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SPARKLING WINES

December 10, 2000 • Bailey-Cannon Wine Merchants

Anticipating 2001 - A Taste Odyssey (no booing, please; I couldn't stop myself!), we mark the end of this year with another round of sparklers. PfW very much enjoyed this group of wines. In a slight departure from our normal procedure, we tried them by twos, noted our descriptions, then moved on to the next pair, reserving our overall ranking until all had been tasted, of course. It's interesting to compare the results of previous tastings (8/7/2000 or 11/8/99), since several wines are repeats. (Either link will open a new browser window, which can be sized and positioned "over or under" for ease of comparative viewing.)
Brand
Vintage & Varietal/Type
Appellation -$ price
Consensus Tasting Notes
Notes in bold type indicate three
or more comments in agreement.
(enclosed ?) = comment on a possible flaw
#Rank
Buying Advice

Pacific Echo
(nv) Brut
Mendocino -$16.

Pale green; very light aroma suggests citrus, pears, yeast, dough, shortbread, toast, malt, almonds, and a hint of sherry; creamy, lively, and persistent mousse; tight, somewhat appley fruit flavor (faintly oxidized?) also hints at lemons, artichokes, toast, yeast, and minerals with some richness; crisp, lightly tart, harmonious

#1
Very Highly
Recommended
BEST BUY

Deutz
(nv) Brut
Reims, France -$32.

Pale gold; citrus, bread dough, mushroom, caramel, nutty, terpine, and sherry aromas; very creamy mousse, sparse, pinpoint bubbles; driest wine of the group, melon, bread, older flavors (too old?) echo nose with some richness; tart balance; medium long, faintly bitter (sour?) finish.

#2
Very Highly
Recommended

DVX (Mumm Napa)
1995 Brut
Napa Valley -$40.

Pale straw; very light citric-lime, floral, yeasty, and slightly nutty-oaky aroma (ethyl acetate?); lively, tiny bubbles with a creamy mouthfeel; light, anise, lemon, citric-limey flavor; dry, crisp, excellent balance, slightly acidic; medium-long finish.

#3
Very Highly
Recommended

J
1996 Brut
Sonoma County -$26.

Consensus tasting notes.Pale strawberry; light, clean aroma, faintly suggests apples, citrus, toast; persistent and tiny bubbles; very light, creamy, fruity-tart citrus or apple-like flavor with a hint of mint; soft balance; clean, with a tart finish (faint aspirin?). (Repeat)

#4 (tie)
Highly
Recommended

Michel Gonet
(nv) Brut Reserve
Avize, France -$30.

Pale straw; aroma of yeast, bread, apple pie, light toast, walnuts, almonds, minerals (faint sulfur?); foamy, creamy, tiny bubbles; big fruity flavor mixes baked apples, walnuts and toasted almonds with some richness; soft balance; long finish.

#5 (tie)
Highly
Recommended

Mirabelle
(nv) Brut
North Coast -$14.

Pale straw; aroma mixes lemon/lime, light toast, and a light buttery-creamy quality (musty?); very expansive, foamy, pinpoint bubbles; light, simple, delicate flavor, echoes nose somewhat; lemony, tart balance; appley finish. (NOTE: made by Schramsberg)

#6
Highly
Recommended
BEST BUY

Seaview
1998 Brut
Southeastern Australia -$9.

Light yellow; complex, orange peel, citrus, perfume, burnt toast, nutty, almond, caramel, biscuit dough, and petroleum aromas; very lively, large bubbles; slightly heavy flavors quite full, rich, with bread, biscuit dough, toast (dull?) mask light citrus fruit, pears; dry, crisp; clean, tart, short finish. (Repeat)

#7
Highly
Recommended

BEST BUY

Roederer Estate
(nv) Brut
Anderson Valley -$18.

Pale straw; fruity aroma mingles apples, lime, yeast, shortbread, smoke, almonds, and toast; expansive mousse with tiny bubbles, slightly rich; fresh, light, fruity citrus, pippin apple, and mango flavors; excellent balance is slightly tart; long, clean finish. (Repeat)

#8
Recommended

Henri Abelé
(nv) Brut Champagne
Reims, France -$26.

Pale yellow; faintly yeasty, biscuit dough, oaky, over fruity, sweet aromas, evoke vanilla, cotton candy, apple-pie, overripe oranges; foamy mousse, somewhat creamy; dry, yet very fruity, yeasty, limey, apple pie-like flavors with some perfume, minerals and toastiness; good balance, crisp, slightly bittersweet; clean (sour?), short finish.

#9
Recommended

Gloria Ferrer
1992 "Royal Cuvée" Brut
Carneros -$22.

Pale straw; aromas are stinky, dank, moldy, cheesy, sulfurous, and possibly corked; expansive, coarse mousse; dry, petroleum flavor; sharply acidic. (NOTE: This bottle was decidedly "off"; in a previous tasting, two separate bottles placed 2nd and 8th and evoked different notes, certainly indicating some bottle variation or inconsistency.)

#10
Not
Recommended

This Panel included Regulars Kevin, Glenn, Deanna, Jon, Ray, Jim, Ron, James, and Guests Tammy, Peter, and Mike
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