The holidays brings out some wines I don’t drink very often through out the year. Sparkling wine of any sort is not a wine I drink often and I’m not sure quite why; it’s almost always under great or ‘in keeping with tradition’ settings corks are popping. Sales of sparkling wine after a tough two-years are on the rise; we all might be seeing more sparkling wine on our tables in near future. Oh, and it’s New Years tomorrow. What could you be drinking?
A wine which has been on my list for more than five months but could never close a sale on myself was Trader Joes’ Grand Reserve – 2006 Sparkling Wine Demi-Sec – Napa Valley. But things are going great as of late, I did my homework on this wine and it’s the holidays; I bought this one after my shift.
This is a $16 sparkling wine. Some gawk at that (too high/low) price; to me it’s in the middle. I’d spend much more for a truly spectacular sparkling wine after tasting it, but I’d gamble under $10 random selection, so I put in extra moves to ensure I get a good mid-priced wine without tasting it first.
The Wine: Demi-Sec is a medium “half-dry” sweet Champagne which often can be referred to as a Crémant if its origin is outside of the Champagne region, but adheres to the traditional Methode Champagnoise production process. Similar to my post on Meritage, Crémant is a designation of which carries certain high standards and expectations. Wikipedia turned up a decent introduction to Crémant. It’s given sweetness often through the use of Chardonnay grapes. Cool. Here’s a Wine Dork Chart if you really care to learn about how residual sugar (RS) determines how ‘dry’ or ‘sweet’ different kinds of sparkling are.
The Experience: The cork fit very snuggly into the bottle and took some extra work to free it hearing the classic popping sound. The bubble display was everpresent and was absolutely surrounded an inviting crisp golden color. You can tell this wine has seen a rich dose of oak barrel aging and probably has both aged Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay. The nose with apricot/pear preserve, apple cider layers also reflects the described wine’s appearance with the addition grassy notes to it which remind me I’m not about to drink Cook’s ($2?).
The flavor and wine are richer than I’m used to in a Brut driven market and wine section. I recently had an aged Gewürztraminer from Napa and this reminded me of that – mild salt water taffy qualities to the preserved apricot/pear, apple cider and honey flavors with emerging and slowly fading thick bubbles. Sweet, but not too sweet. Savory.
This wine’s origin is from a very well known Napa source. If you came into my store, you wouldn’t have to look very far from the TJ’s Grand Reserve to find its brother and sister from the same winery and $15 more. I like wine deals, a lot.
Bottom Line: Give-A-Try/Buy-A-Case: Are you staying at home this NYE? Make this the after dinner Crémant to be slowly work on a long countdown to midnight. It’s a rich and heavier sparkling wine, which might be a new experience for many. This bottle and dark bitter chocolate could be dessert. Or if you’re cooking up some spicy Asian food, this would pair very well with it. Sometimes it’s worth splashing out $16 bucks, this wine is one of those times. I love finding something different, good and fairly priced.
Question: When are you enjoying some sort of sparkling wine this NYE? With dinner? After dinner? At midnight? All night?!
Wine Dork Info:
- Alcohol: 13%
- pH: 2.91
- SO2: 35ppm
- TA: 8.8 g/L
- RS: <3.5g/L
- Fining Agent: None