The Austin Chronicle

Weekend Wine

By Wes Marshall, December 16, 2017, 5:03am, On the Range

No doubt we all love Champagne. You know, the real thing - the wines that come from the Champagne area of France. But they are so expensive.

I’ve had the good fortune to travel around the Champagne region and I can attest that the governmental machinations they have to go through create the uniformity of excellence. That’s the reason why a bottle of Champagne is worthy of a celebration. It is also the reason for the high prices.

Luckily, other countries have stepped in to provide delightful sparkling wines at a fraction of the cost, but because they operate with fewer rules and policies, you can’t just pick any bottle of Cava (Spain) or Prosecco (Italy) or other sparkling wines and have the same level of confidence in its quality that you can in Champagne. That’s where Weekend Wine rides to the rescue. We’ve sifted through to find a few gems that you can proudly serve at any occasion.


Let’s start with Spain. Castellblanch’s Extra Brut ($8) is bone dry and filled with medium sized bubbles. It makes an ideal aperitif. Anna de Cordoniu's Brut ($15) is easy to drink and tasty with food. Try it with thin sliced Jamón drizzled with olive oil.

There is a glut of Prosecco on the market and much of it is boring. Adami's Garbèl Brut Prosecco di Treviso DOC ($14) is a perfect match with the fruits of our Gulf, especially fried shrimp or fried oysters. Moscato di Asti is another Italian sparkling wine, but this one is made for fans of big, aromatic and sweet wines. Vietti’s Moscato di Asti Cascinetta ($16) has very light bubbles and low enough alcohol to keep even your most savage party animals sober.

In the U.S. Roederer Estate ($20) is toasty with a tad of butterscotch on the apple-y aromas. Try it with a sheep or goat cheese, preferably one from Pennyroyal Farm, right down Highway 128 from Roederer, where they make a delicious sheep/goat raw milk cheese. If you don’t want to go that route, this wine would be ideal with Paula Lambert’s HOJA SANTA goat cheese from the Mozzarella Company or CKC Farms Baby Blue goat cheese.

For those with the necessary scratch, a few Champagnes fall along the lower price levels (for Champagne!) of about $40. A couple that you won’t find everywhere, but worth the search are Henriot’s "Souverain" Brut Champagne or Lanson Black Label Brut.

Happy holidays!

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