At last, Christmas has come and gone, the beacon that is the end of 2015 is drawing near. To count down in style, I have decided to enjoy a different sparkling wine every day! Pop goes the cork on 2016. Today, on December 26th, Boxing Day, or the day after Christmas – what ever you call it – I am enjoying Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut. This family owned Champagne house has been in operation since 1812, and is a fantastic last minute or host/hostess gift. Readily available and priced at a user friendly $45, it’s a great way to say Happy Holidays with classic Champagne. Classic flavors of citrus and brioche, with a nutty finish. Beautiful dusting of nutmeg on the chalky finish. A great entry point in to Champagne, particularly if you are trying to impress your friends and visiting family. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Teuwen Communications for the sparkling party in a glass!
During the holidays, more often than not, we celebrate with something sparkling. For some it might be the old classic Champagne; others, California Sparkling. But have you tried Franciacorta? Franciacorta, the DOCG region in Lombardy, Italy, is known for it’s excellent sparkling wines made in the traditionally method – meaning, the secondary fermentation occurs int bottle and not by, shall we say, the soda stream for wine or a bulk method. Lombardy is perfect for sparkling wine, where the Alps meet the Lago d’Iseo, moderating temperatures and making the traditional grapes for sparkling wines grow so well. Since Franciacorta was the first Italian sparkling wine to have the secondary fermentation int he bottle, and since the producing region is the first traditional method sparkling wine in Italy to reach DOCG status, they really are a treat. Since becoming a DOCG (the highest level of regional wine designations in Italy) in 1995, Franciacorta has set strict rules governing the production of it’s sparkling wines. Using the same Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc (Bianco) and Pinot Noir grapes that are traditionally used in France, Franciacorta requires lengthy aging and hand harvesting, to maintain in increase quality. With five distinct styles, there is something for everyone! Some of my favorite products that I have been enjoing this season are reviewed below. So this holiday, go out and say Cin Cin to Franciacorta! Berlucchi Franciacorta Brut – 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero (Noir). Yeasty, buttered toast, crisp lemon curd. Beautiful bright acidity with the richness of cream and ripe pears. This would be fantastic with oysters or brunch, and at $30, an affortable alternative to Champagne. With only 12.9% ABV, this is a sipper you can enjoy all day! Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut – 80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Nero (Noir), 10% Pinot Bianco (Blanc) – a field of flowers, with rich yellow and green hues, Tuscan melon and lime jump out of the glass along with stone fruit and a slight green herbal note. $23 for this beauty rivals some of the better Proseccos and would be lovely in a Spritz or other cocktail. If you would like to check out some of the other styles of Franciacorta, they range from dry to sweet, and have a host of other style elements such as the typically 100% Chardonnay Saten. A Millesimato is vintage sparkler that is aged at least 30 months. So, the next time you are having a party, consider stocking up on some Franciacorta, and wow your party guests with Italy’s fastest growing sparkling wine category! These bottles of deliciousness were provided as PR samples, but all sips and tips are mine!