ALL-IN ON BOOK REVIEWS: Do you have a (non-fictional or fictional) book related to wine, spirits, or beer that you'd like reviewed? Contact me!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wine Review: Joseph Cattin Cremant d'Alsace Brut

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

Towards the end of 2014, while I was writing my three part series on sparkling wine (A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine), I went to work and thought "wait... why don't we carry ANY Cremant?"

I had never really thought about it before but, I guess because I was in the middle of a two month long research and writing binge on sparkling wine, it was hard not to notice. Cremant is pretty damn good quality sparkling wine from various regions in France, such as Alsace and Loire, and for much less of a price point than champagne.

So I scoured the Massachusetts Beverage Journal for Cremant, and German Sekt while I was at it, and surprisingly there weren't many options out there. After tasting some samples, I ended up bringing in Joseph Cattin Cremant d'Alsace Brut, Klipfel Cremant d'Alsace Brut and Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt. In the spring I plan to see if I can add Dr. Loosen's Sekt into the mix as well.

But enough about that. This is a review of the Joseph Cattin Cremant d'Alsace Brut.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wine Review: Champagne Patrice Marc Grande Cuvée Brut Fleury-la-Riviere

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

Trying to find information about this Champagne house is like trying to get my four year old daughter to eat anything but macaroni and cheese. But from the bottle I can tell you that the family owned Marc Champagne house has been around since 1683 and they're currently in their 12th generation. They're located in Fleury-la-Riviere, a commune in the Marne region of Champagne.

This Grande Cuvée Brut is 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. The ABV is 12% and a bottle will run you about $27, making it actually pretty inexpensive for a bottle that qualifies to carry the Champagne name on its label.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wine Review: Segura Viudas Brut Rosé with Sushi

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

I love rosé. It's a weakness of mine. I also love inexpensive Spanish Cava. My favorite food on the planet may be sushi, possibly only trumped by hardshell beef tacos. Wasabi is an old pal of mine, especially when sinuses need to be cleared.

Then there's soy sauce. Oh my God, soy sauce. Sometimes I'll take the bottle out of the fridge and take a swig just because I'm an adult and you're not the boss of me.

Now, how can you go wrong with all those things put together? You fucking can't, that's how.

This review is gonna be quick because I want to enjoy this massive plate of sushi without writing the whole time. Contrary to popular belief, I am a person and not an artificially intelligent word processor gone rogue. Also, I'm not that intelligent.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

William Kaufman on Champagne

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

William Kaufman Champagne quote

"Like the maturing of romance into a deeper human attachment, the making of Champagne is an art that becomes engrained in the lives of all who commit themselves. It must be conceived and created from raw materials with imagination, hard work and persistence. It doesn't just happen. It is a lifetime work. It is a magnum opus." Author William Kaufman

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wine Review: Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige

Back in 1976 the Champagne house of GH Mumm sent winemaker Guy Devaux to the United States of America. His mission was to find the best place in the country for making champagne style sparkling wines. He decided on Napa Valley and in 1983 he released the first wines of Domain Mumm, later to be named Mumm Napa in 1990. Today Mumm Napa is considered one of the premier sparkling wine makers in the USA. Their vineyards are Napa Green certified.

The Brut Prestige is Mumm Napa's flagship wine. It's 45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris / Pinot Meunier. Initially fermented in stainless steel tanks, a portion of the wine is aged in French oak for the final blend. Second fermentation for carbonation is done with the traditional method, inside each bottle, and it sees 18 months of aging on the lees. After degorgement and dosage it rests for three months in the bottle before release.

If none of that made sense, you can read A Bubbly Biography, The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 1: France and Spain to learn about what all those weird words mean.

With that out of the way... I'm thirsty for bubbles! Let's drink!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bad Influence

"Sometimes I'll check the other bottles around it just to see if it's been hanging out with bad influences" - The Wine Stalker

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wine Review: Gancia Asti DOCG

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

With my trilogy on the history of sparkling wine concluding last week you might see some sparkling reviews coming out. Oh look! Here's one now! And there will be more all month!

So here it is... the original Asti. Sure, it's nothing like the version Carlo Gancia invented in 1870. Back then the carbonation was created through methode champenoise, the same way it's done with champagne. Nowadays Asti gets both its bubbles and sweetness from partial fermentation. If you want to read more about the history and current existence of Asti, and what the heck partial fermentation is, you can read Part 2: Italy and the New World. It's all there, my friend.

Asti is from the Asti subregion in Piedmont of northwest Italy. It's a sweet sparkling wine made entirely from the Moscato Bianco grape. Asti is also low in alcohol, which makes it a great party starter. Gancia Asti is only 7.5% ABV and costs about $11-15.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Bubbly Biography - The Story of Sparkling Wine - Part 3: Sekt and the Future

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

My trilogy on the history of sparkling wine concludes here. Part One: France and Spain was about the emergence of intentional carbonation, the creation of methode champenoise, and the people who made it happen. Part Two: Italy and The New World was about the charmat method, partial fermentation, and the people who spread sparkling wine to new places. Part Three: Sekt and the Future is about what lies ahead.

France produces the most sparkling wine in the world but what country comes in second? Spain? Italy? America? Nope, nope, and nope. It's Germany and they call their sparkling wine Sekt. The Germans also consume the most sparkling wine in the world per capita, whether it be champagne or prosecco or sekt or what have you.

The Romans brought vitis vinifera vines to Germany in the first 200 or 300 years of the Common Era and it's been a wine wonder ever since. Never mind that it takes a special grape to work in Germany; we're lucky that wine can be made there at all. It's so far north and the climate is so cold that it's a friggin miracle. But the German's were blessed with the right soil, topography, and vines to make some of the best wines in the world. Riesling, for example, is a high acid and high sugar producing grape. It was a match made in heaven with their cold climate and longer growing season.

Vineyards are grown on dangerously steep slopes leading down to the rivers. You know in The Princess Bride when Wesley is tumbling and screaming AS YOU WISH? Yeah, it's like that but you'd probably die or have to go to a Krankehaus to have yourself put back together. These vineyards are almost always on the north-ish side of the river so the slopes face south, giving the vines the best sunlight possible. The rivers are important too because they moderate the climate and reflect sunlight and heat up to the vines. The blue slate of the Mosel river/region and the red slate of the Rheingau river/region absorb heat during the day and release it at night.

It's like Jack Frost wanted wine so he moved to a place he knew could handle his antics.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Phylloxera: The Reboot

Monday is a tiny aphid that attacks your rootstocks.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January Wine Pick: Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt

January is Sparkling Wine Month on!

This WINE PICK of the month was written for the Luke's of Cape Cod website.

Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt

Trocken means dry in German and Sekt is the word used for sparkling wine in German-speaking countries. Thus, this offering is an Extra Dry sparkling wine. It's made from Riesling grapes in the town of Bad Durkheim within the winemaking region of Pfalz, Germany.

The family-owned Fitz-Ritter winery also has local ties for me: the family has a home-away-from-home in Falmouth, Massachusetts. All of their wine is organic.

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