Thursday, December 13, 2012

Extreme Holiday Value - Varichon & Clerc Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is for some reason almost never on my radar which, I suppose, is the same for a lot of folks. It creeps back into our consciousness when special occasions are at hand and, like now, when the holidays are upon us. There's so many choices with regards to sparklers nowadays that it can be hard to decide which way to go. As far as inexpensive sparkling wine goes, there's the domestics, some of which are wonderful if slightly to the sweeter side. Some people prefer that style. There's the Italian Proseccos, many of which are very good and also more to the fruity side. And there's the Spanish Cavas, which are usually a bit drier and nuttier than the aforementioned wines. Champagne of course, real champagne, is the benchmark for sparkling wine.

My favorite value sparkler hands down though is a little known wine formerly made in the foothills of the French Alps, but now made in Burgundy by Varichon & Clerc. Made via the Champagne method as it is called, where the secondary fermentation takes place in bottle after the addition of yeast and sugar, the result is the effervescence. This wine is non-vintage, which means that a blend of vintages make up the still wine that forms the base for this bottling, and three grapes make up the wine, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc. It retails at my local store for just $9.99. The bubbles are small and the aromas are dominated by nutty/yeasty tones with supporting elements of apple and lime zest. It's got a wonderful steely mouth feel and taut white fruit and toast flavors backed by zingy acidity. Imported by one of my favorites, Maximum Wine Co. , this wine is absolutely a great value at this price point. And it's a nice package also. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

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