I love, love, LOVE Champagne!
However, there will be times when one is forced to move to Schitt's Creek, where these prized sparklers can't be found. Or perhaps one's wallet is feeling light this year, but the festivity must go on. Be of good (holiday) cheer, you do not have to resort to Zhampagne. There are yummy sparklers made via méthode champenoise that will not break the bank.
|David Rose getting some Zhampagne|
First, let's delve into this multi-step process to make Champagne.
Champagnes go through two fermentations. In the first fermentation, the yeast turns natural sugar in the grapes to alcohol, creating the base wine. This is then bottled with some liqueur de tirage, a mixture of wine, sugar, and yeast, which then kickstarts a second fermentation. This time, carbon dioxide, a fermentation bi-product, is trapped in the bottle and will eventually be released in tiny bubbles for the special occasion.
|Bottles in pupitres for riddling|
Finally, the bottle is topped up with liqueur d'expédition, usually a mixture of base wine, sucrose and sulfur dioxide, to balance and stabilize the wine. A cork is then secured in place with a wire cage.
- Winery: Castell d'Or
- Region/Appellation: Cava, Spain
- Retail Price: $11
- Minimum Aging: 14 months
- Winery Notes: Straw-colored yellow with slight golden highlights with a good release of small bubbles forming a rosary and a persistent crown. A fine aroma of aging, followed by floral scents and ripe fruits. In the mouth, it is extremely vivacious, compensated by a pleasant equilibrium and elegance. The aftertaste is fruity, evoking apple, pear and a hint of citrus. Fresh, pleasant, well-balanced and a good, fine structure of the bubble.
- Winery: Gruet Winery
- Region/Appellation: Middle Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico, United States
- Retail Price: $17
- Minimum Aging: 3.5 years
- Winery Notes: Gruet Blanc de Blancs is a Brut styled sparkler, medium lemon in color with a fantastic bead in the glass that remains incredibly lively throughout the palate. Aromas of intense notes of brioche, followed by green apples, lemon zest, honeysuckle, and tropical fruit.
- Winery: Treveri Cellars
- Region/Appellation: Yakima Valley, Washington, United States
- Retail Price: $15
- Minimum Aging: 24 months
- Winery Notes: The most well-known of sparkling wines, Treveri Blanc de Blancs captures hints of green apple and brioche, balanced out by a cool, crisp finish.