Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends

Sparkling & Still Wines for New Year’s Eve 2010

by Sally Bernstein

Whether your tastes turn towards champagne, sparkling wine, cava (Spanish sparkling wine), prosecco (Italian dry sparkling wine), espumante (Portuguese sparkling wine), Cap Classique (South African sparkling wines) or many others, you have a multitude of choices this year, in both style and price. Many of these wines are available in varying levels of dryness: brut nature, brut (extra dry), seco (dry), semiseco (medium) and dulce (sweet). And many of these wines are exceedingly food-friendly and can be enjoyed throughout your entire meal. So let your tastes, your wallet and the occasion walk you through the following choices. Drinking sparkling wine is fun: the average bottle of Champagne contains enough carbon dioxide to potentially produce 49 million bubbles!

This year I am including some still wines, as well. Take your choice and enjoy yourself.

This is in no way a complete list. Most are California wines, and a few hail from Spain and also the country of Georgia, near Russia. Most are made from white grapes but another popular choice this time of year is Rosé, which can be a wonderful accompaniment to holiday foods, such as cheese, charcuterie and roast turkey.

The following are a few sparkling wine suggestions, compliments of Schramsberg:

• Serve sparkling wines during the holidays—it pleases everyone!
• The best and quickest way to chill a bottle of sparkling wine is to put it in water and ice for 20 minutes.
• To open a bottle, hold it at a 45-degree angle, and turn the bottle, not the cork.
• Use sparkling wine flutes (tall narrow clear glasses) instead of saucer shaped glasses.
• Hold your flute by the stem, it’s more graceful and won’t warm the wine or leave fingerprints.



Mumm Napa

Located in Rutherford in the Napa Valley, Mumm Napa offers a guided tour of the winery, a Fine Art Photography Gallery and a wine shop with gifts as well as wines. And, of course, various forms of wine tastings are available on the Oak Terrace.

We've selected some of their favorite wines to share with you this holiday season. From Sparkling Gifts to Holiday Parties to New Year's Eve ... bubbles make your party sparkle!

Brut Reserve

Classic méthode champenoise—Brut Reserve is stately, complex and beautifully structured. The varietal composition is 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. You'll find rich layers of fresh fig, cherry, vanilla beans and honeysuckle with a crisp acidity and nutty finish.

Suggested Retail: $30


Cuvée M

Marvelous. Magical. Magnificent. A creamy, precocious, slightly sweet release—perfect as an aperitif or with hors d’oeuvres, spicy foods or creamy desserts.

Suggested Retail: $20









Bagrationi 1882, a historic sparkling wine producer from the country of Georgia in the Black Sea region of Eastern Europe, has announced its entrance into the U.S. wine market. For the first time in the New World, wine enthusiasts can now experience these unique sparkling wines from the very place where winemaking was born. With the introduction of Bagrationi 1882, wine consumers in America can now enjoy the favorite sparkling wine from the world’s oldest wine growing region.

Bagrationi 1882 is the first and only Georgian sparkling wine sold in the United States.

Royal Cuvee

Fresh and lively fragrance of citrus fruits. Fine, threadlike bubbles. Good body, noteworthy acidic interplay. The taste is fruity with a dry finish. Superior quality. Grown in eastern Georgia, the Chinebuli grape clusters are big, cylindrical, thin-skinned berries with a fleshy and juicy pulp. Chinebuli grapes are typically used to produce “Chinuri” type premium wines, and are very often blended for the making of premium white sparkling wines such as the Bagrationi 1882 Royal Cuvée. The Chinebuli grape is unique to the country of Georgia.

Suggested Retail: $37.99




Reserve Brut

Elegant, full nose of peaches and apricots. Pinpoint bubbles. Refreshing and fruity. Powerful with substance. Harmonious. Grape Variety: Chinebuli grape clusters are big, cylindrical and thin-skinned berries with a fleshy, juicy pulp. Mtsvane is a white grape variety from the Kakheti district and is used for the production of premium delicate dry wines full of flavor. Vineyards are located in the Imereti, Kakheti and Kartli regions.

Suggested Retail: $25.99





Classic Brut

Light, inviting aromas of citrus fruits. Refreshing bubbles. Good structure with flavor reminiscent of honeydew melons. Delicate. Grape Variety: Chinebuli grape clusters are big, cylindrical and thin-skinned berries with a fleshy, juicy pulp. Mtsvane is a white grape variety from the Kakheti district and is used for the production of premium delicate dry wines full of flavor. Tsitska grapes are ideal for sparkling wine production. Each of these grapes are unique to the country of Georgia. The vineyards are located in the Imereti, Kakheti and Kartli regions and the method is Charmat.

Suggested Retail: $13.99



Classic Extra Dry

Refreshing and bubbly. Appetizing nose of citrus, quince and melon. Fruity, yet notably dry on the palate. Grape Variety: Chinebuli grape clusters are big, cylindrical and thin-skinned berries with a fleshy, juicy pulp. Mtsvane is a white grape variety from the Kakheti district and is used for the production of premium delicate dry wines full of flavor. Tsitska grapes are ideal for sparkling wine production. Each of these grapes are unique to the country of Georgia. Appellation: Vineyards are located in the Imereti, Kakheti and Kartli regions and the method is Charmat.

Suggested Retail: $13.99





Cupcake Vineyards

NV Prosecco D.O.C.
This Prosecco is light and refreshing with a nose that shows hints of white peach, grapefruit and honey-dew melon. The fine effervescence gives way to creamy flavors of ripe lemons and refined citrus notes with a toasted brioche finish. Medium froth, our Prosecco is reminiscent of lemon meringue pie. Pairs well with gorgonzola crostini and melon wrapped in prosciutto. This Prosecco is made from 100% Glera grapes, the official grape of Prosecco, and is produced using the charmat method, in which secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks to guarantee a cleaner finish.

Suggested Retail: $13.99





Segura Viudes

Reserva Heredad

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad is a limited production méthode champenoise wine originally reserved for members of the Segura family and their friends. Reserva Heredad is made exclusively from grapes grown in the estate's vineyards at Torrelavit in the Alt Penedès region of Spain. Only the first pressing of the Macabeo and Parellada grapes goes into the making of the cuvée. The yeast is added and the wine is allowed to develop in the bottle for up to four years. Medium bodied and mellow with a perfumed bouquet, character and depth. A good fruit intensity on the palate and a long and slightly yeasty finish. Reserva Heredad comes in an exquisite hand-blown bottle with a slender, tapered neck. The bottle is emblazoned with the pewter crest of Segura Viudas and rests on a pewter base inscribed with grapes.

Suggested Retail: $25

Brut Rosé

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé is a lively example of the endless possibilities for vibrant, well-made cavas from the Segura Viudas house. Made using the traditional méthode champenoise process, Segura Viudas Brut Rosé features a unique blend of traditional Spanish grapes grown on the 445-acre estate in Torrelavit, Alt Penedès, the heart of Spain's renowned cava country. Delicate and crisp, Segura Viudas Brut Rosé is fresh and fruity with red fruit aromas of raspberry, currant and grenadine. A lingering cherry note on the finish is crowned by a light touch of sweetness.

Suggested Retail: $10


Brut Reserva

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, created from a blend of reserve and non-vintage wines, is clean and delicate, yet rich in flavor. A cuvée of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes grown in the renowned Alt Penedès region of Spain, the wine is vinified according to méthode champenoise technique and is aged in the bottle for a minimum of three years. This fine cuvée is fairly crisp with an interesting floral note and mouth-pleasing sensation of creaminess.

Suggested Retail: $10






Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava

This Spanish sparkling wine is made using the Traditional Method, in which the secondary fermentation producing a sparkling wine's bubbles occurs in the bottle. Its fresh, toasty nose, citrus, green apple and mineral flavors make it a perfect wine for celebrations. Enjoy it on its own or with caviar, sushi, seafood, fried foods and Asian dishes. Cavas must age for a minimum of nine months on the lees before release. 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo.

Suggested Retail: $10.00




J.P. Chenet

Blanc de Blancs Brut: This blend of white grapes from France is best served as an aperitif or to accompany dishes including scallops, grilled fish and even light dishes such as poultry. A clear, golden body with green highlights, a stream of many fine bubbles, wonderful persistence. A light, fruity bouquet with white fruit notes and brioche hints. A fresh and fruity palate of fresh fruits, apricots and white peach. Powerful, but well balanced. This wine is elegant and refined.

Suggested Retail: $10



Darmes Lane

2007 Linda's Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2007 Linda's Hillside Cabernet exhibits a core of dense black cherry and delicate plum with hints of vanilla, cassis and cinnamon. The palate starts with concentrated smooth fruit forward entry and a softer acid profile that leads to rich and smooth tannins as it finishes with a touch of mocha. This wine has the flavors and suppleness to be enjoyed on its own while maintaining an elegance that will complement many foods.

Suggested Retail: $75
Darms Lane will donate $25 from each bottle sold to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in the name of Linda Bump, co-owner of the vineyard until her death in 2007 from ovarian cancer.



2006 Ravenswood Pickberry

The Pickberry Vineyard is located on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain on the western side of the Sonoma Valley. These grapes have traditionally produced opulent, berry-saturated, Bordeaux-style wines and with the 2006 vintage, these virtues are even more dramatic. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc lots are fermented separately and barrelled separately for a short period of time. The finished product spends about two years in small French oak barrels. Fresh plum, red currant, mint, and cured tobacco leaf with shades of sweet vanilla and cocao nib are all found in the complex scent. 74% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvihnon; 1,600 cases.

Suggested Retail: $50





Franciscan Magnificant

For Magnificat, Franciscan’s Oakville estate's goal is to craft a wine as seamless and harmonious as the Bach masterwork for which the wine is named. The composition is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 3% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot. There are inviting aromas of dark cherry, sage, and red plums and complex layers of ripe berries, with undertones of vanilla and cloves. The flavor is full‐bodied and textural, with ripe flavors of black plum and cherry, cocoa and cassis. A concentrated, rich palate with round tannins leads to a long finish interwoven with blackberry, anise and mocha.

Suggested Retail: $50





2008 Helfrich Gewürztraminer – Grand Cru

The Helfrich family, which has been crafting wines in Alsace for six generations, is committed to promoting the reputation of Alsace as a region which produces world class wines of great flavor and complexity. Steinklotz is one of only fifty-one vineyards in Alsace that has the Grand Cru designation. It’s located at the Northern end of the Alsatian wine trail. The vineyard itself faces South / Southeast and is very steep with an altitude of between 600 - 1,000 feet. The soil is comprised of barely 8” of loam covering hard calcareous bedrock. Dry farmed (it’s the law in Alsace) and hand picked in October / November; the vines are trained upwards for maximum exposure to the sun. Steinklotz is one of the oldest vineyards recorded in Alsace and was reported in 589 AD to belong to the Merovingian King Childebert II.

Suggested Retail: $24.99





The Blackstone 2006 Sonoma Reserve Rubric exhibits a dark, inky black hue, displaying aromas of black cherry, blackberry jam, cassis, and coffee, with a hint of toasted spice. This is a concentrated wine with a rich mouthfeel and silky texture. Fine, supple tannins provide a lingering finish perfect for pairing with short ribs, herbed lamb, or dark chocolate soufflé. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petite Sirah and 2% Tannat.

Suggested Retail: $22





Concannon Vineyards

Concannon's handcrafted wines are born from grapes grown in the Livermore Valley and along California's Central Coast. Their Conservancy tier of wines includes Livermore Valley Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot. Concannon Conservancy wines also conform to the practice of growing grapes and making wine with minimal impact. Concannon Vineyard is proud to be one of the first seventeen wineries to be certified through the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA). This program provides third-party certification for California wineries that are at the forefront of sustainable winegrowing practices including environmental stewardship, conservation of natural resources and socially equitable business practices.

Suggested Retail: $15

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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