Sat 13 Feb 2010
I mean, the fact that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day is neither here nor there, right? I mean, if you wanted to get a bottle of a rosé sparkling wine to share with your sweetheart, that’s up to you. I am merely a vehicle, a conduit of information and opinion.
First is a new product from Freixenet, the giant Spanish firm — “among the ten largest wine companies in the world” — best known for its champagne method sparkling wines, that is, the second fermentation (which produces the essential bubbles) occurs in the bottle in which the wine will be aged and sold. The Freixenet Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut Cava, non-vintage, is all steel and strawberries and dried red currants. Made mostly from pinot noir, with 15 percent trepat grapes, this sparkling wine sports a lovely rosy-pink hue with a hint of bluish magenta and a steady stream of glinting bubbles. A touch of sweetness is nicely balanced by bracing acidity, while flavors of red currants and black cherries (and an undertone of peach) are bolstered by a burgeoning mineral element. Nothing particularly complicated here but lots of charm. Very Good+. About $18.
Imported by Freixenet USA, Sonoma, Cal. A review sample.
For twice the price, you get at least twice the quality with the J Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley (non-vintage). Composed of 59 percent pinot noir grapes and 41 percent chardonnay, the J Brut Rosé offers a very pale onion skin color, like palest gold with a bare blush of pink, and a continuous upward surge of tiny bubbles. This is very dry, quite elegant and high-toned and beautifully balanced among keen acidity, luscious berry and stone fruit flavors and heaps of limestone and shale. The nose is dried strawberries with touches of apple and orange rind with almond and almond blossom; Rainier cherries, peach and lime peel dominate the palate, woven into a texture poised between slightly creamy lushness and crisp, vibrant, steely minerality. Enticing presence and authority conveyed with delicacy and refinement. Excellent. About $35.
A review sample.