The Sparkling Wine Post
I love sparkling wine.
If it weren’t intoxicating, I’d keep a mug of it on my desk while I worked.
Folks are beginning to think about their annual foray into the world of sparkling wine as New Year’s Eve approaches and it’s for this reason that Charles Olken has written what must surely be an annual column for him as well as other writers about the various sparkling wines on the market.
Olken, the publisher of Connoisseurs Guide to CA Wine and a regular contributor to a variety of Bay Area newspapers has focused his annual Bubbly column on California-made sparklers as a substitute for Champagne. His main point is gracious and true:
"while our bubblies will
still take a back seat to France in terms of cachet, it is no longer
true that we are outclassed when it comes to quality for the money."
Olken names a number of outstanding CA sparkling wines but I’m wondering why he didn’t include what I think is by far the best value in sparkling wine in California: Roederer Estate from Anderson Valley. You can get it for about $19.00.
LIVING RIGHT WITH SPARKLING WINE
Every now and then you meet one of those folks who ALWAYS have a bottle of Sparkling Wine in their fridge, read to go. There’s a certain message sent with this practice that may or may not be true of the person: "I’m ready to Party"…or, alternatively, "Life is short and it’s best to have the best on hand." I’ve found that these ready-to-party/just-the-best folks are not often posers, as you might assume. They are what they are.
EDUCATE THE KIDS
Sparkling wine is one of the best wines to use introduce wine to your kids. I’ve written before on this blog that at our house our kids get to taste the wines we open. They are now 13 and 11. It will be a familiar experience for them if they drink carbonated drinks. One very nice way to lessen the chance you’ll see a turned up nose when you do let them try sparkling wine for the first time is to pour a small portion into a flute, then add a touch of grenadine to sweeten it up for them. Show them what it looks like before the grenadine but color it up. Not too much. Just a nice dark pink. While they sip it you have the perfect opportunity to explain to them the difference between "Champagne" and "Sparkling wine", a bit of information that will aid them in years to come.
BEFORE YOU DIE
Before you die, saber a large bottle of Sparkling wine. This is a must. Yes, it’s dangerous, but so is skiing and driving a car. The experience is exhilarating. Here are instructions on how to Saber a bottle of Sparkling Wine.
A GREAT SOURCE FOR SPARKLING WINE
You need a great source of Sparkling Wine. Not just a place that has 8 or 10 choices. If you are really going to explore the world of Sparkling wine, and there is a world beyond Champagne, you need real selection. One of the greatest sources of Sparkling Wine is D&M Liquors in San Francisco. They specialize in th stuff. Check them out.
My friend Lesley removes corks with a sabre–she was taught how in France. It’s a sight to see, but I’m way to chicken to do it myself! Thanks for the tip on the sparkling specialist.
Tom, it’s great that you mention the Roederer – it’s been my favorite value bubbly for years. Hmmm, now that YOU have referenced it, I’m swallowing hard, ’cause now I suspect I’ll have to pay $26 for it…oh well….
Happy Happy Fizz Fizz!!
It can’t be all that hard, as I did it to a bottle of olive oil last night. No fooling! I had a big chef’s knife in my hand when my wife handed me the bottle. I deftly slit the side of the capsule off with an upward flick of the knife, then when I went to remove it, the top of the bottle came off as well. The knife had given the neck of the bottle a clean break right at the lower lip.
Where does one find a sabre? That would seem to be the limiting factor.
(and, like you, I recommend the Roederer.)
You can use the blunt side of a hefty kitchen knife.