Category Archives: Sparkling

Thirsty Thursday: Nino Franco, Faìve, Spumante Brut Rosé, Valdobbiadene, Italy 2011

This Thirsty Thursday takes us to Italy. Just above Venice is Valdobbiadene: cradle of Prosecco.

But today’s wine is weird. It looks neither pale green, sweet, nor made from Glera (Prosecco’s only grape). It is pink:

But not just any pink. This glinting, copper flame lives up to its name: Faìve (FieEEve): poetically Italian for those sparks and tongues whipping about at the top of a fire.

So what goes in it?

Around 2000, Primo Franco got bored with perfecting fantastic, dry, single-vineyard Prosecco that was changing the world. So he went to buddy Brandino Brandolini, who grows red grapes. But they broke with Champagne’s (and the world’s) Pinot-hegemony. Heck, they also left red Italian varietals behind. Instead, they used Merlot and Cabernet: grapes that rarely see the light of bubbly. But this ain’t a red Bordeaux. Continue reading

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Festive Fizz: Skip Champagne for Sparkling Wine from Limoux, France for New Year’s

Holiday parties, like the blob, suck all your time. New Year’s Day, like Dick Clark’s ghost, looms. Appetizers stare at us, like piranha on small plates. We need bubbly.

But we tire of bargain Prosecco. Champagne cost too much to share. American bubbly is either too cheap, or too expensive. Cava works, but seems too familiar.

Enter Limoux:

The Pyrenees Mountains cut France and Spain apart. Their foothills form Limoux: a region just south of the medieval fortress town of Caracassonne. Inland and high up, both Mediterranean warmth and Atlantic cold make Limoux the coolest region this far south in France. Its soil is equally rough: full of rocky, sandstone, limestone, and clay.

Cold temperatures, challenging soil, high elevations: the perfect recipe for quality bubbly. Continue reading

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VELO VOUVRAY 2: CHATEAU MONCONTOUR AND CHENIN BLANC: EU Austerity Drinking Tour #47

Last Monday’s EU AUSTERITY DRINKING TOUR post began our cycle of the Loire with Marc Brédif’s chic winery. Well inebriated, we continue upriver into Vouvray, hunting wine.

As mentioned prior, the green grape Chenin Blanc reigns supreme in Vouvray. Crafty Dutch merchants launched it here four centuries ago. It fits decently in this cold, marginal climate because it ripens earlier than red grapes. Although other whites would work better, the obstinate French stick to tradition. Continue reading

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Marcato, “iPrandi” Brut, Lessini Durello DOC, Italy NV $10-14.5

Think of Italian bubbly and we probably think of Prosecco, maybe Moscato or Lambrusco.

However, hidden in North Eastern Italy, smack dab between Venice and Verona, lay the Lessini hills. Here an ancient grape called Durello thrives. The name may come from its thick skins, or high acid. It may be native. Either way, it loves the volcanic soil. basalt. Elevations are high. Thus Lessini Durello has its own DOC. Continue reading

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VERTICAL(ISH) TASTING: Veuve Clicquot 1953 Vintage; 2008, 2007, 2004, 2001, 1990 Yellow Label

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label represents one of the most recognizable Champagnes in the world: not exactly a Wayward Wine. Polo-watching yuppies love it.  It is part and parcel of the fashion-opoly: Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (a third of which Diageo … Continue reading

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