T.G.I.F. Champagne and the like – 2008 Korbel Riesling Champagne

California sparkling wine traces its roots back to Sonoma in the 1880s with the founding of Korbel Champagne Cellars.  Today, Korbel sells the largest volume of  sparkling wine made in the méthode champenoise in the U.S.  There is always of bit of controversy around Korbel because it continues to refer to it’s product as “California Champagne”, whereas most U.S. producers of sparkling wine refer to their products as such.   Purists insist that Champagne, only comes form the Champagne region of France.  Korbel’s wines while not great, generally provide good value in my opinion.

2008 Korbel Riesling Champagne

2008 Korbel Riesling Champagne


100% Riesling

$11-22, 12% abv

Production method: Méthode Champenoise; Stainless steel fermentation/aging; Disgorged 2008

My tasting notes follow:

Very light color, almost clear.  It offers aromas of lychee, spice, a touch of dry bread dough, and as I sat with it a bit, a hint of petrol (not unusual for a Riesling).  Abundant, but not particularly fine bead give the wine a bit of a harsh texture.  I picked up pear, lychee, and spice flavors.   A tad bit sweeter than off-dry, but not cloying with a refreshing average finish.  This one would be nice, fun change of pace, especially if you’re looking for something a bit sweeter that will plays well with spicy foods. At $22, I think it’s overpriced, but it can be found for less.

In terms of food pairing; you get a double dose of versatility on this one.  Sparking wines are naturally versatile food wine because of their effervescence, and acidity.  With this one, you also get food pairing versatility inherent to Riesling.  Try this one with Spicy Thai, Chinese, or Jerk Chicken or Pork.  A  Spicy Pork Tenderloins with Uniq Fruit Salsa also comes to mind.  Click to buy.

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“California Champagne” is now illegal, right?