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Sparkling Wines

 

The Fifty Best Sparkling Wine Tasting of 2018

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 17 recent release sparkling wines with 14 pre-qualified wine judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was determined beforehand by lottery. The flavored sparkling wine was tasted and scored separately. Each of the sparkling wines were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles and served well chilled. Only ice water and peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. Prices indicated do not include tax.

 



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
La Primavera di Barbara Millesimato 2016 DOCG

(Italy) $17

This wine was made from 90% Glera grapes and 10% Perera Provenienti grapes (grown in the Veneto) that were fermented in stainless steel and carbonated by the Charmat process.

Aroma: Lemon, citrus, pineapple, late harvest grapes, very brut cider, honeycomb, white flowers, biscuit, bread, yeast, peat, moss, flint.

Palate: Apple, pear, pineapple, honey, honeycomb, elderflower, floral, Earl Grey tea, light clove, biscuit, yeast, funk, earth, mineral, rich, bold, creamy smooth, nicely balanced.

Finish: Light apple, pineapple, concentrated raisins, biscuit, toasty, tealeaf tannin, dessert wine, smooth, super-elegant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore La Primavera di Barbara Millesimato 2016



Montelliana 57
Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG - Extra Dry

(Italy) $12

Created to celebrate the year the winery was founded (1957), this wine was fashioned from select Glera grapes grown in Asolo. After a soft pressing and primary fermentation, the wine was vinified by the Charmat method (in which bubbles are induced by a fermentation in large pressurized tanks).

Aroma: Sweet apple, pear, green apple skins, Champagne grapes, Jolly Rancher, Laffy Taffy, Tutti-Frutti, bubblegum, elderflower, floral, fresh hay, flint, steel.

Palate: Pear, tangerine, citrus, pineapple cider, fermented honey, vanilla, elderflower, floral, umami, mineral, clean.

Finish: Baked green apples, amaranth, bleu cheese, Romano cheese, crisp, tart, elegant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Montelliana 57 Asolo Prosecco Superiore



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Gancia
Rosé Brut Vino Spumante

(Italy) $10

Following an initial fermentation of a blend of red and white grapes, carbonation was induced by the Charmat method (a second fermentation takes place in large pressurized tanks).

Aroma: Raspberry, sour cherry, subtle strawberries, green apple, lemon, lemon peel, pineapple, rosewater, floral, bay leaf, anise, tart, earthy.

Palate: Cherry, raspberry, honeydew melon, tropical fruit, grapefruit, mild apple, tart, toasty/yeasty, good acid, well-balanced, clean, crisp, easy drinking.

Finish: Cherry, mild apple, elderflower, wood, tart, clean, crisp, refreshing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Gancia Rosé Brut Vino Spumante



Merotto Valdobbiadene Colbelo
Prosecco Superiore DOCG - Extra Dry

(Italy) $17

This wine was fashioned from 100% Glera grapes grown in the vineyards of Col San Martino and Pieve di Soligo. Following a soft pressing and primary fermentation at controlled temperatures, the wine underwent a secondary fermentation in pressurized stainless steel tanks for 40 days.

Aroma: Lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine, citrus, peach, tropical fruit, vanilla, creamy, pastry, baked bread, toast, mineral.

Palate: Green apple, tart apple, peach, mango, papaya, tropical fruit, lychee, citrus, off-dry cider, slight residual sugar, honey, cream, vanilla cookies, biscuit, toast, anise, nice fermentation.

Finish: Lychee, pineapple, mango skin, vanilla fudge, treacle, buttery, bread dough, nutmeg, clean, tart.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Merotto Valdobbiadene Colbelo Prosecco Superiore



Apothic Sparkling
Winemaker’s Blend Limited Release

(California) $12

This wine was made from a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato grapes.

Aroma: Green apple, sweet apple, pear, sweet orchard fruit, lemon, grapefruit, dried apricots, honey, wildflower honey, honeysuckle, mesquite flowers, floral, vanilla, hazelnut.

Palate: Pear, sweet apple, peach, pineapple, lemon peel, bubblegum, Bit-O-Honey, honey, fresh honeycomb, sweet elegant honey, mesquite flowers, white flowers, floral, bread-like, well-balanced.

Finish: Green apples, peach, citrus, lemon peel, honey, mead, light canella, funk, dried tealeaf.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Apothic Sparkling Winemaker’s Blend Limited Release



Tiziano
Prosecco Dry DOC

(Italy) $13

This bubbly was made from 100% Glera grapes grown in the Veneto, with carbonation by the Charmat (pressurized tank) method.

Aroma: Crisp apple, green apple, stewed green apple, apple, pear, orchard fruit, kiwi, peach, fresh guava, pineapple, grapefruit, fresh-cut ferns.

Palate: Golden apple, tart green apple, pear, apricot, tangerine, sweet pineapple, light peach, citrus-infused honey, buttery, elderflower, toast, great texture, bright.

Finish: Apples, citrus soda pop, toast, slightly tart, bright, very good, nice, pleasant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tiziano Prosecco



Gancia
Prosecco Brut Sparking Wine DOC

(Italy) $13

This wine was made from 100% Glera grapes grown in the region surrounding Verona, and was carbonated by the Charmat process (carbonation takes place in large pressurized tanks).

Aroma: Granny Smith apple, golden delicious apple, green apple, pear, stone fruit, honeydew, lemon, vanilla, honeysuckle, floral, fresh-cut heather, minerals, musty morning sea breeze.

Palate: Melon, green melon, golden apple, pear, peach, grapefruit, lemon peel, Sour Patch Kids candy, honeysuckle, almond, clove, brioche, buttery, clean, soft.

Finish: Kiwi, lemon, apple sauce, very smooth, elegant, seductive, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Gancia Prosecco Brut



Rotari Rosé 2013
Trento DOC Sparkling Wine

(Italy) $18

For this wine, hand-picked Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes (from vineyards at an altitude of over 1200 feet above sea level) were fermented and then aged in stainless steel for 6 months. Following a second fermentation in the bottle, the wine was aged for 24 months on its lees (wasted yeast) before bottling.

Aroma: Red apple, pear, lemon, citrus, pineapple, honeydew, roses, faint floral, thyme, clean.

Palate: Green apple, mild apple, pear, berry, cherry, lemon, light citrus, lemon candy, honey, floral, white flowers, cider-like, clean, crisp, elegant.

Finish: Tart cherry, minerality, clean, good acidity, tasty.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Rotari Rosé 2013 Trento Sparkling Wine



Vicente Gandia
El Miracle Cava Brut

(Spain) $13

This wine was made from 50% Chardonnay grapes and 50% Macabeo grapes, with the second fermentation to produce the bubbles taking place over 12 months in the bottle.

Aroma: Red apple, ripe mango, lime, lemon, grapefruit, citrus, cooked sugar, mead, honeysuckle, floral, neem leaf, cucumber, toast, light chalk, mineral, classic cava nose.

Palate: Golden apple, green apple, pear, green pears, dry pear cider, unripe plum, cherry, lemon, citrus, raw mango, tropical fruit, clean, energetic.

Finish: Raw mango, cherry, lemon sugar, minerality, wet stone, slightly tart, refreshing, really nice.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Vicente Gandia El Miracle Cava Brut



Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC
(Italy) $27

Made from 100% Glera grapes harvested in the early morning, this wine was initially fermented and then carbonated by the Charmat Method (a secondary fermentation in large pressurized tanks over 40 days).

Aroma: Green apple, light crisp golden apple, pear, stone fruit, sharp crab apple, citrus, apricot, cotton candy, ginger, brioche, earthy.

Palate: Golden apple, green apple, pear, peach, stone fruit, grapefruit, candied orange peel, fermented apple, bitter canella, fresh and fruity, some RS, acidity, solid, good energy.

Finish: Lychee, bitter canella, clean, fresh, crisp.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bottega Gold Prosecco



Graziano Merotto Valdobbiadene
Prosecco Superiore Brut Millesimato 2016

(Italy) $25

Made from 100% Glera grapes grown on the banks of Col San Martino (at over 600 ft above sea level), this wine was first fermented in stainless steel and then processed by the Charmat Method (i.e. carbonation in a large stainless steel pressurized tank).

Aroma: Fresh golden delicious apple, green apple, stewed ripe apple, peach, apricot, stone fruit, tropical fruit, lemon, melon, grass, butterscotch, banana cream, sharp clove, clean.

Palate: Tart apple, black cherry, stone fruit, grapefruit, citrus, melon, green apple taffy, vanilla, white flowers, dill, light mead, mineral, clean.

Finish: Mesquite honey, bitter almond, light mineral, clean, crisp, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Graziano Merotto Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut Millesimato 2016



Montelliana Asolo
Prosecco Superiore DOCG – Extra Dry

(Italy) $11

This wine was made from Glera grapes grown in the Asolo District. Following a soft pressing and primary fermentation, the wine was processed by a second fermentation by the Charmat (pressurized tank) Method for carbonation.

Aroma: Bosc pear, pear, green apple, apple peel, citrus, tropical fruit, dried strawberry, dried pineapple, honey, Apple Jolly Rancher, bubblegum, vanilla, elderflower.

Palate: Pear, gala apple, stewed green apple, lime, grapefruit, apricot pit, honey, Jolly Rancher, elderflower, floral, hazelnut, buttery, nice minerality.

Finish: Orange cotton candy, bitter almond, clean.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Montelliana Asolo Prosecco Superiore



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Rotari
Brut 2013 Trento DOC

(Italy) $17

Made from only “free-run” juice of 100% hand-picked Chardonnay grapes (grown in the Dolomite area), this wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks for 4 months. It then underwent a second fermentation in the bottle (over 40 days) and was aged on its lees (wasted yeast) for two years before bottling.

Aroma: Golden Delicious apple, pear, tart melon, lime, grapefruit, white flowers, honeysuckle, mint, musty grapes, moss, earth, yeasty, mineral, stone, oak barrels.

Palate: Apple, pear, peach, pineapple, cantaloupe, citrus, grapefruit, honey, cream soda, mineral, nice fermentation, clean, fresh, easy drinking.

Finish: Pear, citrus, green grapes, anise, oak, tart.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Rotari Brut 2013 Trento



Mezza di Mezzacorona
Extra Dry Italian Glacial Bubbly

(Italy) $15

Grapes for this wine hailed from the hills of the Trevisio provence, with fermentation of grapes by the Charmat (tank) method for producing bubbles.

Aroma: Apple, green apple, grapefruit, tropical fruit, lightly floral, herbal, basil, cut grass, light pine, mountain flavors, musty, chalky, mineral.

Palate: Lemon, lemon zest, grapefruit, orange, orchard fruit, vanilla, marzipan, crème brûlée, honeysuckle, elderflower, floral, pine nuts, pine, mineral, smooth, refined.

Finish: Green apple, bubblegum, tart, great fruit expression, touch of acidity balances out sweetness, low mousse, pronounced, fresh, clean, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Mezza di Mezzacorona Extra Dry Italian Glacial Bubbly



Montelliana
Treviso Prosecco DOC - Extra Dry

(Italy)

This bubbly was made from Glera grapes that underwent a soft pressing, followed by primary fermentation and carbonation by the Charmat (pressurized tank) Method.

Aroma: Green apple, lemon, lime, pear, honeydew, white peach, apricot, mead, white flowers, sandalwood, cream.

Palate: Honey-crisp apple, green apple, pear, quince, lime, lemon, ripe honeydew, dehydrated apricots, Tutti-Frutti, banana cream, elderflower, toast.

Finish: Pear, honeydew, lemon, peach jam, apple skins, mineral, bright, crisp, refreshing.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Montelliana Treviso Prosecco



Vega Medien
Ecologico Brut Cava

(Spain) $7

This wine was made from a blend of organically grown Macabeu (50%) and Chardonnay (50%) grapes that were initially fermented in steel tanks with aging of 15 months for the second fermentation.

Aroma: Golden apple, apple cider, lemon, honeydew melon, golden raisins, vanilla, pastry cream, hazelnut, sherry-like, mineral, iodine, peat, musty.

Palate: Green apple, tart apple, brut sour apple cider, pears, lemon, grapefruit, tart, smoky.

Finish: Citrus, sharp canella, bread, light minerality, tart, crisp, fresh.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Vega Medien Ecologico Brut Cava



FLAVORED SPARKLING WINE

SILVER MEDAL WINNER

Wilson Creek
Almond Sparkling Wine

(Lodi, California) $17

This sparkling wine is naturally fermented from a blend of French Colombard and Chardonnay grapes with a small amount of pure almond extract added.

Aroma: Almond, almond macaroons, sweet almond pastry, incredible marzipan nose, amaretto, honey, raspberry seltzer.

Palate: Almond cookies, almond danish, marzipan, almond, coconut caramel, vanilla, honey, apple, pear, raspberry soda, semi-sweet.

Finish: Almond, good apples, raspberry, nice fruit, honey, rich, dessert, excellent.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling Wine

 

 

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