Sat 2 Jan 2010
Saturday night & I just got paid,
Fool about my money, don’t try to save.
My heart say go, go, have a time,
Cuz it’s Saturday night and I’m feeling fine!
Surely that American philosopher Little Richard spoke the plain truth in Rip It Up — in these lyrics recalled by memory from the dark abysm of the late 1950s — that Saturday night is special. (Hence the name of the .38 revolver, n’est-ce pas?) So to lend celebratory buoyancy to your Saturday night, strictly within the parameters of the Yuletide spirit of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” of course, here are three sparkling wines (review samples) from as many countries. As Little Richard sayeth, rip it up and, um, ball it up, mes amis.
Prosecco this and prosecco that, and it’s all mainly barely decent gluggable fizz. The Bortolomiol Prior Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco is something else. Even LL, a notable disdainer of prosecco, said that she would go out of her way to drink this. Prosecco is the name of the grape as well as the beverage; the best area of production lies between the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, straight north of Venice. Prosecco is made in the Charmat method of second fermentation in a pressurized tank. The pale-straw-colored Bortolomiol Prior Brut is as clean as a freshly-wiped steel blade, and it feels, indeed, as if it has something of steel’s tensile rigor, illumined by a flare of bright acidity and aching limestone. This is as elegant as prosecco gets, yet despite the hauteur of arched eyebrows and high cheekbones, there’s a winsome core of peachy creaminess here, a hint of lime zest, a touch of almond blossom. Excellent. About $18.
Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Sons, New York.
The Spanish sparkling wine termed cava is designated on labels as metodo tradicional, meaning the champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle, though, naturally, the wines do not rest on the lees in those bottles for years, as in Champagne, but for months. Poema Cava Brut, from the Penedès region of Catalonia, southwest of Barcelona, has no truck with the innovation of the chardonnay grape; this cava is made with the traditional macabeo (40%), xarel-lo — which sounds like the name of one of Superman’s cousins — (40%), and parellada (20%). Actually, Poema spends 18 months in the cellar, lending it a sense of depth not seen in many cava sparklers. The earthiness common to cava is here, but seemingly softened and refined. Poema Cava Brut is fresh and crisp, with appealing elements of citrus and candied lemon peel, a trace of almond, a tide of dusty limestone, all wrapped in a deftly balanced package. Steady bubbles, too. Very Good+ and A Steal at about $13.
Imported by Kobrand Corp., Purchase N.Y.
Finca La Linda Extra Brut, from Bodegas Luigi Bosca, in Argentina’s Mendoza region, is composed of 50 percent chardonnay grapes and 50 percent semillon grapes, a most unusual blend; in fact, I can’t think of another sparkling wine I’ve encountered that includes semillon, though I’m certain my Alert Readers will let me know of some that should have been obvious. Made in the Charmat process, La Linda Extra Brut is a slightly brassy green-gold color, within which myriad shapely bubbles foam up in gold flecks; aromas of pears, almond blossom, hazelnuts toasted in butter and cinnamon toast draw the nose. In the mouth, this sparkler is very earthy, quite toasty, full-bodied and vibrant with acidity. In fact, with a finish that grows increasingly earthy and spicy, La Linda possesses the swagger to stand up to substantial hors d’oeuvres; smoked trout would be a blessing. Very Good+. About $15.
Various importers in New England, Florida and the West Coast.