The Dozen This Month Vol. 27 No. 11

The Dozen – The First Sparkler Wines of Fall

As autumn leaves start to fall, the first bubblies of the holiday season start to drop.


As summer turns to fall, producers of Champagnes and other sparkling wines begin to think of the holidays – the time of year when most of their sales take place – and soon samples of bubblies begin to drop like falling leaves of red and gold.

We have several here – our first tranche of sparklers of the season:

NV La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Sparkling Blanc ($8) – Mellow apple flavor with good bubbles, but a touch heavy on the palate.

NV Le Vieille Ferme Vin de France Sparkling Rosé ($8) – A real winner, just a lovely everytday bubbly with fresh apple flavors, a little spice and a lean finish.

NV Marqués de Cáceres Cava Brut ($12) – Minerally, with a root-cellar note of preserved apples.

NV Alma Negra Mendoza Brut Nature Rosé ($22) – A firmer bubbly with strawberry flavors, a hint of white cheese whey and a lot of fine bubbles.

NV Stephane Briday Crémant de Bourgogne ($29) – Very frothy with apple and vanilla flavors and some tin-cup minerality.

NV Amirault “Les Quarterons” Crémant de Loire ($35) – A little sweet and minty with dried fruit notes in the finish.

NV Loimer Niederösterreich Extra Brut Reserve ($41) – Very nice, with rich herbal flavors to complement the apple fruitiness and metallic minerality.

NV Loimer Niederösterreich Brut Rosé Reserve ($45) – Lean, very minerally with light flavors of strawberries and a hint of taffy in the finish.

And besides effervescence, we also have some very interesting red table wines from Hardys:

2021 Highlands 41 “Black Granite” Paso Robles Red Wine ($15) – A big, interesting wine with dark berry and dark cherry flavors and a lot of dry savory accents.

2019 Hardy’s “Tintara” McLaren Vale Shiraz Reserva ($20) – Very tart, with a lot of sticky tannins and great flavors of drying blackberries just pried off the dying vines.

2019 Hardy’s “Tintara” McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($20) – Lovely aromas of dark and tart berries with ripe and rich, almost creamy, berry flavors and flavorful tannins with a lean finish.

2018 Hardy’s “Eileen Hardy” McLaren Vale Shiraz ($99) – Great depth of flavors with mature, concentrated berry fruit and lovely barrel notes, a little tight yet almost creamy – a luxurious wine to sip the way one would a fine red Burgundy.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.

Roger Morris writes about wine, food and travel for The World of Fine Wine, Drinks Business, Meininger's Wine Business International, Wine Enthusiast and other publications in the U.S. and Europe.

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