So, My Readers, here it is, Sunday afternoon, Jan. 2, 2011. It’s chilly but sunny in my neck o’ the woods. We had waffles for lunch; how decadent!

However, to the matter at hand.

The point of image you see to the right of this post is that each of these sparkling wines is made from the same combination of grapes, 58 percent chardonnay, 42 percent pinot noir. Why, then, the difference in color, one palest gold, the other pale copper? Because the palest gold one, the Graham Beck Brut, was made with the juice undergoing no skin contact with the pinot noir grapes, while the other, the Graham Beck Brut Rosé, was given enough skin contact to delicately color the juice. These sparkling wines are produced in the Western Cape region of South Africa.

The result is that the bouquet of the Graham Beck Brut is clean, fresh, steely, oceanic and invigorating; the bouquet of the Brut Rosé is filled with notes of lightly spiced and macerated strawberries and dried red currants, with hints of orange zest and toast. Give the Brut a few minutes, and it displays elements of roasted lemon and almond skin, with a hint of cloves and ginger. Both sparkling wines are spare, lean and elegant, though the Brut Rosé perhaps delivers a bit more body and heft. Both are quite dry, founded on crisp acidity that practically glitters and limestone-and-shale-like minerality. While neither offers fabulous detail and dimension, for the price they’re attractive, charming and certainly exhilarating. Very Good+ for each. About $15 to $18, Great Value.

Imported by Maritime Wine Trading Collective, San Francisco. Samples for review.

Yikes, only three most posts to go in this 2010/2011 edition of “Twelve Days of Christmas with Champagne and Sparkling Wine.”