Saturday, November 20, 2010

champagne wishes and caviar dreams ... literally

So yesterday I had the pleasure of trying a few sparkling wines with the #SDWM. If you don't know what the #SDWM stands for, that's probably for the best ... because if you knew, I would have to kill you. See my face right there? I'm that serious, people.
Anyway, there were a few hits and a few misses; as well as several sparkling wines (and some tasty looking caviar) I wasn't able to try because I had to go to work at Bencotto Italian Kitchen. Not to mention the fact that I'm vegetarian, but alas. Here are my notes from those wines.
The first was Iron Horse Vineyards 2005 Ocean Reserve Estate Bottled Sparkling Wine from Sonoma County ($40). Not to sound corny, but the nose was a bit salty. It was only after having a couple classic potato chips from Trader Joe's that I was able to lessen the scent. There were also some herbal notes on the nose, mainly basil with a bit of mustard seed. The mouth started out rather dry, with strong herbal notes and minerals (limestone and river rock). It then finished with some green apple and a slightly bittersweet aftertaste that lingered for a bit. I enjoyed the wine, but it was a little dry for me. I can be pretty forgiving of a dry wine, but this one pushed the envelope a bit.
The next wine I tasted was the Valdo Prosecco Non-Vintage Brut from Italy ($10). The nose on this one was quite complex: golden delicious apples, a bit of lavender water, river rocks and a tint of sweet grass as well. The nose was incredibly fruity. The mouth was rich, acidic and crisp, full of bubbly goodness. There were grassy notes on the beginning with strong green and red apples as it continued on the palate. For some strange reason (and I was the only one who tasted this) this sparkling wine kept finishing with flavors of baked cinnamon and pie crust. I imagine this sparkling wine would have been perfect with an apple pie. It's very easy to enjoy, with a crisp acidity and that fabulously bizarre apple pie finish that just made me think.
The third, which I tasted blindly out of a paper bag, was the Mumm Napa Blanc de Blanc 2006 from Napa Valley ($20). The nose was incredibly light and subtle, with honeydew melon and not much else to detect ... other than the slightest whiff of gasoline. The sparkling tasted of honeydew, limestock and the strong night air right before a thunderstorm. Almost where you can taste the electricity and tension. Sadly, it wasn't enough to blow me away. It was good, but not very memorable on my palate. Kind of finished too quickly.
The final sparkling wine, which was also tasted blindly out of a paper bag, was the sublime Champagne Delamotte 1999 Blanc de Blancs from, well, Champagne, France ($95). The nose had mineral notes with some light melon and a strong scent of spearmint leaf. The mouth was actually very multidimensional. Albeit it was a little bitter on the beginning, it carried through into a delicious flavor of orange peel, melon, a bit of Bitters with a floral finish and a bit of vanilla carrying through. It stayed for a very long time on my palate, made quite the impression on my taste buds. I know it's an expensive wine, so it's one I would only recommend for more of those special occasions. It's a classically-styled, well-rounded Champagne that would leave anyone satisfied.


  1. Perfect! You wrote about all the wines I didn't get to taste so now I know what I missed. Except the Delamotte, which I loved but not sure I'd pay $95. Sorry we crossed paths!

  2. Yeah, that was only a few of the wines tasted that evening, because I had to leave for work. When I came back there were at least 14 empty bottles ... all different! I came back to a very happy SDWM. Are you gonna be there for December?

  3. I'm a wine neophyte still (my alcohol tolerance is abysmal and well I'm allergic) but I loveee prosecco. :)

    And you DO look quite serious in that picture ;)

  4. Prosecco is very pleasant, I've found it's really easy to like it. It's not one of those wines where it's a love it or hate it, it's pretty constant enjoyment. I'm sorry you're allergic - my sister used to be allergic to alcohol, but she built her tolerance over time. Hopefully that might work for you too :).