CV, the Wine Guy, talks Bubbles
So, everybody knows champagne, and that you can only get real Champagne from the Champagne region of France. But, there are our friends who make fine sparkling wines that follow the strict guidelines of a true Methode Champenoise and are (much) more affordable than true Champagne. Methode Champenoise is the labor-intensive and costly process of a secondary fermentation inside the bottle, which creates bubbles. All Champagne and most high-quality sparkling wine are made by this process.
Sparkling wine isn’t just the beverage you have on New Year’s Eve. Sparkling wine goes quite well with a lot of food. It’s fun and delicious, and lower in alcohol than most still wines. There’s a very famous quote, “A meal without wine is breakfast.” That’s true, but maybe with the exception of sparkling wine. I think bubbles are an excellent way to start your day. Especially if you’re celebrating.
Of course, there’s mimosa (sparkling wine and orange juice), and you can mix sparkling wine with a lot of different juices for a slightly effervescent, slightly alcoholic beverage to get the party rolling. Or, enjoy it on its own, of course! CV enjoys sparkling wine as a cocktail, as a toast, or as an aperitif prior to a meal.
Just like with any bottle of wine, a bottle of sparkling wine is crafted with a specific blending process. A winemaker is like a painter — they have a palette that they are mixing to get a specific flavor profile. The three sparkling wines below are all well-recognized, well made bottles of bubbles that are a more affordable option than “real” Champagne.
Each of these bottles is just $14.99 each.
Bubbles #1: Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Geographic Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
Awards: 91 Points Wine Spectator; 90 Points Wine Enthusiast
CV Says: This is a beautiful sparkling wine from Washington state. Treveri Cellars is the only dedicated sparkling house in the state of Washington, in that that’s all they do. This is an elegant bottle of wine. It’s not over-the-top in its effervescence. It’s a rather soft sparkling wine. It doesn’t have a huge mousse. “Mousse” refers to the texture, or mouth feel, of sparkling wine in your mouth from the effervescence.
Bubbles #2: Gruet Brut N V
Varietals: 75% Chardonnay; 25% Pinot Noir
Geographic Region: Southern New Mexico
Awards: 89 Points & Top 100 Wine Spectator
CV Says: Gilbert Gruet, the founder of Gruet Winery, is French (and made fine Champagne in Bethon, France for decades), was travelling in New Mexico and came across an abandoned vineyard on a hillside in New Mexico and set-up a winery with his winemaker son and daughter. The family had this exquisite exposure from making Champagne in France, and brought the experience and culture to New Mexico, of all places. This is a crisp, full-bodied sparkling wine, with a refined mousse. It has notes of apple and citrus.
Bubbles #3: Graham Beck Brut
Varietals: 53% Chardonnay; 47% Pinot Noir
Geographic Region: Helderberg, South Africa
Awards: 85 points, Wine Spectator
CV Says: A crowd pleasure and versatile bubbly! Light yeasty aromas (that gorgeous fresh-baked bread smell we all know and love) and secondary tones of limey fresh fruit on the nose. The fine mousse gives it freshness and finesse.