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More Sparkling Wines for the Holidays

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Melanie Wong Dec 29, 2000 03:57 AM

Sparkling Wines
Tasting with Ross
December 21, 2000

There was something for everyone in this blind tasting of sparklers for holiday toasting: two for red wine only diehards, two pretty in pink rosés, and two pigmentally challenged.

My tasting notes are in order of my rank, followed by group rank.

1993 Geyser Peak Alexander Valley Sparkling Red Wine, $25 (6, 6) – 52% Shiraz, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Opaque black purple in color fading to red at the rim, fruit-dominated nose of ripe cherry/berry mingling with light oak shadings, abundant fruit and vanilla toast on the palate, marred by vegetal/capsicum flavors, off-dry, woody/bitter tannic ending. GOOD

1992 Galah So. Australia Sparkling Shiraz, $44 (5, 5) – 70 year old average vine age, dosed with vintage Shiraz ports for sweetening. Opaque black purple and barely fizzy, nose and palate slammed with American oak (dillweed, butterscotch and toasted coconut) and blackberry jam, full-bodied, mouthcoating blackberry and plumy fruit with vanilla crème, cloying sweetness due to inadequate acidity, not much finish. GOOD

Moët & Chandon “White Star” Champagne, $24 (4, 3) – Blended specificly for the American market with lower acidity and more sweetness, presumably for those who don’t like Champagne otherwise. Golden hue tending toward brass, slow coarse bead, aromas of varnish and artificial vanilla in sweet nose, sweetish on the palate, rounded lush mouthfeel, not much length or persistence. GOOD

Fleury Pere Rosé Brut Champagne, $50 (3, 4) – Salmon in hue with coppery tinge, light bead, very and intense fruity nose billowing with wisteria, rose petal, lees and wild berries, bone-dry, creamy texture, surprisingly robust and flavorful, vivid balance, long-lasting finish. 1996 cuvée. EXCELLENT

Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut Rosé, $23 (2, 2) – BEST BUY. Light salmon pink with lazy tiny bead, lacy nose with Alpine strawberry, citrus, honey, floral and tobacco, very dry and delicate in the mouth, austere pink grapefruit flavors dominated by steely minerals, chalky finish with bitter quinine aftertaste. EXCELLENT

Pierre Moncuit Cuvée de Réserve Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru RM Champagne Le Mesnil sur Oger, $30 (1,1) BEST BUY – Very light straw in color, fresh nose of ripe pear, lemon curd, floral and chalk, restrained on the palate, light texture and delicately turned, young and zesty personality, impressive persistence and length. EXCELLENT

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