Sparkling Wine - It Goes with Everything!

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As we continue through the holiday season, the question of ‘which wine to buy?’ is constantly on our minds. And, the answer in any situation can always be ‘Sparkling wine!”

Yes, sparking wines are maybe the most versatile wines out there. For brunch, sparking wine is an obvious answer. If you are having an early evening hors d'oeuvre party featuring anything from popcorn to caviar, sparking wine is the answer. A steak, chicken, pork or seafood dinner - they all work with sparkling wines. And, yes, desserts go great with sparkling wines.

By the way, try serving your sparkling wine in a white wine glass. After all, it’s a white wine. And a standard white wine glass will allow you to enjoy the sparkling wine while also allowing you to experience all the wonderful aromas that a flute precludes.

So, whether you are splurging on the real-deal Champagne from France, or simply opening a bottle of Cava, Prosecco or any other sparkling wine, know that it will go with everything this holiday season, and all year long. Cheers!

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava NV ($15)

Vilarnau is a small artisanal handcrafted Cava house located just outside Barcelona Spain.

This Cava is made the traditional way with 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarello. It is a dry Cava with soft fruity flavors. It is classified as a "Reserva" because it was aged for 15 months.

The bottle art honors the winery's Catalon roots with avant-garde imagery of Antoni Gaudi.

Vilarnau is one of several family-owned wineries of Gonzáles Byass. Established in 1835, their wineries span across most of the important wine producing regions of Spain.

This Vilarnau Brut Reserva Cava is a perfect bubbly for the any occassion and goes well with most any food or snack (works really well with popcorn!).

Give it a try. It's a really nice Cava and, as with all Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week features, a great value.

Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week

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Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava ($16)

Vilarnau is a small artisanal handcrafted Cava house located just outside Barcelona Spain.

This Cava is made from Trepat, a red-wine grape variety indigenous to northeastern Spain, and Pinot Noir. It is a dry Cava with delicate flavors. It is classified as a "Reserva" because it was aged for 15 months.

The bottle art honors the winery's Catalon roots with avant-garde imagery of Antoni Gaudi.

Vilarnau is one of several family-owned wineries of Gonzáles Byass. Established in 1835, their wineries span across most of the important wine producing regions of Spain.

This Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava is a perfect bubbly for the holidays and beyond. I'm thinking about this one again for Valentine's Day!

Give it a try. It's a really nice Cava and, as with all Behind the Cork™ - Wine of the Week features, a great value.


Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sample Provided by Donna White Communications

Consider a Cava for the Holidays

Looking for a good, affordable bottle of bubbly for the holidays? Consider Cava.

Cava is a sparkling wine from Spain with a lot of similarity to French Champagne. In fact, the Spanish bubbly was called Champaña in Spain until the 1970s when French regulations were put into place to limit the use of the word Champagne to only those wines produced in the Champagne region of France.  So, the Spanish re-named their sparkling wine for the caves or cellars where the sparkling wine was kept for aging. Thus came the name Cava.

Like Champagne, Cava is produced in the 'Traditional Method' where secondary fermentation is done in the bottle. This is how the bubbles are naturally formed since this second fermentation also converts sugar to alcohol using yeast, but the resulting CO2 is trapped in the bottle, producing the carbonation.

Unlike French Champagne, Cava is produced with the Macabeu, Xarello and Paralleda grapes.  But Cava surprisingly has a very similar taste to Champagne, much more so than the highly popular Prosecco.  But the best thing about Cava is its price. You can find a nice bottle for under $20.

Like Champagne, Cava is produced in various levels of sweetness:

  • Brut Nature -- Up to 3 grams of sugar/liter
  • Extra Brut -- Up to 6 grams/liter
  • Brut -- Up to 15 grams/liter
  • Extra Seco -- Between 12 - 20 grams/liter
  • Seco -- Between 17-35 grams/liter
  • Semi-Seco -- Between 33-50 grams/liter
  • Dulce -- More than 50 grams/liter

You can also find Cava Reserva which is aged an additional 6 months (for a total of 15 months) over the standard Cava (9 months of aging) and Cava Gran Reserva which is aged a total of 30 months.

Cava is a great alternative to Champagne and a wonderful sparkling wine to enjoy during the holidays (and year-round!).  Chill a bottle and enjoy. Cheers!

Source: https://EverWonderWine.com

'Tis the Season for Sparkling Wine!

Everybody loves sparkling wine. It's festive. And this is the time of the year that a lot of sparking wine is served.

Sparkling wine consumption in the U.S. surges during the holiday season. It is estimated that more than 40% of sparkling wine purchases occur in the final 12 weeks of the year, with more than 25% coming in the last four weeks leading up to New Year's Eve.

There are many choices when it comes to sparking wines. Champagne is a sparkling wine that is produced in the relatively small region of Champagne in France. Only those sparkling wines produced in this region are allowed to be labeled as 'Champagne.'  And an entry-level bottle of Champagne is going to start in the $50 range.

The various styles of Champagne can be confusing. As a reminder, here are the styles and their percent of residual sugar (RS):

  • Extra Brut: 0-6% RS
  • Brut: 0-15% RS
  • Extra Dry: 12-20% RS
  • Dry: 17-35% RS
  • Demi Sec: 35-50% RS
  • Doux: Greater than 50% RS

If you enjoy a dry (low RS) sparkling wine look for Cava from Spain. It's produced using the same method as Champagne. Cava is produced in the Catalonia region of Spain where Barcelona is located.  Nice bottles of Cava can be purchased for around $15.

In the U.S., there are a tremendous number of makers of sparkling wine. Most will produce a wine that can taste very much like the French Champagne. And, you can also find these sparkling wines infused with fruit flavors such as peach and nut flavors such as almond.  An entry-level bottle of sparking wine in the U.S. can start around $10.

If you prefer sparkling wine with a more fruity and floral character, look for Prosecco from Italy. It's their signature sparkling wine. Produced in the Veneto region just north of Venice, this sparkling wine usually produces big bubbles in your glass. Bottles of Prosecco can be purchased in the $10- $15 range.

Asti is another popular sparking wine from Italy. It is produced in the Piedmont (peh-ah-MON-tey) region from the Moscato Bianco grape. Both Moncato d'Asti and Asti sparkling wines can be found in the $10-$15 range

And, if you happen to have heard about pétillant-naturel—more affectionately known as “pét-nat”— you know that this is another sparking wine option. One that I'll address in more detail next time. 

So here's to raising a glass of bubbly during the holiday season. Cheers!