Friday, August 29, 2014
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 vinosusana@gmail.com. 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

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics