Posts filed under ‘Styles’

November 2010: Holiday Champagne & Sparkling Wines


What a great line up this year for our annual bubbly tasting.  This year had more Champagne proper than previous years, but notice how well the sparkling wines compared (at sometimes half the price).

Click here to see a short video clip with each member of this month’s tasting panel unveiling his/her favorite!


Jean-Louis Denois NV Brut Blanc de Blanc
(94 points)
Region: Languedoc, France; Varietals: Chardonnay
Retail: $19.99 | Mixed Case $15.99 
Tasting Notes:  Wonderful nose of biscuits, beeswax & apples. Elegant, complex & great acidity. Beautiful apple & pear fruit with some citrus notes. Great, long, tasty finish. Champagne? (Jens’ favorite) Tasting Notes: Lemon curd color! N: beach ball plastic, lemon, hazelnuts. P: full mouth of miniature mousse, meaty flavors with equatorial citrus flavors – starfruit, wonderful acidity & softness at once. (Ken)

Gosset NV Brut Excellence Champagne (93 points)
Region: Champagne, France; Varietals: Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Retail: $44.99 | Mixed Case $35.99 
Tasting Notes:  Polished brass color. N: buttered nuts, brown butter too, roasted pears. P: big bold pear & apple pie flavors, ginger, pecan sandies cookies, taut acidity & style (Ken’s favorite) Tasting Notes: Color is rich honey with pink due (pale). Nose has shortbread & raw almonds  – on the palate – olive & lemons, soft bubbles. Finish lingers & beckons like a fresh baked apple pie cooling. I like this very much. Comfortable & festive. (Gina)

Graham Beck 2006 Brut Blanc de Blanc (93 points)
Region:  Stellenbosch, South Africa; Varietals: Chardonnay
Retail: $27.99 | Mixed Case $22.39 
Tasting Notes:  Light golden hue. Fresh crisp Fuji apples and white flowery bouquet. White melon and citrus on the palate with a lovely creamy mouthfeel. Long finish of white fruits. (William’s favorite) Tasting Notes: N: Cured meat, jamon?, gingered apples. P: rich caramelized apple flavors, lemongrass, crystallized ginger. (Ken)

Aubry NV Champagne Premier Cru (92 points)
Region: Champagne, France; Varietals: Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Retail: $44.99 | Mixed Case $35.99 
Tasting Notes:  Absolutely gorgeous color. Fantastic  nose with aromas of biscuit & crème brulée. Super texture & acidity with wonderful flavors of citrus, lime, bosch pears & biscuits again. Long, elegant finish. Should be Champagne. (Jens) Tasting Notes:  Fast rising bubbles … light copper edges. In the nose toast, bread dough & a little nut. Round creamy mid-palate. Bubbles fade on finish. Flavors of peach & strawberry. Has great mousse quality, but finish fades fast. (Gina) Tasting Notes:  Granny Smith apple skins, over ripe peach, honey. Clipped finish. (William)

De Gastinière NV Champagne (92 points)
Region: Champagne, France; Varietals: Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
Retail: $33.99 | Mixed Case $27.19 
Tasting Notes:  Gold, light brass. Developed notes of Brazilian nuts, mature apricots & citrus. Balanced by oxidative notes of almonds and dried honey. (William) Tasting Notes: Golden color with aromas of ripe apples, quince & dried apricots. Great acidity – lots of apple flavors on the mid-palate with some pink grapefruit. Nice finish. (Jens)

Domaine Rosier NV Blanquette de Limoux (92 points)
Region: Languedoc, France; Varietals: Mauzac/Chardonnay
Retail: $27.50 | Mixed Case $22  
Tasting Notes:  Expansive bubbles – crisp with fervor! Nose has light yeast but also floral notes. Bubbles dance all over the palate.  Great mousse quality. Clean finish with perfect amount of toasted nuts. (Gina’s favorite) Tasting Notes: Clean, minerally nose, lemongrass & herbal thyme aromas. P: spiced apples, lemon peel, citrus flavors, lemon/lime. (Ken)

Pierre Ferraud NV Blanc de Blanc (89 points)
Region: Burgundy, France; Varietals: Chardonnay
Retail: $24.99 | Mixed Case $19.99  
Tasting Notes:  Lime, freshly squeezed lemons, with kiwi fruit. Young with terrific potential for nuance. (William) Tasting Notes:  Inviting nose of lime, citrus, white peaches. Very good acidity give this wine a lift. Ripe fruit, mainly apples, with citrus & lime. Very refeshing. (Jens)

Vignerons des Terres Socrétes NV Blanc de Noir Cremant de Bourgogne (89 points)
Region: Burgundy, France; Varietals: Pinot Noir
Retail: $25.99 | Mixed Case $20.79 
Tasting Notes:  Beautiful aromas of fresh grass, pears & melons. Soft, medium-bodied, good acidity with nice flavors of citrus, apples & melons. Nice finish. (Jens)  Tasting Notes:  Pale yellow. Nose has almonds & white flowers. Soft & light fruit. Bubbles are subtle … finish has a little grapefruit citrus. (Gina)

November 2010 Tasting Panel:  Jens Strecker, Gina Gregory, Ken O’Hara, William Woodruff, Catherine Reynolds

The following wines are in-stock or can be ordered at:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
5205 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107
email: info@portaliswines.com
phone: 206-783-2007

November 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment

December 2009: Sparkling Wines

Very interesting results … non-Champagne sparkling wines did just as well in this blind tasting as the real deal. See what your local professional panel had to say and which ones sound interesting for your upcoming New Year’s Eve celebration.  I, for one, want to try the Graham Beck from South Africa which was repeatedly described as having notes of seaweed & sea salt in combination with a pronounced fruitiness.  Aren’t you curious?!

EXCELLENT (90-94 points)

Boizel NV Champagne Brut Reserve
(92 points)
Region: Champagne, France; Varietals: Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier/Chardonnay; Retail: $49.50
Tasting Notes: Beautiful yellow color. Aromas of toast, brioche and biscuit. Fuller-bodied, excellent acidity and complexity, elegant and classy. Fantastic flavors of apples, with some citrus and lime and some mousse. Again brioche and biscuit. Must be Champagne! (Jens)
Tasting Notes: Lovely nose of toast and biscuits – would definitely say Champagne … full of apples, tea biscuits, ginger. A lovely balance and a finish that lingers on and on … superb! (Theresa)
Tasting Notes: Nose: bubble bath (in a good way), exotic cocnut milk creaminess, orange creamsicle. Palate: exciting balance of ginger, graham crackers, white pepper & fennel, pink grapefruit. (Ken)


Graham Beck 2007 Brut Rosé
(92 points)
Region: Stellenbosch, SA; Varietals: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay; Retail: $19.50
Tasting Notes: Blush pink – don’t let the color fool you. Nose has intense sea salt, light rose & watermelon. Wonderful acidity – juicy red fruit and perfect balanced bubbles. Finish is moderate, but delightful all the way there. (Gina)
Tasting Notes: Wonderful light ink color. Very floral on the nose. Aromas of wild flowers, strawberries and notes of seaweed. Well-balanced, complex and elegant. Beautiful flavors of strawberries with elmon and lime. Hints of mousse and biscuit with a touch of sea salt. Wonderful long finish. (Jens)

Paul Ginglinger NV Cremant d’Alsace (92 points)
Region: Alsace, France; Varietals: Riesling/Pinot Blanc; Retail: $24
Tasting Notes: Doughy on the nose, with scone & candied lemon peel. Palate: meaty with green fig, cantaloupe, & a mysterious bright starfruit beam riding the bubbles all the way down. (Ken)
Tasting Notes: Subtle notes of toast, yeast & underlying brioche. Palate much more expressive than the nose – moussey, small bubbles. Fills your mouth and keeps expanding – citrus & mineral focused. (Theresa)
Tasting Notes: Nose is a little more subtle – light apples, light spice, light minerality. Maybe a little vanilla. Great bubbly! Really well-balanced mouthfeel. This one is screaming for oysters (or caviar, if you swing that way!). I like it! It finished dry & perfect. (Michael)


Schoenheitz NV Crement d’Alsace
(92 points)
Region: Alsace, France; Varietals: Auxerois/Pinot Blanc ; Retail: $22
Tasting Notes: Shimmery golden hues – mmm – toasty aromas, a little hazelnut, cooked pears. Very elegant mouthfeel, bubbles are very light , but wow, flavor and finish makes up for it. This is easy like Sunday morning … creamy, vanilla-y, more pears. (Gina)
Tasting Notes: This one really smells like “champagne” – yeasty – like bread rising. Super light notes of apple, maybe some white peach in there. Tons of minerality on the palate but great fruit too. This is a party wine. The wine will have everyone looking forward to food! (Michael)

Bernard Bremont Champagne Grand Cru (91 points)
Region: Champagne, France; Varietals: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay; Retail: $46
Tasting Notes: Again [followed Boizel in tasting lineup], beautiful pale yellow color. Very complex aromas of toast and biscuit with some baked apples. Very complex and elegant. Fantastic acidity going all the way. Wonderful flavors of mousse, apples, citrus and lime with brioche and biscuit notes. (Jens)
Tasting Notes: Mineral and slate in the nose with a dusting of graham cracker. Rich and round then followed by racy acidity that cleans the palate – in wait for the next taste. (Theresa)

GOOD (85-89 points)
Alvise Langien NV Prosecco
(89 points)
Region: Prosecco, Italy; Varietals: Prosecco ; Retail: $14
Tasting Notes: Nose is all green apple, a little yeasty, but in a pleasant way. Palate is still all apple, but there is a little overlying sweetness, almost like more of a demi-sec, but great. This would rock with some spicy apps. (Michael)
Tasting Notes: Lemon zest and ginger in the nose. Flavors of lemon custard, touch of honey dew melon, small frothy bubbles, good structure and acidity, great long finish (Theresa)

Antech NV Blanquette de Limoux (88 points)
Region: Limoux, France; Varietals: Mauzac/Chardonnay; Retail: $15
Tasting Notes: Great pale straw color. Nose is super subtle, light apple, light everything. Great apple/peachy on the palate. Great airy finish with just a hint of floral/fuity happiness left “hanging around” to make you want more. (Michael)
Tasting Notes: Very eggy notes on the nose, ripe fruits, lots of verve and cut on the finish, wild honey, violets & rose. (Catherine)

Mountain Dome NV Brut Rosé (87 points)
Region: WA State; Varietals: Pinot Noir/Chardonnay; Retail: $25
Tasting Notes: Nose – White flowers x ripe strawberries. Light bubbles, very delightful, soft creaminess. Flavors of juicy strawberry. Finish is short and delicate. (Gina)
Tasting Notes: Hints of strawberry, citrus and stone in the nose. The strawberry extends to the palate with some fresh green herbs. Finishes with a rich creaminess that makes for a long finish. (Theresa)

Bisol NV Crede Prosecco (86 points)
Region: Veneto, Italy; Varietals: Prosecco; Retail: $23
Tasting Notes: Fun bubbles! Nose has prominent minerality, banana peel and a little forest. Flavors of walnuts and Asian pear, finish is a little short, but the mid-palate explodes. (Gina)
Tasting Notes: Nose: bananas, cotton candy. Palate: pez candies, fruit stripes, good & plenties, lime starburst. (Ken)

December Tasting Panel:  Jens Strecker, Gina Gregory, Ken O’Hara, Catherine Reynolds, Theresa Slechta, and guest taster: Michael Friesen.

The following wines are in-stock or can be ordered at the following local wine shops:
Portalis Wine Shop + Wine Bar
email: info@portaliswines.com
phone: 206-783-2007

December 23, 2009 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment


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