, Roberto. The grapes in the 92 and 96 Bisol are Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay and Pinot Nero.

- winoweenie - 11-12-2003 07:40 AM

Congrats there Ty-Man. Hope all goes as slick as cab from my Reidel. I'll side with Roberto and Foodster. Since Boto placed the 1st box of that-there-prosecco stuff in my truck it's been the daily bubbly round the weeners' abode.WW

- Thomas - 11-12-2003 10:40 AM

Tyrell, as I tell my customers, no wine is sweet unless it is produced that way. It's like the coomon statement I hear at my shop: "Riesling is sweet." Well, some are but some aren't--only specific wines are or are not sweet, unless they are in the dessert wine class, which is supposed to be sweet.

And then, sweet in sparkling wine is an elusive concept. Brut, by far the most commonly known of the sparkling wine categories, can be as dry as .50% sugar by volume and as sweet as sugar by volume. That is a wide range, and the sweetness sensation depends on the level of acidity, plus the tightness of the bubbles.

Good Prosecco has tight, fine bubbles and is in the Brut style--certainly, it is hardly as sweet as a so-called Extra Dry Champagne, which is what most weddings opt for and which begins above 2% sugar by volume.