Posts Tagged ‘Brut’

     My goodness! Has it been over a whole year since mt last posting?!  I suppose it was inevitable that some reviews have been delayed; I’ve graduated from Interior Design School at the top of my class with a 4.0027GPA as president of Dakota County Technical College’s chapter of  the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa.  I have also been working for a major liquor store chain in the Greater Minneapolis Area as a Wine Educator and Social Media Liaison. One significant achievement I can truly highlight is my success at being the wine coordinator for the marriage of a high-profile couple here in the Twin Cities – by communicating with both the couple and the chef, the chef and I were able to come up with six dramatic courses pairing his creations with wines from around the world to the delight of all the guests.

     Riondo-bluAnother great success was the relaunching and re-branding of a floundering store in this chain suffering from poor online reviews and lack of exposure to the online- and indeed wine-savvy clientele.  Sales have increased almost three-fold since the beginning of 2014 and I take great pride in being the face of wine knowledge.

     Now, I have secured a position at a major retail chain specializing in home accessories, furniture, and interior design services.  I begin my new career there at the beginning of October.  To celebrate, I am offering the following review of a most yummy sparkling wine from the northern Italian region of Prosecco:  Blu – managed by the North American firm Riondo…

     From start to finish, this luscious sparkling wine is delicate and ethereal.  The nose is of apple, peach, and subtle floral notes.  The mousse is plentiful and mouth-filling leading to a refined elegance of melon to linger medium-long upon the palate.

     Guests at our tasting station at the wine boutique have been snapping up bottle after bottle to celebrate life’s victories both large and small.  This vino pairs beautifully with every course of your light-focused menu.  Crab puff amuse-bouche, Caesar salad with shrimp and anchovies salad course, seared scallops in a butter cream sauce appetizer, chicken picatta with caper berries and haricot verts entrèe, and even a Tahitian Vanilla-laced creamy creme brulèe for dessert!   Find it at your local wine purveyor in 187ml, 750ml, and 1.75L sizes and enjoy chilled.   I love to float raspberries or raisins in this delectable sparkler and watch my guests’ surprise to see these fruits rise and fall as the bubbles lift them up then settle them back down in a Galileo-type thermometric action.   This vino is further proof that sparkling wine is NOT just for New Years Eve! Pop it open tonight and ENJOY




** makes no claim to image ownership and reposts under Fair Use Provisions for review and critique.

Traditional method bubbles are getting more affordable these days.  When you stumble upon one that you’ve never heard of before, don’t search for an excuse to save it for a special occasion. Chill it and have it tonight.  You don’t even have to pair it with anything!  Well, when I say affordable, most budget to moderately-priced bottles (under $25) are fair game.

I’ve written about bubbles in the past: how they’re made, whats in them, etc. Some are tasty, others not so much.  How do I decide which ones to buy that I’ve never seen before?  *shrug   The label is typically no help, the dark-colored thick glass makes it impossible to see the wine…  The only senses left are taste and smell and we can’t do that if the vino is trapped in the bottle.

The wine is lightly yellow in color and the soft mousse has a curiously subtle green tinge.  Oranges, light spices and soft hints of yeast make for a pretty complex aroma. Mouth-feel is slightly sweet and the fizz is bright. Palate is fresh, tangy and more than a little complex with layers of grain drifting to the back of the nose.  The finish has a faint sourness but the yeast essence makes up for that.

I think I’ll give this a recommendation if you can find it.  Even then, its not overly rare, so expect a  price tag of ~$20/btl.

There’s no special day like today.  Cheers!



**images credit:  Google Image Search. claims no ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for product review and critique.

I’ve not sipped any bubbles since my Yuletide binge began with a ghastly Prosecco on Dec 12, 2010 and toasted the new year with Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin at the stroke of midnight, January 1st, 2011.

This special occasion is in celebration of the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I’m pursuing some international education opportunities and moving to the mid-western USA to be with my beloved partner of almost 9 years.

Why Mumm Napa?  We’re planning a winery tour for March 2012 so I thought it a good idea to explore offerings from wineries in and around the northern edge of the Napa Valley.

Once the mousse subsided, the nose is slightly yeasty, slightly spicy, and slightly floral. The dance of bubbles on the tongue assisted in delivering mid-weight mouth-feel, faint flavors of melon and lemongrass, decent acidity and a flat finish.  I was totally unimpressed with the lack of yeastiness that failed to carry through to the finish – ESPECIALLY from a vino produced in the méthode Classique.

Drinkable to be sure, but a vinoboy recommendation, not really. Pricing in Ontario, like certain Australian vinos, is injurious. I’ve seen this vino in the USA at ~$20/btl.  Here in Toronto at the LCBO, this bottle of non-vintage California Sparkling wine cost me ~$39!!



images credit – The Winery. makes no claims to ownership and republishes under fair use provisions for review and critique.

The foil and cage is removed and the cork sabraged on 2011!  This sixth part of my now-six part series on sparkling vino excitedly culminates in Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin‘s Champagne Brut.  A true champagne from Reims, France; a city surrounded by vineyards that have produced some of the world’s most coveted bubbly for over 250 years!

Loving steps were taken to ensure the serving of this ~$70/btl vino was to happen in the most optimal of conditions – chilled in an ice bucket for no more than 20 minutes; flute glasses painstakingly cleaned then cooled in the refrigerator for 20 minutes; the cat shoo’ed away even as I’m sure she thought it was her at the center of my spotlight’s attention…

5…4…3…2…1… Pop!!  Happy New Year!! 

Carefully poured into the pristinely chilled flutes to produce a mousse as fine as the most whipped of creams, to ebb revealing a 24k gold fluid dancing of its own accord with columns of minuscule bubbles that seemed to manifest from nowhere.  A bouquet of dehydrated apples caresses the nose and teases with hints of macerated vanilla bean.  Nowhere on the nose do I detect any yeastiness that is often associated with in-bottle second fermentation.

The palate is very full in the mouth with tart flavors of pear and toasty brioche but aha!  therein lies the lees – enrobing the sides of the tongue with another flavor-layer of buttery croissant delight.  The memorable finish is almost lemony in its blatant disregard for the 12% alc/vol.

As there were two bottles of this Champers circulating amongst the guests, no one noticed me taking these notes.  I hope they’re going to be checking out this vinoblog soon.  My whole series on sparkling wine; verily my entire vino-website is dedicated to Shahid.  Thank you for continually fueling my enthusiasm for all things vino and keeping me on my toes for any and all questions you and anyone may have about wine, food pairing, cellaring and the overall enjoyment of all things oenological.

Happy New Year all and may 2011 be bold and adventurous!




**image credit – ME!  My kitty, “Puddy Tat” vintage 1993 is pictured with the bottle.  The belly of the cork is then shown emblazoned with Madam Clicquot-Ponsardin’s shield. It would be folly for this unworthy vinoboy to try claiming any ownership other than my subservience to “Puddy Tat” – her meow is my order.  Labellage and symbology property of the winery; used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

Finally! We’ve made it to France!! But this sparkler isn’t a champagne.  Château de Montgueret is in the Loire Valley – that doesn’t fall in the Champagne appellation, so its not a champagne.  Still French vino to be sure just geographically challenged by a few hundred kilometers.  This fourth offering in my four-part… er… five-part holiday series is a non-vintage sparkler in the moderately priced range of ~$19/btl. The label offered not the slightest hint of the contents – one of the reasons I picked this up.

In the first part of this Sparkler Series, I recall stressing control and safety while uncorking a bottle of bubbles – use a towel to shield the cork as you ease it from the bottle.  The curious sort that I am, I went to the terrace and with my thumb, I prised the cork straight out and (POP!) let it fly!!! Got great height but it fell into a stand of evergreens on the lawn of the condo so I didn’t see it land.  Maybe I should go hunting for it to retrieve for my collection…

The mousse foamed a little upon pouring but subsided quickly as the flute was filled. Color is a modest yellow-gold with overly-large bubbles (for a methode traditionelle) fizzing from primarily the dimple at the bottom of the glass. There is a faint breath of white bread but fills the nose with tart green apples, lemony notes and honey. These flavors carry through to the dry finish making it easy to go back for more.

A tasty bit of bubbly, but not a total show-stopper.  If you’re going to try this with food, I’d suggest something buttery – like a sturdy white-fleshed fish or grilled chicken. Nothing too fancy.




**image credit – ME!  I snapped this pic after I’d finished the bottle the next morning in a Mimosa. (yeah – it went a little flatter overnight than the others I’ve tested but still tasted good with my omelet. Design and symbols property of the winery obviously.

Even though this is the fifth installment in my now-SIX part series on holiday bubbles, I’ll not be expounding much on this particular entry. Yes, ~$11/blt is in the ‘moderate priced’ category, this sparkling wine will be grouped in the ‘budget category’.

From what I can find online and in my local LCBO, MezzoMondo offers four distinct vinos: Negroamaro Salento, Sangiovese Merlot, a Sicilian Pino Grigio/Chardonnay, and this Sparkling Rosé. The Salento kicks major butt, the Sang-Merlot is decent, I’ve not tried the Pino Grigio/Chard yet and then there’s this…uhm…stuff…

I bought this hoping the previous two vino experiences were the benchmark of something wonderful.

The cork leapt from the bottle as any would but this time it felt like it truly NEEDED to be away from this one.  The mousse foamed like soapsuds and left odd webbing on the glass. There wasn’t the faintest hint of any scents on the nose, nor even on the palate. There isn’t anything I can possibly try to dredge up to say anything positive about this stuff.  The coral-pink color is very pretty to look at in the glass as it dances with bubbles the size of peas.

A very disappointing offering from MezzoMondo.

YUCK!!!!!!!  Spend the extra dollar and get something better



**image credit – a Google Images search produced a few results – I chose one and added the festive holly border.  Label and naming is naturally the property of the winery, pictured here under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

Wow!  Long name, amazing vino: “Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir South Eastern Australia Brut Cuvée”. This third offering in my four-part holiday series is another non-vintage sparkler in the moderately priced range of ~$14/btl.

This lonely bottle was hiding behind other unrelated bottles of Brut far away from the main display of Champagnes and sparkling vinos.  I adopted it immediately and checked the proper section for pricing and found none.  Whatever!  I took it to the till expecting over $25, and was pleasantly surprised at its ~$14 tag. Cha-ching!

Such a heavy bottle with a very deep punt, I made sure to be in complete control when this baby was uncorked. De-foiling, and releasing the cage was done with extra care so not to jarre the bottle to spontaneously popping; the pressure inside the bottle was palpable as I CAREFULLY coaxed the cork into motion.  POW!  This is the first bottle that frothed over upon opening…

Into a chilled glass, the mousse was more reserved than others and subsided just as carefully to present a deeply golden wine crackling with life. The bubbles were modestly-sized and pulsed from many points around the glass. Baked apple flavors dominate the entire experience from start to finish with an attractive complexity that hits mid-palate. Finish flattens out a little but still urges the next sip.

Mature, creamy and fresh, this is definitely a pleasing sipper with food or toasting solo.




**image credit – The winery, festively adorned with holly. Used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.

For these festive times, your vinoboy is offering part two in my four-part series on Champagne and sparkling vino!

This second non-vintage offering is a sparkling Brut from the Cava region of Spain. Priced at ~$13/blt, this makes it ‘moderately priced’; and as this is a traditional method sparkler, that’s a great price for a hand-riddled vino. (Please see “Glass & Grub” for what this means…)  As with Champagnes, only wines from the Cava region can be called a Spanish “Cava”.  The Codorníu winery has been producing ports and grapas since the mid 1500’s and Cava blends since the mid 1800’s.

As I am not a huge consumer of lobster and scallops and other expensive fare, I normally save the sipping of sparkling vinos for special occasions. At this price-point, a bubbly can now be popped to celebrate any triumph of the day!  Just remember not to chill it too much and mask the flavors. (also remember to uncork in a controlled manner – mustn’t pop anyone’s eye out!!)

An enthusiastic mousse subsides quickly to reveal a moderately gold hue with small bubbles that emanate from only a few points on the inside surface of the flute. An interesting fruity nose is of  apples and pears; not something I’d’ve expected from a bottle second fermentation.  It medium body has flavors of crisp apples and under-ripe pears that carry through to the finish; the effervescence fills the mouth with a soft toasty sensation that’s rather cleansing.

A decent whole meal vino with crackers&cream cheese to start, clam chowder second, roast Cornish hens with an apple&walnut stuffing and a simple dessert of pot-de-Mascarpone & fig preserves.

Startlingly pleasant bubbly and one I have never tried until today. Would certainly recommend.




**image credit – found on a Google Images search, then edited in Adobe Photoshop to add the festive holly trim. There are so many bottle portraits out there, take your pick.

YAY!!  The holiday season is upon us and to celebrate, your vinoboy is offering a four-part tasting series on Champagne and Sparkling wine.

My first offering is this sparkling Prosecco Brut from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy. Priced at ~$12/blt, this makes it a ‘moderately priced’ vino. and though not exactly specified on the label, I can probably conclude this is a Charmat-method sparkler.  (Please see “Glass & Grub” for what this means…)  As with Champagnes, only wines from the Prosecco region can be called “Prosecco”.

For me, I reserve bubbles for sipping on their own.  Unless the wine is totally nasty, will it be used for Mimosas or sparkling punches.

Remember to NOT over-chill sparkling wine – 30 minutes in the freezer or ice bucket is plenty! Over-chilling will make the cork difficult to remove.  WARNING!!! Do not let corks fly from the mouth of the bottle with reckless abandon unless you’re outside and point it skyward! A well-trained host will ALWAYS ease the cork from a bottle of bubbles with a clean white towel.  The pressure inside the bottle can propel a cork with great enthusiasm and may hit someone or even break something like a window or picture frame – so be careful.

Cutting to the chase, this vino is a sparkling punch sort.  An ample mousse balloons in the glass to subside quickly – revealing an ever-so-pale yellow  glinting with a subtle pinkness whose moderately-sized bubbles rise in even columns. The nose is that of melted plastic and petrol with notes of marshmallow and Castor sugar. Medium-sweet on the palate, this sweetness is the only sensation other than the fizz.

If this vino is to be used to toast the instant of the occasion and drained by your already-half-wasted guests, perfect.  If it is to accompany a food course, forget it.

Bottega Il Vino dei Poeti Prosecco 2010 from the Veneto region of Northeast Italy.

Happy Holiday Toasting!



**image credit – Ontario distribution agent, Noble Estates.  Product copyright and wholly owned by the producer: Distilleria Bottega, Bibano di Godega, Italia Used under Fair Use provisions for review and critique.