Gusbourne English Sparkling wine. Only in Toronto. Pity…
It’s still a rare bird around these parts. But English sparkling wine is popping up with regularity. And when Cactus Club wine guru Sebastien LeGoff hands you a glass of crisp Gisbourne Blanc de Blancs 2013 (so far available only in Toronto) you know something’s up. Here’s to more English sparkling in 2018. Although I know that Nyetimber’s also around, it would be nice to find even a couple more producers out there. Anybody listening?
Based on these and other tastings, here are my last-minute sparkling picks for New Year or any time of year. These wines are all good value for money. (There’s even one here for Uncle Fred!) You’ll find a few of them are hold-overs from last year’s picks. I make no apologies. Those wines are stalwarts in my opinion. And they’re always on my ‘go-to’ list.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve
Yes, I’ll confess to a certain bias for this house and its style. But it just seems to get better every time I try it. From the toasty brioche and tropical aromas to the quite substantial and well textured palate there’s a seamlessness and finesse to this Champagne that, for me, makes it textbook. BCLS $69.99 92 pts.
Blue Mountain Brut Rosé 2013
Arguably one of the best sparkling méthode traditionelle rosés you’ll find anywhere. A classic blend of mainly Pinot Noir with Chardonnay sports a stream of fine bubbles with lively mousse, lifted strawberry and cherry notes with a gently earthy hint before a well structured palate defined by good acidity and citrus notes. $32.90 91 pts
Agusti Torello Mata Cava Brut Reserva 2013.
Vintage Cava takes things to the next level. A blend of indigenous Macabeu, Xarello and Parellada delivers fine bubbles, toasty notes on top with a hint of sage, followed by a well balanced apple toned palate with a touch of citrus, good mouthfeel and acidity with a lengthy end. BCLS $29.49, 91 pts.
Bottega Prosecco DOC Treviso Il Vino Dei Poeti Brut
Up front floral and orchard fruits with a vibrant stream of bubbles and good mousse precede a rounded and gently creamy palate of apple, citrus and pear notes through a lingering close. 90 pts. BCLS $17.49
Bottega Prosecco Superiore DOCG Treviso Il Vino Dei Poeti Gold Brut
From all Valdobianne grapes, persistent, fine bubbles in the glass with up front white flower, citrus and orchard notes before a gently creamy, mouth-filling, well structured palate with apple, pear and almond hints before a lingering gently zesty finish. BCLS $27.49 91 pts.
Anna Spinato Spumante Brut Rosé Organic
Great value for an organic sparkler. A lively stream of bubbles yields a solid mousse. Red fruit and floral notes precede a subtle, raspberry and strawberry toned palate. Fun and flexible. BCLS $15.99 90 pts.
Anna Spinato Moscato Organic
Excellent, off dry but not too sweet Moscato with fresh and fruity personality, citrus and stone fruit on top before a gentle peach and lemon toned zesty palate makes for the perfect partner to custard and pastry desserts. BCLS $15.99, 90 pts.
Parés Baltà Cava Brut
Dedicated organic producer uses bees to pollinate and sheep to graze and fertilize its vineyards. Floral on top, more subtle, rounded and creamy, toasty notes, quite light on the palate—and certified organic. PWS $22 90 pts.
Haywire The Bub.
Arguably the best Bub to date sports fine persistent bubbles, a yeasty toasty top, with citrus and leesy notes on the palate plus pleasing ‘pinosity’ and mouthfeel, all wrapped up with a mineral background, lively acidity and strong finish. $29.90 92 pts.
Villa Conchi Cava Brut Seleccion.
Good value Cava shows up front toasty notes and orchard fruits before a clean and fruity palate with apple and citrus notes. BCLS $16.99 89 pts.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva
IMHO, the best mid-priced Cava in the market, and one of the most consistent for a mega producer. It’s the fallback fizz in our house, as you get a pretty decent wine for the dollars. Good mousse, citrus and tropical notes with just the right amount of heft and acidity to make it a truly flexible food partner for everything from curry to crab. BCLS $15.99 90 pts.
Villa Sandi Il Fresco Rosato Spumante Brut NV
Light and lively blend of Glera and other local grapes delivers plenty of bubbles with appealing apple notes on top before a subtle citrus toned palate and crisp, clean end. Everything Wine 17.49 89 pts.
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut
The perfect party quaffer, easy sipping bubble with orchard notes before apple and citrus hints on the fresh palate before a good close. BCLS $12.99 89 pts