Our apologies for getting High/Low Weekend up a bit late, but these suggestions are great for the entire holiday season!
I jokingly tell people that I am a huge fan of anything that sparkles! But, I really love sparkling wine and jewelry (I know, join the long line of women that love those sparklers). Notice that I don’t say I love Champagne but that I love sparkling wine. This is because the world of sparkling wine is much broader than just Champagne, which is the first and often only thing that people think about. Most people don’t realize that there is a whole world beyond Champagne and wines made in the champagne style (most sparkling wine in the United States and Cavas from Spain are made in the champagne style). There are sparkling red wines (mainly from Italy but also from Australia, Germany and Austria), as well as sparkling wines, like Prosecco and Asti (both Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti) that are made in a way to preserve their aromatic characteristics.
This weekend, we are focusing on one of my favorite Champagne houses – Taittinger. Not only does Taittinger make its namesake Taittinger Champagne, it also owns the California winery Domaine Carneros, which makes California sparkling wines in the champagne style. We paid approximately $36 for the Taittinger Brut and $18 for the Domaine Carneros 2007 Brut (note that there is a higher price of $26 listed on the website but I have never paid that much for it). We think that both of these wines are brilliant choices to serve at your next Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s parties (or all three). They shine on their one and play nicely with other spirits and liqueurs in Champagne cocktails.
- Taittinger Champagne (Non-Vintage) is clear, pale straw in color with small, persistent bubbles. On the nose, a medium intensity of lemon, green apple, nuts, toast, biscuit and yeast. On the palate, the wine had a light, creamy texture with persistent bubbles. The wine was dry, high in acidity, had medium body, medium alcohol, no oak and medium flavor intensity of lemon, green apple, under ripe pear, almonds, biscuits, toast and yeast. It’s a yeast-forward Champagne style. Medium plus finish. Good to very good.
- Domaine Carneros 2007 Brut (California sparkling wine) is clear, pale straw in color with persistent bubbles. On the nose, a medium intensity of lime, pear, melon, white flower, biscuit and vanilla. On the palate, the wine was round with texture, nice mouth feel and bubbles. The wine was dry, high in acidity, medium to medium plus body, medium to medium plus body and medium intensity of lime, pear, melon, white flower, biscuit and vanilla. Medium to medium plus finish. Very good.
[Photo courtesy of allposters.com]