In my opinion, Champagne and sparkling wine have an image problem here in the States. They are often pigeonholed as celebratory or toasting wines, poured with Sunday brunch or mixed into mimosas.In actuality, sparkling wine is very versatile and has much more to offer. Sure, it’s great to have a glass before dinner, but it’s also fantastic with dinner. Egg dishes, seafood, lighter meats, even food with a bit of spice or fattiness pair well with sparkling wine.
My favorite California sparkling wine is Roederer Estate Anderson Valley Brut. The California venture from France’s iconic Champagne house, Louis Roederer is the closest you can get to Champagne from a California sparkler. The Anderson Valley area in northern California’s Mendocino County benefits from a bit cooler climate prolonging the growing season, similar to Champagne. Two other keys to this cuvee are growing all their own grapes and adding oak aged reserve wines to the final blend.
The Roederer Estate Brut, a multi-vintage blend, is composed of 60 percent Chardonnay and 40 percent Pinot Noir. Rich in style, it is beautifully aromatic, with notes of green apple, pears, baking spice and toast, and has a luxurious mouthfeel. The dazzling display of tiny, persistent bubbles is a beautiful thing.
The Roederer Estate gets my vote as the best deal in sparkling wine. The Wine Spectator has awarded this wine 91 points, and we are featuring it in Seville’s Wine Shoppe for $17.99. I think you would be pleasantly surprised if you tasted this next to French Champagnes costing three times as much.
Champagne and sparkling wines need to be viewed as more than just special-occasion wines or enjoyed by the jet set. Their versatility with food, effervescence and silky texture are like no other drink in the world. As famed British economist John Maynard Keynes stated, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink enough Champagne.”
Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St., Pensacola. 434-6211, or visit www.sevillequarter.com.