Ring Out the Old; Bring in the New

2018 was the Year of Prosecco, that yummy, medium dry sparkling from Italy, delicious and refreshing, either chilled and served on its own anytime or used as the base for classic wine cocktails—Mimosa (orange juice) or Bellini (pear nectar), or the all rage, Aperol cocktail.

TRY the most popular nationwide LaMarca Prosecco, or Forest Hills’s biggest seller, Bollicini Prosecco, or try our Steward Team’s recent discovery, a real gem:

TRY Sachetto Mille Bolle NV “Gorgeous” Prosecco, a great wine in a cool bottle. The name means “a thousand bubbles.” (though the American Chemical Society claims that it is more likely that a single glass of sparkling contains one million bubbles—if you don’t drink it!). This one has fine bubbles and is medium dry.

So, what does 2019 bring? Though wine pundits believe that Prosecco has hits its peak, they predict that the bubbly craze will continue as more and more people venture into unexpected wine origins, try new grapes, seek out hidden treasures. And it is possible to do that now, right here in River City, USA. There are excellent quality bubbles at affordable prices from wine regions all over the world.
I say to wine lovers, old hands and newcomers, baby-boomers and millennials, make a New Year’s Resolution to celebrate, in style or in your jeans and tee, or your pajamas. Don’t wait for a big event to crack open a bottle of sparkling. You don’t have to. You can come home from work, kick off your shoes, and indulge yourself with a relaxing glass of chilled sparkling wine, and just celebrate life’s tiniest triumphs, the humble, everyday ups and downs. Remember the words of the Emperor General Napoleon, who said of his favorite beverage, “In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.”

Yes, for the grandest occasions, go ahead and splurge on that classic bottle of the real stuff—Champagne from the Champagne region of France, made in the painstaking traditional methods with the best grapes from the finest areas in that region—handpicked, carefully blended, and twice fermented, the bottles all turned by hand. Try Bollinger NV Brut, Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé, or one of the wonderful, exclusive, so-called, small grower Champagnes. 

TRY: André Clouet NV Brut Nature This is a WOW, a small grower Champagne, grown and produced by a single vineyard owner in Champagne (Big name Champagnes are produced in huge quantities for export and the grapes are purchased from grape growers around the region). These are the Champagnes that the French drink and are, surprisingly, most often less expensive than the big names. Top of the wine Treasure Hunt!

California produces some lovely “champagnes” in the traditional French method and style and made with the traditional grapes of Champagne: Chardonnay grapes or a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes.

TRY Domaine Corners Brut Cuvée, (90 Points from Wine Spectator) an organic sparkling wine made with the grapes and with the same traditional Champagne method as the real stuff. This is a California, wine owned and made by the famous Champagne House, Taittinger. (Watch for in-store tastings this coming week of this wine!)

But sparkling can be made from almost any wine grape and is! Here are several treasure hunt wines to try:

TRY Loosen Bros. NV “Dr. L” Sparkling Riesling from the Mosel region of Germany (91 Points from Wine Enthusiast) is a simply beautiful wine, delicate but aromatic, with melon and peach flavors. Serve it with an apple tart and a triple cream Brie.

TRY Tapiz NV Extra Brut Torrontes from the Mendoza region of Argentina is unexpected, fresh and citrusy, great with grilled or broiled fish.

TRY St. Hilaire Blanquette de Limoux NV Brut from the Languedoc region of France is technically a “crémant.” It is made from Mauzac grapes with a small percentage of Chard and Chenin Blanc. Serve it with chicken in a cream sauce.

NOTE: A crémant is a French regional sparkling NOT from the more prestigious Champagne area and following the strict regulations to produce Champagne. These wines are high quality but made from different grapes and according to the rules of their own regions. There are some incredible gems to be found in this category. There are crémants readily available in wine department from Burgundy and the Loire that are delicious.

On a final note: Let’s not forget the sweet sparklers. The fad for Moscato is fading because mediocre stuff is being produced in the millions of gallons, but the taste for the true Moscato d’Asti (only from Asti in Northern Italy) is not going away soon, thank heavens. And wine seekers are beginning to discover its delicious red cousin. Brachetto d’Acqui. Ambrosia for sure, both of them, pretty, delicate, and elusive, gently effervescent and low alcohol.

TRY: Borgo Maragliano La Caliera Moscato d’Asti DOCG Elegantly and lightly sweet with floral and apricot aromas. Chill and serve with mascarpone and ripe pears.

TRY: Borgo Maragliano Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG Dangerously delicious with a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.

Don’t pass up the Cavas from Spain, sparklings from California, Washington and Oregon, Michigan, even New Mexico, many of which are available in your Destination Wine departments. Chat with your Stewards, those passionate and knowledge tour guides prepared to lead you through the winding wine paths!



Roz Mayberry
About Roz:
During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.
Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.