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Bubbly for those Boiling Hot Days of Summer


If you live in the southwestern part of the U.S., you know we have been experiencing a very warm and VERY humid summer so far. At my store, this has translated into a drastic sales increase in light white wines and rosés. One other sales segment that has also been increasing lately is our sparkling wines, especially our Spanish Cavas and Italian Proseccos. So, for this week's wines, I have chosen some of our more popular sparkling wines.

Let's start at home with a nicely crafted sparkling wine from Cuvée 89.

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For those of you who are fans of Dom Perignon, this wine is for you. Like the Dom, this wine has a very "biscuity" nose along with a light, fruity note of green and yellow apples. The bubbles are medium to large in size, and it is a dry (Brut) wine. On the palate, the bubbles and high acidity wake your mouth right up. Notes of yellow apples and yellow pears come through in a light wave of bubbles. This California sparkling wine is very reminiscent of a dry Prosecco, perhaps that is why it is flying off our shelves as fast as we stock it. Enjoy it alone or pair it with any light poolside snack you desire.

Price range: $10-$12

My next selection is one of my all-time favorite sparkling wines: Freixenet (Extra Dry) Cava from Spain. This truly is a lovely sparkling wine.

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Cavas are typically made from a blend of three unique grapes: Parellada, Macabeu, and Xarello. They can contain other grapes, such as Chardonnay, Subirat, and even Pinot Noir.

On the nose, you get a nice hit of melon, citrus and kiwifruit. These aromas also repeat on the palate in a delicious blend of light, "summery" fruit. The bubbles are medium-fine to medium and the acidity is medium-high to high.

I prefer the Extra Dry style over the Brut, because the slightly higher residual sugars really help to bring out the fruit notes. It is still a "dry" wine and quite enjoyable on a hot summer day, when chilled on ice. Enjoy this Spanish sparkler alone, or my favorite way, with a twist of lime in the glass, or serve it with a light fruit salad medley of Kiwi, strawberry, honeydew, and watermelon.

Price range: $7-$13

Next up is a lovely sparkling Rosé from one of our most popular French wineries, Gerard Bertrand.
The "Thomas Jefferson" (Brut) Rosé Cremant.

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This is, by far, one of our most popular sparkling Rosé wines. Notes of strawberry and cranberry and a hint of white flowers greet you. On the palate, the fine bubbles and dry minerality let you know this is an Old World-style rosé. The flavors are very light and again the strawberry and raspberry come through. The finish is dry and crisp. It was a bit too dry for my liking, but like I said, it flies off our shelves. Pair this with thinly sliced deli meats and even thinly sliced dried fish, especially salmon.

Price range: $12-$17

Lastly, we come to the ever-popular, Wilson's Creek Almond Champagne.

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This is a blend of Chardonnay, French Colombard and Chenin Blanc, and of course, an all natural, 100% almond extract.

*Note: if you or any of your friends and family suffer from nut allergies, do NOT drink this wine!

On the nose, you guessed it, almonds! But it has a sweet note as well. On the palate, the medium-fine to medium bubbles fill your mouth with a lightly sweet almomd flavor. Enjoy this by itself or pair it with light summery pastries, such as Madeleines, shortbread, angel food cake and the summer favorite, wedding cake!

Price range: $8-$13

I hope you have enjoyed this week's tasting. Please give this sparkling wines a try one of these hot days, I'm sure you will find them all refreshing and enjoyable.

Come back next week for my "Grape of the Week" pick. Until then, CHEERS!!!