Wine of the Week
Holiday wines: bubbles without breaking the bank
Holiday Wines: Bubbles Without Breaking the Bank
Although a few Italians and Burgundians might disagree, most everyone agrees that the French from the tiny appellation of Champagne make the best sparkling wines in the world. Unfortunately, they also make the most expensive. To get better value, the best bargains in bubbly are from Spain.
There, the wines made in the same method as the Champenoise are called Cava. The Ferrers, one of the great families of Spanish wine, are responsible for many of the countries' finest sparkling wines, including Freixenet and Segura Viudas.
Freixenet Cordon Negro ($11, but often less than $10 during the holidays) is made for the casual drinker, one looking for a good wine at a rock-bottom price. The balance of acidity and sweetness is always right and works equally well for standing around chatting or having with a rich meal. Freixenet also offers their Cordon Rosado (also $11, but often less than $10 during the holidays), a version that's a bit fruitier and has a mere kiss of sugar, just enough for the folks who find sparkling wines too austere.
The Ferrers' other principal sparkling winery is Segura Viudas. Their Brut Reserva ($10, but again, often less) is an amazing bargain for cost counters, with beautiful apple-and-toast aromas and a delicious taste. The top of the line for the Ferrer family's Cavas is Segura Viuda Reserva Heredad ($27, occasionally less during holidays). This wine is fully competitive with Champagne, and given its five years of bottle-aging, the ruthless paring of grapes they consider less than perfect, and its heavy and distinctive bottle, it must be a miracle for the Ferrers to make any money from it at all!
All these wines are available in better wine shops and grocers throughout the city.