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Category Archives: Sparkling wine

Wine of the week: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV

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segura viudasThe Segura Viudas cava proves cheap wine’s greatness, a sparkling wine from Spain that offers much more value than it costs, and that does so year after year after year. Best yet, it does so without much Winestream Media attention, a minimum of high scores, and the kind of fawning that more expensive wine and Champagne gets from wine snobs.

I’ve been buying the Segura Viudas ($9, purchased, 12%) for years, almost from the time I started the blog. Yes, the company that makes it paid for a press trip to I took to Spain, but when has that ever stopped me from writing what I thought? This is terrific wine, ideal for sipping, toasting, and meals — bone dry, with tart green apple flavor balanced by a little tropical fruit, the yeastiness that you expect from more expensive champagne-style wines, and tight, delightful bubbles. I really love the bubbles.

This week, when it comes time to celebrate The Holiday that Must Not be Named, don’t worry about impressing your significant other with some high-end, overpriced sparkler that has the kind of description — “dough aromas” — that makes you shake your head and sigh. Pour this, don’t mention how much it costs, and accept the compliments gracefully.

Expensive wine 59: J Vintage Brut Late Disgorged 2003

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Expensive wine 59: J Vintage Brut Late Disgorged 2003There won’t be a specific post for wine and Valentine’s Day this year, but I will cover the subject today, tomorrow (featuring Valentine’s Day suggestions from around the Internet), and Wednesday. I did a Valentine’s post last year because I wanted to emphasize sparkling wine, but that job is pretty well done. And I’m not a big fan of the holiday that must not be named, anyway.

I am, however, a huge fan of the J Vintage ($90, sample, 12.5%), price be damned.  Is “very yummy” too technical a wine term to describe it?

Look for layers and layers of complexity and flavor – some pear fruit, some yeastiness (but not overdone the way many French wines at this price are), and even some melon. Don’t often get that in a bubbly. In all of this, the wine is not as aggressive as J’s non-vintage wines, which means less citrus and more subtlety in the fruit flavors. But there are still lots and lots of tiny bubbles, for those of us who love that.

Is it worth nine bottles of a quality $10 Spanish cava? That all depends who you are going to share it with.

Wine review: Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Vecchia Modena Premium 2012

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Wine review: Cleto Chiarli LambruscoThe Wine Curmudgeon does not like red sparkling wine. This dates to an unpleasant experience with sparkling shiraz at a trendy Fort Worth restaurant and a waiter who knew a lot less about wine than he thought. The less said about it, the better.

Still, the only rule of wine is to drink as many kinds as possible, whether one likes it or not. So when the Italian Wine Guy said the Cleto Chiarli ($14, sample, 11%), a red bubbly from Italy, was one of his favorites, who was I to argue? And which demonstrates that you should always listen to people who know more than you do.

Because I enjoyed it, as quirky as it was. Quirky because it had very dark fruit, very dry, and even slightly tannic, hardly what Americans expect from the sweet and soft fruit Lambruscos that most of us know. It’s not for all tastes, and especially for someone expecting a sweet wine or a more conventional sparkler.

But if you want to try it, you’ll find a very well made wine with better quality bubbles than I expected and that is unlike almost anything else you’ve ever had. Serving it chilled wouldn’t hurt, and the tannins make it a better food wine than expected. And you might even like it, which is the best part.

One caveat: The bottle has an old-fashioned wire closure — the best comparison is a piece of clothes hanger holding the cork down — and not a sparkling wine cage. I used a screwdriver to pry it off, though I doubt that’s the traditional method.

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