Thursday, December 31. 2015
From classic Champagne to Spanish Cava through lighter Italian Prosecco, numerous New World choices and, of course, Nova Scotia’s own startlingly good Traditional Method bubble, there has never been a wider range of sparklers to choose from than there is today.
Among the classic Champagnes available at the NSLC, I particularly recommend: Louis Roederer Brut Premier $69.29 (Port of Wines Selection), Bollinger Special Cuvée $74.99 (Special Price $4 off – Port of Wines Selection), Deutz Brut Classic $64.99 (Port of Wines Selection) and Pol Roger Brut $64.99 (General List). Bishop’s Cellar, Bishop’s Landing in Halifax also has an excellent selection of Champagne and other well-chosen sparkling wines, including those from Nova Scotia. It is worth browsing through their website to see what they have to offer.
Scanning the NSLC’s General List, my first choice for inexpensive but very well-made party bubble is Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay Pinot Noir Brut $13.99. It will please even discerning palates and nothing decent can match it for price. Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut $14.29, in its familiar black bottle, is a steady performer which will not disappoint. Among the fine Nova Scotia offerings on the General List look for L’Acadie Vineyards Vintage Cuvée $27.00, L’Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut $33.99 and Blomidon Estate Crémant $24.99. This one has a very light touch of sweetness and somewhat gentler spritz on the palate.
NSLC Port of Wines selections available at larger store around Metro include Louis Bouillot Perle d’Aurore Rosé Crémant de Bourgogne $28.29. Made in the Traditional Method, bottle-fermented style, this Pinot Noir Gamay blend is stunningly good, offering Champagne style sophistication at a much more affordable price. Benjamin Bridge Sparkling Rosé $44.99 is another elegant Traditional Method gem from Nova Scotia. It is also available at the Kentville, Wolfville and New Minas stores in the Annapolis Valley.
In recent years Prosecco, the lighter, lower alcohol fizz from Northeastern Italy, has become enormously popular. There are now numerous examples available from both the NSLC and Private Wine Stores. Typically, they offer clean apple fruit with good acidity and a touch of sweetness, though some drier styles are beginning to emerge.
The best and most authentic Prosecco comes from the hilly region between Conigliano and Valdobbiadene, not far north of Venice. Bolla Conigliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOC Superiore is on the NSLC General List and widely available. Villa Sandi is also located near Valdobbiadene and their Villa Sandi Il Fresco Prosecco, is on the NSLC General List and comes in convenient 375ml bottles priced at $9.99. Most NSLC stores offer at least a couple of Prosecco labels and they are generally quite reliable in quality.
Cristall Wine Merchants in Sunnyside Mall, Bedford, does not have a wide selection of sparkling wines but they do offer a personal favourite, Villa Teresa Organic Prosecco DOC priced at $19.99.
A Very Happy New Year to All!