Tag Archives: sparkling wine

Winebits 414: Label lawsuits, sparkling wine, wine investments


Label lawsuitsHandmade matters: Or so says a federal judge, ruling in a lawsuit challenging the validity of calling a multi-million case vodka “handmade.” Judge Jeffrey Miller, writing in a Tito’s “Handmade” Vodka case, said that consumers have a right to expect a label — and the words on it — to mean something if the label has been approved by a regulatory agency. His decision means the case will continue towards trial, so any decision is a ways off. In fact, the blog’s liquor attorney told me he thought the judge overstepped here. Still, as has been noted on the blog before, this is yet another warning for the wine business to clean up its label act before the class action lawsuits begin.

Raise a toast to bubbly: Sparkling wine production and consumption is at an all-time high, and why not? Most of it is cheap, well-made, and produced by people who aren’t bully boys. That I have been advocating for sparkling wine throughout the blog’s history is just another reason for happiness. The most interesting bit in this report? That Prosecco, the Italian sparkler, is the best-selling sparkling wine in the world and the favorite imported sparkling wine in the U.S. — though not the best-selling in this country. That remains sparkling wine made in the U.S, which means lots and lots and lots of wine like Andre.

A lousy investment: The Wine Curmudgeon has always been baffled by the growth of wine as in investment, and now someone who knows much more about making money than I do has explained why. My pal Joe Roberts writes: “[I]investing” in fine wine (in terms of hoping it will accrue in value, and that you will actually be able to realize that gain) is basically a really, really poor way to utilize your money. … [I]nvesting in any collectibles or commodities is, frankly, a joke.” He points out, in terms of risk mitigation and diversification, that wine investing in no way compares to a mutual index fund, making it little different from roulette or blackjack.

Wine of the week: Casteller Cava NV


casteller cavaSomehow, despite the Wine Curmudgeon’s passion for cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, and several reviews of the Casteller rose cava, I have neglected to review the Casteller brut. What better time time to rectify this than for Thanksgiving?

The Casteller cava ($10, purchased, 11.5%) does everything sparkling wine is supposed to do, regardless of price. It has tight bubbles that sparkle up from the bottom of the glass; a vague notion of the toast that is part of Champagne’s appeal; and crisp, fresh, sweet lemon fruit. In this, it’s not exactly soft like some Proseccos or sweet sparklers, but more fruit forward, and certainly not unpleasant.

And, for your $10, you can buy four bottles the Casteller cava instead of one bottle of very ordinary Champagne. Highly recommended, and almost certain to enter the 2016 $10 Hall of Fame in six weeks. Chill this and serve it with Thanksgiving dinner, on its own, or any time you feel like something bubbly. Which, as regular visitors here know, is any time at all.

Thanksgiving wine 2015


thanksgiving wineThis year’s “Why did they bother?” Thanksgiving wine press release offered two roses, costing $65 and $100, as the perfect holiday wines. We’ll ignore for the moment that the point of rose is to cost much less than that; rather, why would anyone need or want to pay that much money for wine for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is the greatest wine holiday in the world because it isn’t about money or showing off, but because it’s about being thankful that we can be together to enjoy the food and the wine.

Needless to say, my suggestions for Thanksgiving wine cost much less and almost certainly offer more value. Guidelines for holiday wine buying are here.

King Estate Pinot Noir 2013 ($26, sample, 13.5%): I tasted this Oregon red at an American Wine Society dinner, where we also had a $160 California red. Guess which one I liked best? This is is not to take anything away from the California red, but to note the King Estate’s quality and value, and especially for pinot noir — lighter but with a touch of earthiness, cherry and raspberry fruit, and a wonderful food wine. Highly recommended.

Pierre Sparr Crémant d’Alsace Brut Réserve NV ($18, sample, 12.5%): Sophisticated sparkling wine from France’s Alsace that got better the longer it sat in the glass, and which surprised me with its terroir and sophistication. Look for stoniness and minerality with ripe white fruit.

Bonny Doon Le Pousseur 2013 ($26, sample, 13,5%): This California red is my favorite Randall Grahm wine, not necessarily because it’s better than any of the others, but because of what it is — syrah that somehow combines New World terroir with old world style. Lots of black fruit, soft tannins, and that wonderful bacon fat and earthy aroma that makes syrah so enjoyable.

• Domaine Fazi Île De Beauté 2014 ($10, purchased, 11.5%): A Corsican rose made with a grape blend that includes sciaccarellu, the best known red on the French island. Maybe a  touch thin on the back, but an otherwise more than acceptable rose with a little tart red fruit and that Mediterranean herbal aroma known as garrigue. And yes, I’d take 10 bottles of this over any $100 rose.

Muga Rioja Blanco 2014 ($13, sample, 13%): Spanish white made with mostly viura has some oak, tropical fruit, and refreshing acidity, and why the Spanish don’t bother with chardonnay. Muga is one of my favorite Spanish producers, and almost everything it makes is affordable, well-done, and worth drinking.

More about Thanksgiving wine:
• Thanksgiving wine 2014

Thanksgiving wine 2013
Thanksgiving wine 2012


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