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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Bubbly, Fizz, Bubbles


In last week’s column I mentioned that, being the month of February, it is a fantastic time to give the white wine varietals some much deserved attention. With it being the first week of semester, alcohol purchasing is more likely to be frantic and on a bulk scale.

Instead of picking up the cheapest and most septic, acid-ridden sauvignon blanc, opt for a viognier or riesling which may be a dollar or two higher in terms of expense, but both varieties are less likely to give you a headache the next day.

During this warmer time of year a sparkling wine, which is more commonly known as Champagne, also goes down a treat. The most common grape varieties used in the production of sparkling wine are chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. In order for a wine to become sparkling it needs to undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle, and this produces the carbonation.

Technically, a sparkling wine can only be referred to and labelled Champagne if it is from the Champagne appellation in France. To cement this, under European Union law, Champagne has Protected Designation of Origin status.

Wine of the Week

The core philosophy of this wine column is value for money and every week I will highlight a quality wine that is under $20. This week I have come across an absolute pearler of a Sparkling Wine: Twin Islands Brut NV ($16.95)

This Methode Traditionelle is produced by Nautilus winery in Marlborough and uses high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir fruit from the region. Nautilus has been making Sparkling Wine under the Twin Islands label since 1992.

This wine is a true summer drop in the sense that it is fresh, fruity, and reasonably light. The bouquet is lively with aromas of tropical melon fruit and creamy apricot. Being a zesty wine with an alcohol level of 12.0% the mouth feel is in no way heavy, and my tongue felt like a liberated, stark naked swimmer as I moved the wine through my mouth. The finish is clean and dry with a soft yeasty/fruity aftertaste.

Normally this Sparkling Wine retails at just over $20, but it is currently on special at Regional Wines and Spirits for $16.95 which makes it absolute value for money.


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