Category Archives: Sparkling Wine

Iron Horse ‘Russian Cuvee’ 2009

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $42

Golden Delicious apple, Bartlett pear and Meyer lemon with vanilla creme and blanched almonds. Bold flavors, broad on the palate with pin-prick effervescence and a so-pleasant sweet-tart finish. A beautifully balanced sparkler, apropos of a wine originally crafted for the Regan-Gorbachev Summit ending the Cold War. Ah, detent! Perhaps these times call for another bottle. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 12/31/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Sparkling Wine

Lucien Albrecht Brut Rose NV

ALSASE | FRANCE | $19
Delicate strawberry, raspberry and pear — quite light — with notes of vanilla cream, caramel and citrus peel. Beautifully salmon pink with exquisite bubbles that dance on and on. Refreshing and light, yet full of flavor. It’s that magic of one’s first taste on cotton candy; ooh what a thrill — and the magic and joy of a lighter-than-air concoction. 100% Pinot Noir. A very good wine and a great value. (reviewed 7/13/14)

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Filed under $20 and less, France, Sparkling Wine

Piper-Heideieck Brut NV

CHAMPAGNE | FRANCE | $40
Lemon fruit and zest with green apple and young pear, and notes of pineapple, stone minerals, vanilla, chervil and green tea. Focused, pleasantly dry with satisfying acidity and classic effervescence. This bright and bubbly child enlivens the soirée with her look-at-me performance — attention-intent, but less than over the top — and yet there’s sufficient talent to deliver a sublime, entertaining choreography; best of all, the child eventually leaves allowing the adults to carry on. 55% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 15% Chardonnay. Among Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012. Commonly available at $30 to $36. A very good wine. (Reviewed 1/1/13).

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Filed under $21 to $50, France, Sparkling Wine

Iron Horse ‘Fairytale Celebration Cuvée’ 2006

GREEN VALLEY OF RUSSIAN RIVER | CALIFORNIA | $50

A complex fruit basket of guava, green apple, pear and honeydew accented by vanilla, blanched almonds, stone minerals and a hint of chlorophyl. Massive armies of tiny bubbles deliver unrelenting joyous waves of soft, sedate, honey-like sweetness. It wants to be your friend, and you welcome it because friends like this are hard to come by. 86% Pinot Noir, 14% Chardonnay. A very good wine-plus, nearly excellent. (reviewed 7/14/12)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Sparkling Wine

Heidseick & Co. Monopole ‘Blue Top’ Brut NV

CHAMPAGNE | FRANCE | $37

Fresh straw and toasted almonds on the nose rewarding with flavors of tamarind, papaya, lemon zest, caramel, sandalwood and mild herbal notes. Wonderfully compact bubbles, clean and fresh on the palate, a creamy finish that lasts. It’s a breezy day at the seashore, sand between toes, warm salt air, cotton-ball clouds, dreams of sailing. Bubbly doesn’t get much better at under $40. A very good, near excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/14/12)

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Filed under $21 to $50, France, Sparkling Wine

Moet & Chandon ‘White Star’ NV

CHAMPAGNE | FRANCE | $35

Toasted nuts, oak, grapefruit, lemongrass and wet stone. Crisp, focused and light, with tight but soft effervescence. Six-plus years of bottle-age have no doubt eased this particular sample. An excellent wine — especially to have had as an accompaniment to Stage 1 of the Tour de France. (Reviewed 7/3/11)

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Filed under $21 to $50, France, Sparkling Wine