Sat 27 Dec 2008
We’re in recession mode in the “12 Days of Christmas” Champagne and sparkling wine countdown, keeping prices low for such products, though you may be thinking, “FK, can we ever get to the real stuff, the Champagne we know and love,” and I promise that we will soon, perhaps even tomorrow. For today, though, we’re still in the bargain alternative area. Remember, I’m not repeating sparkling products from the previous “12 Days of Christmas” series.
I’ll admit that when I realized that Greg Norman Estates made a sparkling wine, I thought, “Hmmm, how good can a golfer’s bubbly be?” Norman, however, is a canny businessman, and while the wines from his properties in Australia and California don’t achieve excellence, they’re usually well-made, varietally on-the-mark and tasty.
So, in truth then, I wasn’t surprised that the nonvintage Greg Norman Estates Australian Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir was also well-made and tasty. The label tells us that this clean, fresh and crisp sparkler is made from 61 percent chardonnay grapes and 39 percent pinot noir. First comes a froth of rushing bubbles, then scents of apples, lime and fresh baked bread, backed up by roasted lemon, almond and almond blossom. The roasted lemon and almond elements segue into the mouth, where they’re bolstered by lip-smacking and scintillating acidity, heaps of limestone and damp chalk and an undeniable earthy quality that lends depth to the enterprise. This bubbly gets increasingly dry and minerally on the finish, a little austere and high-toned. No great character but attractive and delicious. Very Good+ and another Great Price, about $18.
FWE Imports (that is, Foster Wine Estates), Napa, Ca.