Wednesday, May 6, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Wineaux: 2012 — My year of blissful bubbles

SusanLeonardiWineauxW

By
From page A11 | December 27, 2012 |

Three years ago, in a pre-New Year’s column, I wrote, “I’m just not a huge fan of champagne,” and concluded the sentiment with “If you’re like me, you’d rather invest in a good red.”

I did admit in that early column that bubbly is festive and celebratory and all those good things, but I only drank it to participate in the party, and I drank little of it so that I’d still have room for red.

At the most recent party I attended, I drank only the sparkling wines — there were many — and enjoyed every drop. I never made it to the reds and didn’t regret it for a moment. For one thing, it was a very long (and wonderful) party that went on for nearly six hours and I woke up with not a trace of a hangover, perhaps because sparkling wine is generally low in alcohol. All of what I drank had only 11 to 12 percent.

For another thing, I got to experience a whole range of taste, from very fruity to very minerally to very yeasty. And all worked well with a whole tableful of appetizers and the fun pizzas that kept magically coming out of the oven.

So here’s my admission (does this constitute drinking my words?): I’m a huge fan of Champagne. And Prosecco and Cava and sparkling wines of all sorts. At least the dry ones.

I’m not sure what prompted this change of heart — or of taste — or just when it happened. Maybe when I had tasted enough sparklers to erase the memory of Andre Cold Duck. Or it might have happened at a cheese-and-wine pairing when I discovered what a good companion to food, especially difficult-to-pair food (like strong cheeses), sparkling wine can be. And then I gradually began to anticipate the happy feel of those little bubbles on my tongue. And soon I was in love.

Sometimes love just happens. Sometimes in spite of one’s resistance.

My favorite glass of the evening was the Roederer Estate Brut. Produced by the French Champagne Louis Roederer, winemakers for two centuries, it’s made from grapes grown on the 580-acre Roederer estate in the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. (If you want to splurge on the “real” stuff — that is, from the Champagne region of France, you might search out Louis Roederer Cristal Brut — on some lists the best champagne of all — for just $230 a bottle. Needless to say, I’ve never had the privilege of experiencing its reputedly ethereal bubbles.)

The California cousin is an elegant wine with lots of layers, good bubbles, bright but restrained and focused fruit (apple, pear, lemon) with a touch of holiday spice. It rates highly in almost every wine publication and for the price — around $20 — it’s a really good buy. It also has the advantage of being easily available.

For about $5 more (at Valley Wine Company), the Scharffenburger Brut Rosé is as delicious as it is elegant. Like the Roederer, it’s a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir; also like the Roederer, it comes from Anderson Valley grapes. But the flavors here lean more to berries — raspberry, strawberry — and the salmon tint makes it even more celebratory. It’s amazing with goat cheese. But I’ve praised this bottle in previous columns, so — on to the new.

Given my new-found passion, I was delighted to find out that the mid-December wine tasting at the Davis Food Co-op was titled “Bubbles.”

The Co-op has an excellent selection of such — a whole separate multi-shelved area, in fact — with eight of them on this tasting list. I tried five; two of the others were sweet and the Capay Valley Sparkling Viognier I’ve tasted many times and mentioned so often that I must be boring you. I would happily have drunk a bottle of any of them: Gerard Bertrand Bremant de Limoux (from France), Taltarni Brut Tache (from Australia), Schramsberg Blanc de Noir (Calistoga — not to be confused with Scharffenberger — an easy mistake to make, but not a fatal one since Schramsberg is excellent as well, if somewhat more expensive), and two JCB wines.

I was most excited about the latter two. And both are currently on sale at the Co-op for $17. JCB stands for Jean-Charles Boissett, so as you might expect, the wines come from France, Burgundy to be exact. The JCB wines are numbered; we tasted Nos. 69 and 21.

No. 69 (69 being the year Jean-Charles was born — how does it happen that so many famously accomplished folks are younger than I am?) is a Brut Rosé made entirely from pinot noir grapes. The color is quite subtle — just a hint of salmon — but the flavor is fresh and citrus-y with some red currant and raspberry to spice it up. It would pair extremely well with wild salmon — and not because of its color.

No. 21 (this being the French government’s “Department” number for the Côte d’Or, where J-C was born and raised) is the Brut Cremant de Bourgogne, made from chardonnay and pinot noir. Slightly less acidic than the rosé, a tiny bit drier, bubbles just a tad less assertive, it’s got lots of lovely apple and lemon notes. I think I might choose the rosé to drink on its own — say for my New Year’s Eve toast — and this one with a wide variety of food — especially artisan cheeses.

Co-op wine tastings, by the way, happen on Friday evenings at 6 p.m., are lots of fun, cost little , and what they do cost ($1 a taste) always goes to a good cause. If you’ve never been to one, make it a New Year’s resolution. Check out the Co-op website for details.

So, a whole New Year’s Eve column without a single red wine — I scarcely recognize myself. But I’ll be back in 2013 with lots of good stills, both red and white. Meanwhile, best wishes to all my readers for a festive, sparkling, bubbly New Year’s Eve.

— Reach Susan Leonardi at [email protected] Comment on this column at www.davisenterprise.com

Comments

comments

Susan Leonardi

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New chemistry building in the works at UCD

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

     
    County supervisors receive positive report on Laura’s Law

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Fix it yourself, with a little help, at Bike Forth

    By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Squeezed by the math on conservation

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

     
    Big Day of Giving surpasses $5 million goal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    California regulators approve unprecedented water cutbacks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    ‘From Age-ing to Sage-ing’ guides library group

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Crossing lines, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    ’12 Angry Men’ will screen Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Kids get a peek at the great outdoors

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Heidrick Ag History Center rebranded as California Agriculture Museum

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    May 11 talk focuses on clean water

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Pet Food Express organizes Save a Kitten fundraiser

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Earth-centered author comes to Avid Reader

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    MIND Institute lecture will focus on prenatal exposure to insecticide

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

     
    Retirees to hear about Woodland’s shade tree campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Origami lovers will meet at library

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Breast cancer treatment update offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

    Health care documentary will screen at meeting

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Pence Gallery: We’re overflowing with gratitude

    By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Who is Ralph Hexter? Chancellor’s No. 2 fills us in

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    New book flows with good news about water

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

     
    Injection wells endanger our aquifers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    Living with this for 30 years

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Devils crush Edison to earn McClatchy rematch

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devils grind out a victory over Oak Ridge

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Davis boys dominate first playoff match

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies go flat in 7-1 Sacramento State win at Raley

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Alliance/Legacy roundup: Local squads fare well over the weekend

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    AYSO roundup: Davis teams capture Fog Classic crowns

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: Giants blank Pads, win fifth straight

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    High school artists exhibited at Pence Gallery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    See Christian Quintin’s paintings at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble returns

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Sac Ballet presents Modern Masters on May 8-9

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

     
    Davis Youth Flute Choir tunes up for China tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5