The Editor's Vineyard--Sparkling wines come into their own during the holiday season

It launches ships, used to toast brides and grooms and with Auld Lang Syne brings in the New Year. It is that wine with the tiny bubbles discovered by a French Monk called champagne for the region of France where it was first made.

Now sparkling wines are produced in many countries. Thanks to the rise of the Euro French champagnes now command some heady prices but here in California a large number of sparkling wines are produced, some by French winemakers.

This Writer, always appreciative of the budget minded, recently tasted two California sparklers that fit this category. In producing sparkling wines two methods are used, the classic method is called Methode Champenoise which simply means that the secondary fermentation was produced in the bottle. The second method is called the Charmat process which means that the secondary fermentation was done in large tanks rather than the individual bottle. Most inexpensive sparkling wines are made by the Charmat process.

However one of the sparklers we recently tasted was Domaine Laurier Brut which is Methode Champenoise. The wine offered fruit and flavors and those tiny bubbles which mark better sparklers. Price tag here is $12. We also tasted a Hacienda Brut which offered fresh flavors and a pleasant crispness on the palate. The word Brut or Extra Dry on the bottle describes the amount of sugar used in the secondary fermentation. Brut being the driest and Extra Dry for added sweetness.

What would New Year's celebrations be without sparkling wines?

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Last Update:12/15/08

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