BubbleFest Report: 17 Sparkling Wines

Unpreposessing from the outsideI had a fabulous time at Vino Vino’s BubbleFest last Saturday: a total of 28 wines were poured and I tasted 17 of them. Despite the crowd, everyone was civil, and I was jazzed to see so many people there to try those beautiful bubbles. I was also pleased to see so many people buying wine on their way out the door. The wine tasting was free, and it’s only right to buy a bottle to say thank you. I picked up a lovely little Bourgueil, and I can’t wait to try it.

The dispensers of the bubbly knew a lot about their wines (for a change; it seems like lately stores just take the lady away from her electric skillet at Costco and slide her behind a wine table) and it was obvious they were having a great time giving it away.

Periwinkle and unidentified though amiable tasterVino Vino is a great place to get your bubbles on, and any other wine you might desire. It’s a great place to try something you’ve never heard of — their selection is eclectic and unusual. Wine geeks browsing the shelves will have lots of “Oh! Interesting!” moments. Not sure it’s the best place for a newbie to buy, but then again their staff is very knowledgeable and not in the least snobby. Price points for wine kind of start at 15; there are lots of $20 wines to choose from and prices continue up to about $80, from what I saw. They offer a 15% discount on any 6 bottles of still wine you buy, and 10% off any 6 bottles of bubbly. Beat that!

Here are the tasting notes I made, in order of the wines I tasted. If you find long lists of tasting notes for wines you’ve never heard of really boring, scroll all the way down to see the crazy picture I took on my way home.

Eager consumers of wineVeuve Fourny Champagne Blanc de Blancs, $49: a grower champagne; dough, rose petals and pear on the nose, with white chocolate, stinky truffle, rich spice and tart apple on the palate. Snappy!

Trouillard Champagne Extra Selection, $42: 20% Chard, 45% Pinot Meunier, and 35% Pinot Noir. Not much on the nose – bread, maybe? Quince and some yeast? Tart and earthy in the mouth, with wild strawberry and quince again on the long, long finish.

Terre Magre Raboso Rosato Frizzante, $21: IHOP strawberry syrup on the nose; palate has pretty strawberry jam, and a sucking-on-a-penny note of mineral.

Dolce Stilnovo Rosso Sparkling Pink, $17: Dessert wine made from Moscato Nero. Honey, a dozen roses, and lychee on the nose, with bright red fruit on the palate.

Nino Franco “Fiavo” Rosato, $28: that earthy aroma most cava has, with a little yeastiness. In the mouth there’s a sharp whammy of earthy, nutty yeast — little fruit but good acidity.

Vino Vino’s big rack of still wineChartogne-Taillet Champagne Brut Rose, $59: a grower champagne; powerful nose of halvah. I swear to gawd it was halvah; neat, huh? Pinpoint bubbles, a fine mousse. Palate of dirty, meaty lemon.

A. Margraine Champagne Brut Rose, $54: 87% Chardonnay from ’02, 12% Pinot Noir from ’00. I honestly could only smell cheddar cheese on this thing. I like cheddar and all, but seriously? Palate was tart lemon and bright apple, overall very clean and crisp except for the potent cheesiness on the nose.

Paul Goerg Champagne Blanc de Blancs, $38: a grower champagne; fine mousse, fine perlage, with yeast and Golden Delicious apple on the nose. Some earth on the palate, but mostly ripe apple. Cleanish.

Frey-Sohler Cremant de Blanc de Blancs, $27: super-fine perlage (which is winespeak for Small Bubbles); distinct and intense candied aroma of caramel Fuji apples on the nose. Fuji. On the palate it’s rich and very nutty with those voluptuous Fujis again. Very impressive.

Oriel Prosecco, $23: Floral like detergent is floral. Pear flavors, and a strong taste of Sprite on the finish. Different, but in a weirdly artificial, chemically way. Eh.

Luis Abreux and his artContadi Castadi Brut, $26: slightly saline on the nose, with a strong flavor of sausage and some thyme on the palate and a very herbal finish. Very different, in an interesting way this time. Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay.

Contadi Castadi Rose, $33: Pinot Bianco/ Pinot Nero; gorgeous nose of floral spice and red raspberries. Herbed Boursin on the palate; this is earthy, creamy rich and complex. Yumsville!

Besserat de Bellefon Champagne Cuvee Brut, $36: nose of stanky yeast and lemon; unremarkable tart apple on the tongue with a very doughy finish.

The bubbly rack was full mere days agoBesserat de Bellefon Champagne Brut Rose, $41: Thick mousse, with a very remarkable nose of cherry, cream and violets. Clean, brisk cherry flavors on the palate, with a lingering finish. Like everyone thought very hard about cherry Jolly Ranchers while making it, but never put any in. Divine.

Domaine Collin Selection, $20: Pinot Noir/ Chardonnay; super-fine bead (another winespeak term for Small Bubbles), strong smell of CO2 (which makes me think of vomit) and yeast on the nose, with raspberry cream on the palate. This wine is bald like Mr. Clean’s head, it’s so clean on the finish. I like that about it, but then there’s the vomit smell. Half and half on this one.

Vourvin-Jumel Champagne Blanc de Blancs, $45: Mousse like Dallas hair, with happy apple pie and lemon curd on the nose. Earthy and yeasty on the palate with more apple. Very traditional, and yummy.

Oh yes he didCoppo “Moncalvina” Moscato d’Asti, $20: a dessert wine from Italy with slight petillance (winespeak for slightly bubbly) Curdled honey with cream and lychee/ Such delicious floral sweet honeyed gorgeousity.

So on my way home, all high on the fucked-up goodness that is sparkling wine, I saw this white Range Rover whose owner had been so moved by the cheer of the holiday season that he found he needed to attach Rudolph to the front of his car. The power of bubbles allowed me to get a great picture. Happy Freaking Holidays, y’all!

0 comments

  1. nice notes. sounds like a great time. i love tastings like these. i’ve only had the chartogne taillet and the margaine, of all of these wines, and some i’ve never seen, i believe. i think we get very different wines from our respective importers. i’m a BIG fan of the margaine demi-sec champs, by the way, if you see it around. sooo good.

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