For this tasting we chose two sparklers, one made using the Traditional Method (i.e., Méthode Champenoise) and the other using a less labor intensive production process (i.e., stainless steel pressurized tanks) known as the Charmat Method. For the first time during the course of this semester there were only two of us tasting. Here are my notes:
Barefoot Bubbly. Brut Cuvee (Sparkling California Champagne). (Source: Fareway, Cost: $8.99, Alc. 11.5%). - Charmat Method
This bottle did not want to give up its cork! After fighting with the heavy bottle for about 5 minutes I was finally victorious and was awarded with a lovely light, golden hued effervescent tulip glass of “bubbly”. Attractive aromatics welcomed me with a subtle touch of apples, grapefruit, hint of yeast, and what can best be described as apple blossoms. Nice and unexpected. On the palate this California Sparkler was bright, lively, dry, and slightly acidic. Food friendly. Mostly pleasant lingering aftertaste with just a bit of bitterness. There was a trace of grapefruit pithiness after swallowing but overall, a very nice and affordable sparkling wine. Very drinkable.
Korbel, Brut California Champagne. (Source: Target, Cost: $12.99, Alc., 12%) - Méthode Champenoise
Richly saturated with gold, this traditionally styled California Champagne sparkled with delight as I took my first sniff. The bouquet announced something special as I delved in deeper to a complex of apple orchard blossoms, fermentation tank, and yeast notes. The complexity grew as I transitioned from olfactory to gustatory appreciation, with rich layers of lively yeast, creamy caramel, eliciting round earthiness reminiscent of mushroom. Intriguing. Full and interesting. What makes this wine truly remarkable is the long and incredibly fascinating finish. An amazing finish that lasted and evolved, first with satisfying creamy textures and then transforming into sweet strawberry fruitiness. Delicious.
Post Tasting Notes: what a pleasant tasting! We had two very different exemplars of sparkling wine, one (Barefoot) that emphasized the fruity character (aromatically-driven) and the other (Korbel) highlighting winemaking techniques (bouquet-driven). If I had to pick a favorite it would have to be the Korbel…but, the Barefoot Bubbly is a close-second!