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December 2009

December 7, 2009

Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut

Cordon Rosado Brut


Freixenet (pronounced fresh-in-net), is known the world over for its frosted black bottles of Cava, Cordon Negro Brut, a great-value wine embraced by critics and bargain hunters alike. But what many wine lovers don’t realize is that this respected Spanish winery also produces sparkling wines in the Extra Dry, Semi-Dry, Spumante and Rosé styles. (The winery, founded in 1914, does not produce any still wines, choosing to focus solely on Cava, the Spanish version of Champagne.) The Cordon Rosado Brut is one of the most affordable Rosé sparkling wines made in the Méthode Champenoise style (meaning that the grapes were allowed to ferment naturally, as is the tradition in Champagne). Its flavors are fresh and vibrant, perfect for a party. Although it is a fairly simple wine, the Rosado is very attractive for the price due to its bright acidity and blend of tart pomegranate, cherry and sweet strawberry flavors. Because the Cava is made from red grapes, it can stand up to fairly substantial foods. Serve with classic cocktail fare from crab cakes to stuffed mushrooms to a tray of Spanish cheeses.

Rating: 13/20

Other Sparkling Wines we have tasted
Check out our guide to Spain
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December 14, 2009

Via dei Mille Extra Dry Prosecco

Via dei Mille
Extra Dry Prosecco


One of the newest Proseccos on the market, this Italian import is actually American made. That is, the wine is produced by Via dei Mille restaurant, a noted Manhattan dining establishment known for foodstuffs imported from Italy. The company is named for what is considered by some to be the most fashionable street in Naples, known for fine shops, galleries and restaurants. Hoping to bring yet another layer of the Neapolitan lifestyle to their North American diners, the restaurant owners began importing this bubbly from Italy’s Venetto region in spring of 2008. Made from a blend of Perera and Bianchetta grapes, this refreshing Prosecco exhibits classic characteristics of the light, Italian style of sparkling wine. On the mouth it offers lemon tartness and lemon pie sweetness on the tip of the tongue. On the nose, primary aromas are floral. The wine does exhibit a faint dead yeast scent, but this note is quickly washed away by brightness in the mouth. Enjoy it with shellfish and pasta or creamy cheeses.

Rating: 13/20
$75 with dinner at Via dei Mille

Other Sparkling Wines we have tasted
Check out our guide to Italy
For more information, visit

December 21, 2009

Champagne Vranken La Demoiselle Tete de Cuvee Brut

Champagne Vranken
La Demoiselle Tete de Cuvee Brut


Located in the town of Epernay, the heart of the Champagne region, Champagne Vranken is a part of the Vranken Pommery Monopole Group. As a company, the group strives to allow each of its brands to express its unique style. The function of the group is for leverage in distribution and allows the ability to offer value pricing. Vranken's La Demoiselle Brut makes a very good example of the group’s aim to offer value for money. The wine shows a kind of refinement typical of far more prestigious Champagnes. We particularly appreciate its thick mousse and elegant effervescence. On the nose, the wine is slightly disappointing with a faint scent of dead yeast but on the palate it offers an interesting and complex array of flavors. Up front, there is tart apple and a touch of citrus with hints of butter and, toward the back of the palate, an earthy, gamey note. A sophisticated drink, it would be a suitable choice for a Christmas Eve cocktail soirée or the accompaniment to a rich holiday meal. With its woodsy notes, the wine would shine with a traditional dinner or roast pork or lamb.

Rating: 14/20

Other Sparkling Wines & Champagnes we have tasted
Check out our guide to France
For more information, visit

December 28, 2009

Champagne Henriot 1995 Cuvee Des Enchanteleurs

Champagne Henriot
1995 Cuvée Des Enchanteleurs


The Henriot family knows a thing or two about Champagne. After all, they’ve been producing fine bubbly for over 300 years. During that time, they’ve had the chance to intimately learn the various terroirs of the Champagne region. For this reason, Henriot adds purchased grapes to their blends of estate grapes in order to add to the complexity of their Champagnes. The winery is best known for its non-vintage brut, considered to be one of the better buys among Champagne’s most-established houses. But Henriot also produces a highly regarded prestige cuvée, Des Enchanteleurs. Dare we say it? This wine offers striking similarities to Krug (considered by many to be the king of Champagne). And although it certainly qualifies for the splurge category, Cuvée Des Enchanteleurs represents excellent value for the money when compared with the other wines in its class. Elegant with honey, almond and hazelnut notes on the nose, it is delicate on the palate with almost imperceptivity fine bubbles and excellent length. An elegant wine, it would pair beautifully with many foods, from spicy Asian curries to pastries and butter-based cakes. However, we like to think that this is the sort of wine at its finest on its own as the main event, not the accompaniment. As such, it is a wine entirely worthy of a midnight toast to a happy new year.

Rating: 17/20

Our Top 10 Prestige Cuvée Champagnes
Other Sparkling Wines & Champagnes we have tasted
Check out our guide to France
For more information, visit



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