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Sparkling Wines

 

The Fifty Best Sparkling Wine Tasting of 2019

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 11 recent release sparkling wines with 14 pre-qualified wine judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was determined beforehand by lottery. 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 highest. 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

Iron Horse 2010 Brut LD
(Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California) $110

This wine was made by the classic Champagne Method (where the second fermentation to produce the bubbles occurs in the final bottle), from a blend of hand-harvested Pinot Noir (50%) and Chardonnay (50%) grapes.

Aroma: Green apple, grapefruit, pear, whipped cream, birthday cake, cherry sprinkles, spring blossoms, vegetal, bread, Angostura bitters, mineral.

Palate: Green apple, kiwi soda, kiwi tart, lemon, citrus, blueberries, honey, vanilla, whipped cream, pastry dough, bread crust, almond, tart, clean, bright.

Finish: Kiwi, white peach, cherry, citrus, whipped cream, nuts, balanced, tasty.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Iron Horse Brut LD



Mumm Napa Brut Prestige Sparkling Wine
(Napa County, California) $24

This blend of hand-harvested grapes (45% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir, 10% Pinot Meunier) was initially fermented mainly in stainless steel tanks (and a amaller amount in French oak barrels), then aged in the bottle for 18 months and aged another 3 months once the wine was “disgorged” (yeast removed, and “dosage” added then cork).

Palate: Green apple, grapefruit, pomelo, lemon custard, lavender, floral, anise, mint, bread, yeast, chardonnay, beautiful.

Finish: Apple, lime, citrus, key lime pie, bread crust, creamy, buttery, perfect balance, delicious.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Mumm Napa Brut Prestige Sparkling Wine



Montelliana 57
Asolo Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. - Extra Dry

(Italy) $14

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: Ripe papaya, peach, pear, green apple, tart apple, citrus, lemon zest, crusty bread, toast.

Palate: Apple, pear, lemon, lime, passionfruit, almond, toast, crisp, bright.

Finish: Pear tart, light honeycomb, green apple skin, crisp, refreshing.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Montelliana 57 Asolo Prosecco Superiore



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Montelliana Prosecco Treviso D.O.C. Extra Dry
(Italy) $12

For this wine, grapes from the Province of Trevisio are first fermented into a “still” white wine and then placed in large pressurized stainless steel tanks to induce carbonation (Charmat method).

Aroma: Apple, green apple, peach, pear, citrus, lemon fizz, banana bread, apple danish, green vegetal, spearmint, crisp.

Palate: Green apple, pear, peach, green grape, lime, light lemon, lemon sugar, pastry cream, elderflower, vegetal, refreshing.

Finish: Green apple, lime, lemon cookie, toast, minerality, crisp, clean.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Montelliana Prosecco Treviso D.O.C. Extra Dry



Wilson Creek Rosé Sparkling Wine
(California) $20

This wine was made from a blend of French Colombard, Chardonnay and a mix of red grape varieties.

Aroma: Cherry, strawberry, raspberry, melon, rose petals, roses, grenache, beautiful.

Palate: Tart cherry, cherry, raspberry, strawberry, tropical fruit, elderflower, crisp.

Finish: Cherry, raspberry, strawberry, squeeze of lime, sugar, rose petals, great balance, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Wilson Creek Rosé Sparkling Wine



Tiziano Prosecco Dry D.O.C.
(Italy) $13

This sparkler was fashioned from Glera grapes grown in the hills north of Trevisio, using the Charmat Method (in which the secondry fermentation to produce the bubbles takes place in pressurized stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Kiwi, lime, pear, peach, 7-Up, cream, almond.

Palate: Peach, white peach, guanabana, guava, berries, baked apple, touch of lime, vanilla, whipped cream, toast, minerality.

Finish: Lime, lime pie, lime pudding, peach, pastry cream, crusty bread.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tiziano Prosecco Dry D.O.C.



Vega Medien Cava Brut Ecológico
(Spain) $8

This wine was produced from a blend of organically grown Macabeu (50%) and Chardonnay (50%) grapes that were initially fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged over a year for the second fermentation to produce the bubbles.

Aroma: Green apple, lemon, lime, citrus, tropical fruits, honeycomb, natural cherry soda, pith, mineral, crisp, bright.

Palate: Cherry, pear, citrus, baked peaches, vanilla, custard, pastry, pie crust, bread dough. chalk, fresh minerality, balanced, clean, super lean, bright, nice.

Finish: Apple, cherry, lemon, lime, citrus, toast, chalk, dusty, balanced, crisp, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Vega Medien Cava Brut Ecológico



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Montelliana
Asolo Prosecco Superiore Extra Brut D.O.C.G.

(Italy) $15

This low residual sugar wine is made by first fermenting Glera grapes from the Asolo district into a “still” white wine and then inducing bubbles by the Charmat Method (in which the wine is placed in large pressurized tanks to produce carbonation).

Aroma: Apple, golden apple, Asian pear, tangerine, tropical fruit, strawberry, melon, lime peel, floral, spearmint, grassy, forest, mineral, clean laundry, crisp.

Palate: Asian pear, lychee, tart apple, limeade, minty, grassy, mineral, clean, airy.

Finish: Lychee, Asian pear, grapefruit, citrus, grass, coconut sugar, toast., bread dough, crisp, bright, interesting.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Montelliana Asolo Prosecco Superiore Extra Brut



Montelliana
Asolo Prosecco Millesimato 2018 Superiore
Extra Dry D.O.C.G

(Italy) $26

This wine was made by softly pressing premium Glera grapes and fermenting them to a still wine, followed by a second fermentation in large stainless steel pressurized tanks to induce bubbles (Charmat method of carbonation).

Aroma: Apple, pear, peach, cantaloupe, banana, grape, lime, white flowers, spearmint, crisp.

Palate: Apple, green apple, white peach, pear, lime, key lime pie, coconut, baked bread, jasmine, bright.

Finish: Apple, lime, pear, ginger ale, key lime pie, pastry crust, clean, bright.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Montelliana Asolo Prosecco Millesimato 2018 Superiore Extra Dry



Montelliana
Prosecco Treviso Vino Frizzante D.O.C.

(Italy) $10

This semi-sparkling wine, with grapes from the Province of Treviso, is made by first fermenting the grapes and production of a “still” wine, then inducing bubbles by a secondary fermentation in autoclaves.

Aroma: Apple, green apple, lime, papaya, elderflower, spring flower, ginger ale, mint.

Palate: Crisp apple, pear, hint of tangerine, lemon, lime pith, Sprite, melon, mint, briny.

Finish: Apple, tropical fruit, sweet lime, lemon mineral water, toast.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Montelliana Prosecco Treviso Vino Frizzante



Tosti Asti Dolce D.O.C.G.
(Italy) $12

Made from hand-harvested Moscato Bianco grapes grown in chalky soil, this wine was fermented at low temperatures in an autoclave with the process stopped by refrigeration and filtration.

Aroma: Papaya, lychee, guanabana, tropical, pear, melon, honeycomb, white flower, spearmint, mineral, wet stone.

Palate: Mango, pineapple, tropical fruit, lime, sugar cane, cupcake, Moscato.

Finish: Sweet green apple, pear, caramelized sugar, like sauterne with bubbles, really good.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Tosti Asti Dolce

 

 

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