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'Tis The Season!

The holiday festivities have begun and I’ve heard a lot of corks popping lately, which is always music to my ears! Champagne and sparkling wines have always been considered the “go-to” drink for celebrations. But they have evolved into wines that are now enjoyed all year long and not just for special occasions. There are numerous styles to choose from that are produced in wine regions all around the world such as the popular Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava and Sekt from Germany.
To kick off the holiday season, I received a variety of six sparkling wines for review. I’m all about the bubbly, so I was happy to oblige!

Charles Heidsieck founded his own Maison in 1851 in Reims, France and he is credited for introducing and popularizing Champagne in the United States. After visiting New York and New England in 1852, he realized the great potential for selling his Champagne in America. A massive import of his wine was met with great success and he achieved record sales.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
This champagne is summarized as an equation: 60/40/10 and expresses the quintessence of its style.
60: the number of crus in the blend (1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Noir, 1/3 Meunier) vinified cru-by-cru, varietal-by-varietal in stainless steel vats.
40: a high proportion of 40% reserve wines equally divided between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
10: average age of 10 years for the reserve wines. Aging takes place in chalk cellars.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

A golden color and fine bubbles lead to a complex and elegant nose of brioche, pear, white flowers and a hint of apricot and citrus. The palate is rich with white fruit, toast and tart baked apples, with hints of cherry, citrus, toasted nuts and vanilla. It has good acidity and a creamy texture with a long, lush finish.
Alcohol:  12%
SRP:  $69

Piper Sonoma is located in Sonoma, CA in the Russian River Valley region. It was founded in 1980 by Marquis d’Aulan. They have been producing sparkling wines for almost 40 years using the classic Méthode Traditionnelle technique to make the wines. Each vineyard lot is hand-harvested, fermented and aged separately. The wines are produced in Healdsburg under the guidance and expertise of winemaker, Keith Hock.

Piper Sonoma Brut NV
This sparkling wine is a blend of 70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Blanc and 7% aged Reserve Blend. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine is pale lemon with fine and persistent bubbles. Aromas of brioche, orchard fruit, pear and citrus segue onto the palate with notes of berries and clementine. It has a fresh and smooth mouthfeel with a long and delightful finish.
Alcohol: 13.5%
SRP:   $22

Piper Sonoma Blanc de Blancs NV
This is a new addition to their sparkling wine range.  It is a blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Blanc. 

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This wine is a soft straw color with fine bubbles and a lovely combination of aromas that include citrus notes, floral and tart apples. This dry and lively wine is creamy in texture with great acidity and notes of brioche, apples, citrus and a touch of vanilla.
Alcohol:  12.9%
SRP:  $22

Piper Sonoma Brut Rosé NV
This rosé is a blend of 53% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir, 6% Pinot Blanc and 2% aged Reserve Blend.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is a fresh and aromatic dry sparkling wine that has inviting aromas of berries, floral and citrus.  Fine bubbles give way to flavors of strawberry, cherry, citrus and a hint of toast. It is nicely balanced with crisp acidity and a creamy mouthfeel.
Alcohol:  12.6%
SRP: $22

Known in the wine industry as the Tuscan renegade, Bibi Graetz has managed to become one of Italy's most ingenious winemakers adding "cult winemaker" in addition to "talented abstract artist" to his dossier. His first wines were released in 2000 and his bio reads like a movie script (more to follow in another post).

Bibi Graetz Bollamatta Spumante IGT NV
Bollamatta is a sparkling wine made with 100% Sangiovese grapes sourced from Bibi’s 50 to 80-year-old vineyards spread across Tuscany. Bollamatta means “crazy bubbles” in Italian.
The wine is produced using the Charmat method with five months on the yeasts. It is aged on the lees in stainless steel.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

The wine is soft pink in color with an abundance of fruit and floral on the nose. The palate offers strawberry, cherry, stone fruit, bread and citrus. Fine bubbles and crisp acidity make this a “crazily” refreshing wine!
Alcohol: 12.5%
SRP:  $26

Villa Sandi dates back to 1622 and is located in Northeastern Italy in the heart of the Prosecco area at the foot of Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG hills. The estate is owned by the Moretti Polegato family and has been in the family for many generations.

Villa Sandi Il Fresco Brut Prosecco DOC NV
The grapes for this wine come from Treviso, the heart of Prosecco. It is a blend of Glera, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. After fermentation, the sparkling wine spends  two months on lees before bottling.

Photo credit: Penny Weiss

This is a light and fun sparkling wine with vibrant aromas of honeysuckle, stone fruit and apples.  The palate offers citrus, apple, honeydew melon and a touch of minerality. This wine is well balanced with just the right amount of acidity.
Alcohol: 11%
SRP:  $16

All of the above sparkling wines will drink beautifully as an aperitif and are easy to pair with a wide variety of cuisine. These are perfect wines to serve over the holidays, but they are great to drink all year long!

Until next time…



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