Wine

Bubbliest from $15 to $90 to toast the 2013

 

fredtaskerwine@gmail.com

It’s going to be important to properly celebrate the departure of good-riddance 2012 and the arrival of hope-springs-eternal 2013. A suitable toast comes from that prolific writer “Anon.,” who penned: “May the best of this year be the worst of next.”

Of course, the beverage of choice for toasts is bubbly — champagne, sparkling wine, cava, sekt, spumante — any kind, from any place, at any price. Use a tall, slim flute, so you can watch the bubbles rise.

Be careful, though. Researchers at the University of Surrey in England did an experiment with a dozen partygoers and concluded that bubbly gets you tipsy and silly more quickly than still wine, although they couldn’t say exactly why.

Here’s an upbeat toast from Oprah Winfrey: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Highly recommended

2004 Gloria-Ferrer Carneros Cuvee, Carneros (55 percent pinot noir, 45 percent chardonnay): aromas of fresh-baked brioche and vanilla, persistent tiny bubbles, ripe pear flavors, long, creamy finish; $60.

Nonvintage Gloria-Ferrer VA de VI, Carneros (89 percent pinot noir, 8 percent chardonnay, 3 percent muscat): lightly sweet from muscat grapes, ripe peach and apricot flavors, tart finish; $22.

2002 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Rosé, Epernay, France (51 percent pinot noir, 28 percent chardonnay, 21 percent pinot meunier): persistent foam, amber color, rich strawberry flavors, opulent, long finish; $65.

Nonvintage Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, Reims, France 1/3 pinot noir, 1/3 chardonnay, 1/3 pinot meunier): myriad tiny bubbles, opulent aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, cherries and hazelnuts; $65.

Nonvintage Champagne Bollinger, Special Cuvee (60 percent pinot noir, 25 percent chardonnay, 15 percent pinot meunier): toasty, yeasty aroma, myriad tiny, persistent bubbles, flavors of apple pie and peach tart, firm structure, long finish; $90.

Recommended

Nonvintage Gloria-Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, Carneros (92 percent pinot noir, 8 percent chardonnay): lots of tiny bubbles, black cherry flavors, tart finish; $22.

Nonvintage Gloria-Ferrer Sonoma Brut, Sonoma (91.2 percent pinot noir, 8.8 percent chardonnay): hazelnut aromas, flavors of golden apples, firm structure; $22.

2004 Gloria-Ferrer Royal Cuvee, Carneros (67 percent pinot noir, 33 percent chardonnay) yeasty aroma, ripe pear and caramel flavors, persistent bubbles; $32.

2008 Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Brut, North Carolina (100 percent chardonnay): energetic bubbles, flavors of mangoes and lemons; $25.

Nonvintage Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut, Franciacorta, Italy (60 percent chardonnay, 30 percent pinot blanc, 10 percent pinot noir): lively froth, bread dough aromas, flavors of lemons and limes; $20.

2002 Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage, Epernay, France (51 percent chardonnay, 26 percent pinot noir, 23 percent pinot meunier): yeasty aroma, persistent bubbles, flavors of hazelnuts and ripe apricots, long finish; $58.

Nonvintage Anna de Codorniu Brut, Penedes, Spain (70 percent chardonnay, 30 percent parellada): lots of active bubbles, aromas of camellias, rich lemon and pineapple flavors, $15.

Nonvintage Woodbridge Sparkling Wine by Robert Mondavi, California (100 percent chardonnay): active bubbles, fruity, lightly sweet flavor of lemons and apricots; $10.

2007 Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs, Napa Valley (90 percent chardonnay, 10 percent pinot gris): yeasty, toasty aroma, flavors of hazelnuts, vanilla and citrus, long finish; $20.

Nonvintage Domaine Ste. Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling Wine, Columbia Valley, Wash: lots of persistent bubbles, fairly sweet, aromas and flavors of golden delicious apples; $11.

2007 Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Rosé, Franciacorta, Italy (65 percent pinot noir, 35 percent chardonnay): big bubbles, aromas and flavors of red berries; $18.

Nonvintage Gustave Lorentz Cremant d’Alsace Brut, France (1/3 chardonnay, 1/3 pinot blanc, 1/3 pinot noir): yeasty aroma, light and crisp, with green apple and mineral flavors; $25.

Fred Tasker has retired from The Miami Herald but is still writing about wine for the McClatchy News Service. He can be reached at fredtaskerwine@gmail.com.

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