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blog swirl & savor

Bubbles to Ponder for the New Year

Beth Ribblett

We adore bubbles here at Swirl!  And while we love our selection of Franciacorta and both small grower and select big house Champagnes, we carry 50+ different types of bubblies from all over the world, priced from $10 to $150.  Here are just a few of our fave's but I wish I could list them all!  

As a warning, if you are looking for those popular bottles with the bright orange labels or white stars, you won't find them here.  We focus on smaller production alternatives for those who want to venture out and drink unique, high-quality bubbles.  But never fear, if you are set on those recognizable bottles, we can send you right next door to the grocery store - Canseco's!  

Favorites from Around the World Under $25
2011 Argyle Brut, 91 points Wine Advocate
The 2011 Brut is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay undergoing a 5% malolactic fermentation and disgorged in September 2014. It was matured in 20% neutral oak and 80% stainless steel. It has a vibrant citrus-driven bouquet that is well defined and offers a little touch of peach with aeration. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, touches of brioche and pineapple with a fresh, vivacious finish. Excellent - and great value, too. 

Zardetto Conegliano, Prosecco Brut
One of our most popular dry Prosecco sparkling wines which comes from the classic Prosecco region of Veneto, Italy. The floral, peach aromas and crisp, refreshing palate makes this ideal for parties. This is everything you want a Prosecco to be!

NV Marie-Pierre Manciat Cremant de Bourgogne, 91 points, Wine Advocate
The dry, sparkling non-vintage Cremant de Bourgogne (100% Chardonnay) offers up notes of orange blossoms, tangerine oil and lemon rind. Fresh, lively, medium-bodied, penetrating and long, this is a sensational value in sparkling Chardonnay.  Some sensational values have emerged from Marie-Pierre Manciat.

Vallformosa Florinda Cava
From some of Vallformosa’s oldest vines planted over the first half of the 20th century and having spent 12 months on its lees, this is a stunning mouthful and a great expression of what is seductive about Cava de Penedés. Fragrant and fresh apricot pastry with candied flowers and a dry, chalk like minerality on the palate with a tangy finish

Jean Baptiste Audy Cremant de Bordeaux
Creamy Cremant de Bordeaux with a delicate mousse of bubbles. A Bordelaise speciality made in the same way as Champagne with flavors of lime, pear and quince underpinned by subtle hints of white cherry blossom, walnuts and caramel. Very aromatic and well balanced. A nice long frothy finish.

A Few Favorites from Franciacorta & Champagne, $30 - $50
Barone Pizzini Franciacorta Brut Animante, 90 points Wine Advocate
Made with organically-farmed fruit, the non-vintage Franciacorta Brut Animante is a plush and textured sparkling wine that peels back slowly to reveal aromas of peach, honeydew melon, pear and Golden Delicious apple. Crisp acidity helps to create a mouthfeel that is light, tonic and graced with a great sense of energy and brightness. The wine presents mild textural richness that suggests immediate or near-term drinking window. The blend is 78% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Nero and 4% Pinot Bianco. 

Champagne Voirin Jumel Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Bru, 91 points Vinous
Bright gold. Emphatically fruity on the nose and palate, offering fresh pear, nectarine and orange zest aromas and flavors. Juicy and open-knit, with suave floral and sweet butter qualities emerging on the back half, along with a hint of melon. This very expressive blanc de blancs finishes smoky and penetrating, with a suggestion of chalky minerality gaining power.

Montenisa Franciacorta Brut, 90 points Wine Advocate
Lightly toasted and yeasty, the non-vintage Franciacorta Brut shows rich layers of pear, dried apricots and preserved lemon. It delivers medium body with crisp freshness and detailed perlage that feels smooth and creamy on the palate. The blend is Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and a small part Pinot Nero for added aromatics.

Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur , 91 points Vinous
Light yellow. Lively, sharply focused lemon and green apple aromas pick up deeper melon and peach qualities with air. Spicy and precise on the palate, offering juicy citrus fruit and honeysuckle flavors and a touch of candied fig. Powerful yet lively, finishing with strong punch and building mineral and floral qualities. This suave Champagne has the heft to handle rich foods and the tension to work by itself.

Ca del Bosco Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige Brut, 91 points Robert Parker
The NV Franciacorta Cuvée Prestige Brut offers a sophisticated and stylish presentation with exotic fruit, baked bread, peach cobbler and Golden Delicious apple. This pretty Cuvée (made with 75% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Bianco and 15% Pinot Nero) offers a great sense of richness and creaminess that adds to the fine and silky nature of the perlage. It has the natural acidity and bright freshness to pair with raw seafood.

Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain, 91 points Vinous
Light gold. Lees-accented orchard and citrus fruit aromas are complicated by sweet butter, iodine and smoky minerals. Dry and expansive on the palate, offering lively pear and melon flavors and a refreshingly bitter touch of orange pith. Ample but lithe brut, with very good finishing punch and repeating smoke and pear qualities.

And Some Very Special Bottles, $50+
Champagne Egly-Ouriet Grand Cru V P Extra-Brut, 95 points Vinous
The NV Extra Brut Grand Cru V.P. (Vieillissement Prolongé), Egly -Ouriet's from Ambonnay, A towering, deeply expressive wine, the V.P. possesses stunning depth to match its spherical, textured personality. As is the custom here, the V.P. spent 76 months on its lees, yet it remains vibrant, poised and deeply refreshing. A host of chalk, white pepper, dried rose petal and red stone fruits wrap around the intense finish. Aging in oak shapes the wine beautifully here. What a gorgeous Champagne this is.

2011 Ferghettina Franciacorta Rose Brut, 90 points Wine Advocate
The 2011 Franciacorta Rosé Brut (100% Pinot Nero) is on the informal side of the Franciacorta sparkling wine spectrum, but it also delivers loads of delicious fruit freshness. This attractive rosé sparkler offers a food-friendly personality that would pair with seafood, grilled tuna or sushi. The wine is fresh, forthcoming and versatile. Crisp acidity and silky perlage appears on the close. This wine sees 36 months of sur lies aging. 

Champagne J. Lassalle Brut Rose, 92 points Vinous
The NV Brut Rosé Premier Cru is wonderfully complex in the glass. Sweet red cherry, stone fruits, flowers, mint  nd spices inform a supple, expressive Rosé endowed with considerable appeal. The nuanced, refined finish only adds to the wine approachability and pure pleasure. Bouzy and Verzenay, is stellar. 

Champagne H Goutorbe Special Club Millésime Grand Cru Brut 2005, 93 points Robert Parker
The H Goutorbe Special Club Millésime Grand Cru Brut is made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay picked from fairly old vines cultivated in Aÿ. My sample (which I tasted at the Trésor Club degustation in Reims earlier this year) was disgorged in March 2014. It is a full-bodied, rich and well-structured champagne with intensity but also purity, freshness, finesse and elegance of fruit. The finish is impressive and powerful, and indicates a good aging potential. 

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Extra-Brut Cuvée Oenophile 2005, 93 points Vinous
The 2005 Extra-Brut Cuvée Oenophile is striking in its beauty. Honey, almonds, tangerine and wild flowers inform the 2005 Cuvée Oenophile. A deep, rich, resonant wine, the 2005 impresses for its intensity and purity. The 2005 spent 84 months on the lees, which gives the wine great richness and intensity. Dosage was only 1 gram per liter. Oenophile is a blend of parcels in Chouilly, Cramant, Cuis and Oger.