A Taste of Nieto Senetiner Wines

As a wine writer, I receive offers for free wine samples from time to time (a nice perk since making any meaningful money is almost impossible – but then again, I do it for love…). Most of the offers are for a bottle or two. Rarely do I receive more than three or four bottles of wine.  So, imagine my surprise when I received eight bottles of Nieto Senetiner wine from  Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines!

About Nieto Senentiner

The history of Bodegas Nieto Senetiner dates back to 1888, when Italian immigrants founded it and planted the first vineyards to European grape varieties in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, a province of Mendoza.
Over the first decades of the last century, the winery was run by several families including Spanish immigrant Don Nicanor Nieto, who succeeded in passing on the secret of fine winemaking and the love for their land.  These families gave the winery an architectural style of the Italian countryside that still remains today.
Over the years, the European grape varieties gave way to Malbec, and Bonarda (a.k.a. Charbono), which dominate the region’s vineyards today.
In 1969 it is acquired by the families Nieto and Senetiner, who expanded the facilities signalling the beginning of a new stage of growth and brand development. In 1998 it becomes part of the Grupo de Negocios de Molinos Río de la Plata. The winery is a leader in production of Malbec and Bonarda.  holds a consolidated leadership position, committed to the highest production and quality standards, backed by a continuous investment plan both in estates and process technology.

Nieto Senetiner has 400 hectares of vineyards in their three Estates (Fincas), all situated in the Lujan de Cuyo area.  The estates include:

  • Finca Villa Blanca in Vistalba – planted in 1900; 3,300 ft elevation
  • Finca Agrelo in Las Tortugas- planted in 1900; 3,100 ft elevation
  • Finca Alto Agrelo in Las Torcazas – planted in 2005; 3,300 ft elevation

The winemaking team includes Head Winemaker, Roberto Gonzalez, and consulting winemaker, Paul Hobbs. Nieto Senetiner was the first Argentine winery to receive ISO 9002 certification in 2002.  The wines are fermented with native yeasts, minimum SO2 and no acidifications.

Their state-of-the-art, sustainable winery and estate vineyards produce richly textured, interesting Malbec and Bonarda, the other red star of Argentina.  At the foot of the Andes Mountains Lujan de Cuyo (a.k.a.the “Primera Zona” for producing high quality grapes) is renown for its low rainfall, high altitude, and diurnal temperature swings that stress the vines, developing the highly concentrated flavors.

The Wines

Nieto Senentiner has three tiers of wine – Camila is their entry-level wine, the Nieto Senentiner are their flagship wines, and the Don Nicanor is a step up in sophistication, and complexity in terms of barrel blending and additional oak aging.  The wines I sampled were:

Camila

  • 2014 Malbec – SRP;$10
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$15

Nieto Senentiner

  • 2014 Torrontes – SRP;$15
  • 2013 Bonarda- SRP;$13
  • 2014 Pinot Noir- SRP;$13
  • 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – SRP;$13
  • 2013 Malbec- SRP; $13

Don Nicanor

  • 2012 Malbec – SRP;$19

My tasting notes follow:

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec – Garnet color with subtle plum, blackberry aromas with hints of smoke and spice. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with an appealing supple texture and good acidity, and ample fruit with plum, blackberry, fig, vanilla and bittersweet chocolate flavors and a lingering finish. 100% Malbec. Aged in French Oak for 6 months – Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon Emilia – Dark ruby color with subtle red fruit and sandal wood aromas.  On the palate it’s full-bodied, and fruity with solid acidity with easy, and juicy with red currant, blackberry, cherry, vanilla and hints of dark chocolate and spice flavors. Very Good; 86-87pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Bonarda – Violet color with blackberry, black currant, plum and perfumed spicy aromas. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, and fresh with easy, and enjoyable blackberry, black currant, plum, vanilla and a bit of spice flavors. Aged for 6 months in French  and American Oak. Pair with grilled beef, mushroom risotto or cheese ravioli. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Pinot Noir – Ruby color with promising red fruit, spice and vanilla aromas. On the palate, its light-bodied, and fresh showing a bit of savoriness with cherry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors.  Aged for 6 months in French Oak. Pair with grilled or roasted chicken, grilled salmon, mild cheese and dishes with tomato based sauces. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner TorrontésYellow color with subdued greenish shades with intense, appealing dried peach, citrus, and white flower aromas.  On the palate it’s fresh and easy with peach, and citrus flavors with an appealing hint of minerality. Raised in stainless steel. Pair with grilled chicken or white fish. Very Good; 87-88pts

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2013 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Cabernet Sauvignon – Deep ruby color with promising cassis, vanilla, and a bit of graphite aromas.    On the palate it’s medium-bodied, with medium-acidity and well-integrated soft tannins with generous black cherry, cassis, and vanilla flavors showing nice depth at this price point.  Aged for 6 months in French and American oak.Pair with roasted lamb, grilled pork, or heavy sauces.  Very Good; 87-88pts

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2012 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Don Nicanor – Inky black violet color with plum, blackberry, cassis, and roast coffee aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, with a harmonious, persistent character and well-integrated firm tannins and black cherry, cassis, vanilla, and a bit of baked blueberry flavors, and a lingering graphite laced finish. 14.5% alcohol Fruit from vineyard planted at 3,450 feet altitude. Aged for 12 months in French Oak.  Very Good to Outstanding; 89-90pts

2014 Bodegas Nieto Senetiner Malbec Emilia – Intense dark red with low-key plum, raspberry and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, smooth, juicy and straight forward with plum, raspberry, and a hint of red currant flavors that are surprisingly persistent at this price point. Aged in French and American Oak for 12 months.  Very Good; 86-87pts

Since I typically taste sample wines organically (i.e., I work them into my daily wine drinking – almost always with a meal), it took what turned out to be a few months to taste these wines.  And I can tell you this about Nieto Senentiner wines. They are food friendly wines that offer strong value for every day drinking wines!  

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received the wine samples from Big Bang Wines on behalf of importer Foley Family Wines.  I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are entirely my own.

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Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, InstagramVivino and Delectablefor all things wine. As a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2016 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wines At Our Table; Week of August 16th, 2015

Over the course of a week, my wife and I drink a bunch o’wine – almost always with food. Since I’ve always been fascinated by wine at the table with food, I thought it would be fun to recap not only the wines we’ve been drinking, but also how they pair (or don’t pair) with the foods at our table.  It features my pick for Wine of the Week (WoW) – a  wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out for the week ended August 16th 2015.

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne Brut – Retail $47
Very pale yellow color with tiny bubbles and a fine bead. Offers aromas of fresh biscuit dough, grapefruit, lime cream, with hints of quince and white flower. On the palate it shows soft creamy mousse with clean well delineated apple, peach, lime, lemon and grapefruit flavors underscored with an appealing minerality. Seems much improved to my palate over a few years ago – cleaner more complex Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2013 Trivento Amado Sur – Retail $15
Opaque violet color with mixed black fruit, licorice, and low-key spice and cedar wood aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with good acidity, ample fruit, and soft tannins with black currant, black cherry, plum, vanilla and a hint of spice flavors. Medium finish. Very Good; 86-88 pts

2013 Domaine des Costes Rouges Marcillac Tandem – Retail $17
Dark violet color with promising red currant and raspberry aromas with low-key spice and dried herb notes. On the palate it’s light-bodied, fresh and well structured with charming, easy-going cassis, raspberry, and spice flavors with supple tannins and an enticing minerality. Very Good; 86-88 pts

2014 Copain Pinot Noir Tous Ensemble Rosé – Retail $17
Pretty salmon color with watermelon, red berry and a hint of earthy aromas. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied and fresh with an especially nice mid palate weight. It shows strawberry blood orange, cherry and raspberry flavors with a nice spice note. Medium long finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2014 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles – Retail $24
Ruby color with appealing strawberry cream, sour cherry jolly rancher aromas with light spice, and mineral notes. On the palate, it’s light-bodied with vibrant acidity, a juicy texture underscored  some dusty tannins with strawberry, sour cherry, plum, spice and a bit of earthiness on the finish. Medium plus finish. Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

2009 Ridge Merlot – Retail $45
Dark ruby color with aromatic black cherry, blueberry, cassis and a kiss of vanilla, and baking spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied, balanced and elegant with black cherry, blueberry, cassis and vanilla flavors. Long finish. 14.2% alcohol.The Merlot is made from two parcels planted at 1,300 and 2,000 feet of elevation in the Jimsomare property, which is now part of the Ridge estate. 2009 was their first bottling of a varietal Merlot since 1997.Very Good to Outstanding; 89-91pts

Wines At Our Table; Week of August 16th 2015

Wine of the Week (“WoW”)  Any week that includes some Champagne is a very good week indeed!  Not only that I tried a completely new to me grape – Fer Servadou (2013 Domaine des Costes Rouges Marcillac Tandem)

For quite a few years I was not a fan of Veuve Clicquot.  In my opinion, not only was it ubiquitous, but I thought it was overrated in relation to its quality.  I think it’s improved over the last few years though, and it’s back in my good graces (though there are still quite a few Champagne that I enjoy just as much if not more for less.  It’s definitely a quality bottle of Champagne that’s on par with many in the same price range.  The Ridge Merlot was a treat. As paraphrase a cliché goes…I don’t drink Merlot often, but when I do I drink Ridge😉

My WOW is the 2014 Dashe Cellars Grenache Les Enfants Terribles.  It’s one of my favorite summertime reds wines. It’s take a chill very well, and its lively acidity make it a wonderful partner at the table with a variety of dishes.  Highly recommended!

More about Dashe Cellars

Dashe Cellars, founded by Michael and Ann Dashe in 1996, is an urban winery located near Jack London Square in Oakland, CA.   Michael Dashe is the Winemaker, and Anne Dashe is the General Manager.  Between the two, they have 40-plus years experience in the wine business, including experience at  some big-time wineries such as Ridge Vineyards, Far Niente, Chappellet, Schramsberg Wine Cellars in California;  Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château La Dominique in France,and  Cloudy Bay in New Zealand.   The winery produces about 10,000 cases annually.

From the start we always wanted to make this Grenache almost in a Grand Cru Beaujolais style: a serious wine that offers bright, lively fruit but with a great structure and balance.  Dashe Cellars

From Dashe Cellars…In 2014, low yields and perfect ripening weather created a lovely Grenache, a bit softer and more delicate than previous vintages. Because of the way we make this wine—fermented with the native yeasts on the grapes; aged in large French oak barrels; unfined; and bottled with low SO2 levels—we felt that it deserved to be labeled with our other wines in the Les Enfants Terribles (the “Wild Children”) series made in a more Old World style.  The resulting purity of flavor, velvety texture, and lush midpalette is a break from the brash, fruit-forward style of many Californian wines.

What was your Wine of the Week?  Any killer Food and Wine pairings?

Follow my reviews on Vivino and Delectable

Note. All wines were purchased for review unless otherwise indicated

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine. Since I’m a wino with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers! This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2015 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Top 20 Sparkling Wines Under $20!

Over the past couple of years I’ve made it a point to blog about sparkling wines. For a time I blogged about a different sparkling wine on a weekly basis (At one point I tried 30 different sparkling wines over a 30 week period!).  Though I’ve gotten away from it in recent months, it’s not because I stopped drinking sparkling wines (I still drink bubbly pretty much on a weekly basis; I don’t wait for a special occasion and neither should you!), rather it’s because after a year and a half of trying more than my fair share of sparkling wines from around the world, I’ve found many I enjoy that have become repeat purchases.

While I love Champagne, it’s more expensive (entry-level examples start at around $30) than its sparkling wine brethren (I did find one for under $19.99, but didn’t care for it enough to purchase it again).  There are just too many other sparkling wines i enjoy more (especially since I’m footing the bill;-)…

Please allow me a moment on the Sparkling Wine soapbox..

  • Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wine is Champagne, the real stuff only comes from the Champagne region of France
  • Sparking wines are great wines – drink as you would other wines (i.e. don’t limit your consumption to special occasions), including trying different styles (White, Rosé, Red, Blanc-de-blancs, Blanc-de-noirs, Brut, Extra-Dry, etc.)
  • Sparkling wines are under-appreciated food friendly wines – If I’m not sure about a food a wine pairing, you can bet I’ll reach for a bottle of bubbly!  Besides being the only wine that’s socially acceptable to have with any meal, sparkling wine is one of the few wines that can take you from appetizers to dessert!

Ok…now that that’s off my chest…

Champagne Glasses

Image couresy of Grape Sense – Glass Half Full

Your best bets for finding quality for the price sparkling wines under $20 are to:

  • Here in the U.S. – look for sales on most major California labels, Chandon, Gloria Ferrer, Mumm, and Roederer are in wide distribution and frequently significantly discounted. At least one of those brands is on sale at my local grocery store every week for less than $20 ( and often less than $15…)
  • If you prefer sparkling wine with as Champagne-like character, look for Cava from Spain, or  Crémant from France (Crémant de Bourgogne, Limoux, Alsace, and Loire). They’re produced using the same method as Champagne, so you’ll get a more yeasty character,and save some coin.
  • If you prefer sparkling wine with fruitier aromas and flavors, and you’re not hung up on the method of production, look for Prosecco from Italy.
  • Sparkling wine is made the world over, so you can find good value in sparkling wines from South Africa, Australia and even South America.

Here are my Top 20 sparkling wines under $20 (click on the bold italicized links for my more detailed blog posts from my T.G.I.F. series of weekly sparkling wine tastings) It’s a diverse list geographically, and stylistically. There is with bubbly from Argentina, Australia, California, Spain, Italy, and South Africa. And there is Brut, Rose, Blanc de Noir, and even a dessert sparkling wine. Many can be found at grocery stores, or large beverage retailers like BevMo, and Costco. Others may be more challenging to find, but are definitely worth seeking out.

  1. Taltarni Brut Tache – (Australia)  Lovely pale salmon color with floral, stone fruit (peaches/apricots), and fresh-baked scone aromas. On the palate, approaching medium-bodied, with a creamy mousse with watermelon, red berry, and a bit of hazelnut flavors. Dry with a light fruitiness, good acidity, and a clean medium long finish. >>Find this wine<<
  2. Schramsberg Mirabelle North Coast Brut Rosé – (California) Delicate pink color with strawberry and bread dough aromas.  On the palate, moderately creamy mousse, good acidity, focused, fruity, yet dry, and lively, with strawberries, raspberries and a touch of citrus, and spice flavors. Medium finish. >>Find this wine<<
  3. 2011 Raventos i Blanc L’Heure Blanc Brut Reserva – (Spain)  Very light straw yellow color with plenty of tiny bubbles, white flower, yeast, apple aromas. On the palate, a wonderful creamy mousse uncommon at this price point, dry, and approaching medium-bodied with apple, and a hint on citrus flavors. Medium finish >>Find this wine<<
  4. Törley Doux Tokaji – (Hungary) The only dessert bubbly in the bunch – Pale straw yellow color with lots of pin prick sized bubbles and brioche, apricot, mineral and vanilla aromas. On the palate, it shows a creamy mousse, and is sweet but nicely balanced very good acidity with apricot, peach, and vanilla flavors. Made from Furmint grapes. 11% alcohol >>Find this wine<<
  5. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley – (California) – Light golden straw color with plentiful, persistent stream of tiny bubbles, and sweet yeast, fresh-cut green apples aromas. On the palate, medium-bodied with soft texture, zippy acidity, between dry and off-dry with sweet green apples, a bit of pear, hazelnut and vanilla flavors.
  6. El Xamfra Cava Mercat Brut Nature – (Spain) – Pale straw yellow color with lot of bubbles, and floral, stone fruit, citrus and slight sweet yeast aromas. On the palate, it has a surprisingly explosive mousse, and approached medium-bodied with stone fruit, citrus, and toasted nut flavors. Medium finish. 11.5% alcohol. Zero dosage. A great value! >>Find this wine<<
  7. Mumm Napa Brut Prestige – (California) – Light golden tinged straw color with biscuit, sweet citrus, red fruit and subtle floral aromas. In the glass it displays lots of tiny bubbles. On the palate it is medium-bodied with fairly creamy mousse and cherry, vanilla, and citrus flavors. >>Find this wine<<
  8. Vinos de Terrunos German Gilabert Penedès Brut Nature Rosat – (Spain) Cherry red color with a frothy mousse showing tiny dispersed bubbles with yeast and red fruit aromas. On the palate, it’s dry owing to zero dosage (no added sugar) with fresh cherry, raspberry, and a hint of mineral flavors. This Rosé is a blend of Trepat and Garnacha. >>Find this wine<<
  9. 2012 Antech “Cuvée Eugénie” Crémant de Limoux – (France) Light straw color with brioche, Fuji apple, and floral aromas.  On the palate, crisp with zippy acidity, a moderately creamy mousse, and sweet green apple, pear, and a bit of citrus flavors.  Medium finish. >>Find this wine<<
  10. François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Brut (France) Light straw yellow color with lots of tiny bubbles, and brioche, and apple aromas. On the palate, it has a delicate mousse, is off-dry with apple and mineral flavors. 100% Chenin Blanc >>Find this wine<<
  11. Graham Beck Brut Rosé – (South Africa) Watermelon pink color with a hint of silver with aromas of yeast, and raspberries.  On the palate, a creamy mousse, fruity, yet dry, with crisp acidity and raspberries, cherries flavors, with a slight mineral overtone, and a hint of citrus on the back palate.  Short-medium finish. Great QPR! >>Find this wine<<
  12. La Marca Prosecco – (Italy) Very pale straw yellow color with white flowers, stone fruit, and a whiff of tangerine aromas. It shows an active stream of tiny bubbles. On the palate, it’s light-bodied, and fresh with a creamy mousse and peach, and tangerine flavors. Medium finish. >>Find this wine<<
  13. Deligeroy Crémant de Loire Brut – (France) Pale yellow color with a bit of bronze tinge and brioche pear, raspberry, and mineral aromas. On the palate it was light-bodied,and between dry, and off-dry with good acidity, and a prickly mousse with pear, raspberry, and mineral flavors. A Blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. >>Find this wine<<
  14. Scharffenberger Brut Excellence – (California) Pale yellow-bold color with tiny bead of bubbles that dissipated somewhat quickly, and bread dough, faint apple aromas. On the palate it’s light-medium bodied, with a moderately creamy mousse, and sweet fruity sweet apple, and lemon-lime flavors. >>Find this wine<<
  15. Gruet Blanc de Noirs – (New Mexico)  Salmon color with an abundance of dispersed tiny bubbles with brioche and apple aromas. On the palate approaching medium bodied with a moderately aggressive mousse, balanced with pear, sweet baking spice, vanilla, and nuanced citrus flavors. >>Find this wine<<
  16. Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut – (California) – Very light straw color with persistent bead of smallish bubbles, and fresh bread, apple, citrus,and a bit of ginger aromas.  On the palate, it shows a moderately creamy mousse, with apple, pear, and citrus flavors. >>Find this wine<<
  17. Reginato “Celestina” Rosé of Malbec – (Argentina) – Intense strawberry red color with intermittent stream of tiny bubbles with baked bread and ripe cherry aromas. On the palate, fruity, yet pleasingly more dry, than off-dry with an explosive, creamy mousse, and with delicate almost imperceptible tannins, with flavors of cherries, raspberries, and a hint of spice. >>Find this wine<<
  18. Segura Viudas Brut Reserva – (Spain) Light straw color with fine bead of bubbles with bread dough and lemon-lime citrus aromas.  On the palate, light bodied, with moderately creamy mousse with green apple, and tart citrus flavors. Short finish. This one is “everyday” sparkler for me.  It’s a great value at $9/bottle! >>Find this wine<<
  19.  Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut – (France) Very pale straw yellow color with toasty pear, citrus and hint of spice aromas and tiny bubbles. On the palate it’s fresh and fruity with pear, fuji apple, a vanilla, and sweet baking spice flavors.  Wonderful QPR @$10! Available at Trader Joe’s
  20. Korbel Natural – (California) Pale golden-yellow color with yeast ,red fruit, and apple aromas.  On the palate light bodied, crisp, between dry and off-dry.  Straight-forward with cherry, apple, minerals, and a touch of honey flavors.  Short-medium finish. >>Find this wine<< 

What are your favorite sparkling wines under $20? I’d love to give them a try!

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What I’ve learned tasting 30 Sparkling Wines In 30 Weeks..

Murganheira Bottle of sparkling wine.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been drinking sparkling wine on a weekly basis since February, and blogging about it in my “T.G.I.F. Champagne and the like…” series.  During that time, I’ve tasted sparkling wines from not only the usual suspects, France, California, Spain, and Italy, but also countries that aren’t “top of mind” when it comes to bubbly like Argentina, Austria, Australia, Portugal, and South Africa.  I’ve had more bubbly since February than I’ve had the last 10 years!

I’ve learned a handful of things about sparkling wine as I’ve worked on perfecting my palate for bubbly.  What do I mean by perfecting my palate?  It has nothing to do with developing greater tasting acuity.  Rather, it’s about “living” with a particular wine, learning everything you can about it, and buying as much of that wine as you can.   It’s been an immensely pleasurable pursuit, which has turned me into a bubbles fiend!  Here’s what I’ve learned…

Sparklers are wines with bubbles

Duh! Here’s what I mean.  Like still wines, sparkling wines are made from a variety of grapes.  They are easy, complex, and everything in between.  They are light, medium, or full-bodied. They can be bone dry, or sweet. They are made in white, pink (Rosé), and red styles. Some are made to drink now, others can be aged for many years.  And most importantly, just like still wine, sparkling wine is an every day wine.  It’s so much more than a beverage for celebration.  Yet, those bubbles seem to add a dash of magic to any occasion.  I can’t resist sharing this quote that sums it up for me…

When Lily Bollinger was asked “When do you drink champagne?”, she replied:
“I only drink champagne when I’m happy, and when I’m sad.
Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory.
I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

It’s great with a wide variety of foods

On a recent Saturday night at Chez Redmond, we had a diverse assortment of leftovers for dinner, including, steak, chile rellano, salad topped with tomato, and avocado salsa, and chicken apple sausage.  We enjoyed this diverse range of food with a sparkling Rosé that paired nicely with the leftovers.  Put simply, sparkling wines are food wines.  Of course, like still wines, I recommend pairing light-bodied sparklers (most Cavas, Prosecco, and other light-bodied sparklers) with lighter fare.  At the other end of the spectrum, I’d pair a steak with a fuller-bodied sparkler, especially a Rosé.

You don’t have to spend a bunch to drink it all the time

The average price of the sparklers I’ve tasted over the last 30 weeks was $17.  The most expensive was $33.  I’ve discovered an everyday Cava that’s less than $10 that has a good quality-price ratio.  And, many good sparklers can be found for under $20 (Look for my Top 10 Sparklers Under $20…Coming soon!)  At the same time, I’ve come to realize that I’m willing to spend more for sparklers that I enjoy.  Like most folks, I used to think sparklers were limited to being consumed as apéritifs, or for celebrations.  Consequently, I wouldn’t spend as much for “better” sparklers.  Yet, I’d spend $30-$50 for a “better” bottle of still wine. Ironically, now that I’ve come to realize sparklers can be consumed throughout a meal, I’m willing to pay more for the pleasure.

It’s a deathbed wine for me

Yep…if I had a choice, I’d have a great Rosé Champagne (at least for the first couple of courses) to celebrate going to my Sweet Reward.

Cava – It’s not just for Mimosas anymore

I’m really digging Cava, at least Reserva level Cava.  It hasn’t always been that way.  I pretty much limited my consumption of Cava to using it for Mimosas.  That was before I discovered a couple of Raventós i Blanc Cavas, one a traditional white, the other their outstanding Rosé.  I’m sure there are others awaiting my discovery.

Here’s my hearty recommendation friends.  Go out and buy a bottle of bubbly today, whether it be Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Cava, or Prosecco.  Enjoy it as more than an apéritif.  Wait a day, or a week, or maybe two. Repeat indefinitely!

“May your glass always be filled with warm memories, and the taste of a life well lived linger on your tongue” – Unknown

p.s. To view the sparklers reviewed in the “T.G.I.F. Champagne and the like…” series, just type in T.G.I.F in the Search box above.

T.G.I.F. Champagne and the like – 2008 Reginato “Celestina” Rosé of Malbec

My virtual trip around the wide world of sparklers takes me to Argentina this week.  Yes, a sparkler from Argentina!  I was surprised, though I suppose I shouldn’t have been.  At this point in my world wide sparkling wine journey, it’s clear to me that sparkling wine is made in virtually every corner of the world.  In fact, only about 8% of the world’s sparkling wine is actually Champagne made in France.

On the other hand, if you asked me to guess where a sparkler made from Malbec  is produced, Argentina would be my first guess.  Argentina is the world’s 5th largest wine producer, and Malbec is their signature grape.

The producer CJR Reginato, is a family run winery that oversee the entire wine making process from the vine to the bottle.  They produce sparkling wines made via both the Charmat method and the “Metodo Tradicional”.

2008 Reginato Rose of Malbec

Cost: ~$20

Region:>Argentina>Mendoza>Cuyo

Variety – 100% Malbec

Dosage – Unknown

12.9% abv

Production method: Méthode Champenoise

My tasting notes follow:

Appearance: Intense strawberry red color with intermittent stream of tiny bubbles; the relatively sparse bubbles brought to mind Spanish Cavas

Aromas: Baked bread and ripe cherries.

Body:  Fruity, yet pleasingly more dry, than off-dry with an explosive, creamy mousse, delicate almost imperceptible tannins, and mouth-watering acidity.

Taste: Cherries, raspberries, and a hint of spice.

Finish: Medium

Pair with:   We enjoyed this with a variety of  tapas from Cesar Latino.  The sparkler was served  before our tapas arrived, and I enjoyed this as a juicy, yet refreshingly dry quaffer.  When the tapas arrived,  it was just as enjoyable, if not  more so, with our food.  Try it with Mexican, or Southwestern cuisine, even a grilled skirt steak!

This is a fun and tasty sparkler I very much enjoyed.  I would purchase again.   I recommend!   87 pts