I have a friend – a wine merchant – who has a credo for any tasting, dinner, party, or other events she may be hosting. “I always start with bubbles,” she says, generally Champagne, although she is cool with other sparklers from other places.
This Dozen is mainly about Champagne and some Prosecco, all ideal for starting a hot summer afternoon or evening full of fun and food. And for those drinkers looking for non-sparkling alternatives, we finish with some California wines, which you may want to take Prisoner.
NV Mionetto Prosecco Extra Dry ($14). Pleasant spiciness with mellow apples.
NV Mionetto Prosecco Brut Rosé ($14). Very delicate cherry flavors with lots of creamy mousse.
NV Lanson “Le Black Label” Champagne Brut ($44). Moderately rich and full-bodied with fresh apples and toasty notes.
NV Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne ($46). A mouthful of bubbles with lots of intensity and apple flavors.
NV Ayala “Rosé Majeur” Champagne ($61). A frothy pour with a supple body, flavors of dried apricots, and a good, crisp finish.
NV Bollinger “Special Cuvée” Brut Champagne ($68). Great complexity with pleasing metallic minerality in the nose and on the palate with additional flavors of mature apples and pears and a touch of honey.
NV Perrier-Jouet Blanc de Blanc Champagne Brut ($85). Pleasant gamey aromas with dried apples and plums flavors mixed in with hints of wood and spent yeasts, all culminating in a long and enjoyable finish.
NV Billecart-Salmon Brut “Sous Bois” Champagne ($87). Very good progression of flavors – green fruitiness followed by metallic minerality followed by lightly toasted brioche.
NV Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne ($92). Rich, slightly tangy flavors of apples and quince.
2018 The Prisoner Napa Carneros Chardonnay ($37). Mellow apple flavors with a delicious toasty finish – not too much, not too little, but just right.
2018 The Prisoner “Eternally Silenced” California Pinot Noir ($50). Very nice – rounded ripe cherry along with a hint of red Vermouth with some savory notes – a perfect wine for Manhattan drinkers.
2018 The Prisoner Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($56). Ripe and rounded blackberries – almost creamy – with a dollop of toasty oak.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
Feature photo credit: Comite Champagne