Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Celebrating the New Year with Sparkling Wines

New Year’s and bubbles always seem to go together perfectly, and this season was no exception. So with a lazy Saturday between Christmas and New Year Eve, it was hardly a surprise to find sparkling wines featured at every in-house tasting on our re-stocking the liquor cabinet route. How could we refuse?

We’re both fans of Spanish Cavas for their ability to combine great taste with solid pricing, and the Lavit Brut Rosado we sampled first was no exception. Light strawberry in colour, this sparkler was summer in a glass – raspberries, strawberries, and just a hint of peach. Even though it was slightly over chilled for this tasting we instantly agreed it would be one to that would help solve the “what actually goes with turkey dinner” dilemma. Good for pre-dinner sipping too.

The Sigura Viudas Brut Reserva that was next up is pretty much one of our standard stocker for its flexible nature and crisp taste. It’s also, according to Ian Farmiloe, the International Cellars rep pouring, BC’s largest selling Cava. Good for parties – especially potluck where anything is likely to show up. “So, is this one, like – you know – real champagne?” To his credit, Ian managed to keep a semi-serious expression on his face as he explained the intricacies of the Champagne region to the rather portly lady wearing a combination of tartan plaid, plenty of zestful holiday bling, and sturdy black walking boots. We weren’t quite so diplomatic and had to suddenly develop an interest in the Italian wine section several rows over.

However, we did pop back for the Reserva Heredad. Perfect for when we want a bit more of a treat for less than $35, this Grand Reserve Cava has plenty of lemon-lime acidity and always makes a reliable, refreshing pour.

For a complete change of pace, we also checked out two offerings from Gray Monk’s Odyssey series. Even our Scottish wanna-be would probably have hesitated to inquire about the authenticity of this “Champagne.” Neither of us got the yeasty nose that we would have expected after being left for 16 months on the yeast, although there was plenty of big time buttery texture from the Chardonnay. We settled for this one as an
aperitif. The Rosé Brut had pleasing strawberry notes but didn’t hit either one of us as a “rush out and buy” item. At $27 each, we took a pass on both these BC wines and headed back for a few more of the Cavas… with just a short detour through Champagne for some of “the real stuff.”


Lavit Brut Rosado
Winery: Sigura Viudas
Grapes: 80% Trepat, 10% Monastrell, 10% Garnacha
Price: $17

Brut Reserva
Winery: Sigura Viudas
Grapes: 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo
Price: $16

Reserva Heredad
Winery: Sigura Viudas
Grapes: 67% Macabeo, 33% Parellada
Price: $32

Odyssey White Brut
Winery: Gray Monk
Grapes: Riesling and Chardonnay
Price: $27

Odyssey Rosé Brut
Winery: Gray Monk
Grapes: Gamay Noir, Pinot Meunier
Price: $27

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