Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bubbles And Bourbon Spotlighted In Trio Of New Wines

Bourbon and bubbles? Yes, but to be clear, these are three different wines – not carbonated whiskey. We recently had a chance to taste a pair o’ Prosecco and a new Bourbon barrel aged wine. Read on.

Two Frothy Italians

Holidays are prime time for bubbly. As we wrapped up one year and plowed boldly into the new, we did it fortified with sparkling wine.

Has Italy’s sparkling Prosecco wine ever been more popular? Not that we can see. America loves Prosecco and we sampled two that are being carried by Wine Trees USA distributors.
We first uncorked the beautiful Bervini 1955 Spumante Rosé. It should be noted that the brand name is Bervini 1955. This is a non-vintage sparkler, like most are, not a 1955 vintage.

We served this at a wine dinner paired with caviar on crème fraiche and brioche toast. Not too shabby! Bubbly and caviar is always a winning combination. The Bervini rosé radiated a stream of tiny bubbles adding festivity to the evening. This has nice floral aromas and raspberry flavor notes. This rosé bubbly is nice because it isn’t as austere as some sparkling wines – there’s a richer flavor palate.

Bervini 1955 offers a second sparkler, the Prosecco DOC Millesimato Extra Dry. Please note that “extra dry” is actually sweeter than “brut” in the sparkling wine sweetness scale. This is well balanced and not overly sweet. We enjoyed this with Gruyere fondue.

Millesimato is a very enjoyable Prosecco. The Bergamo family have been making wine since 1955 in the Italian province of Pordenone, which straddles the two DOC Prosecco zones of Prosecco and Friuli Grave. During the decades since, they’ve learned how to deliver flavors that are elegant and authentic. Whereas the rosé had berry notes, the Millesimato has citrus and pear tones. Its crispness and acidity makes this an excellent match with seafood – and of course, fondue. Both Prosecco are priced at $18.99.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Wine Done Right

Wine Trees has a diverse portfolio of wines, and we were pleased to be able to uncork the 2015 Barrel Road red blend from California. The winery has partnered with Backbone Bourbon in Indiana and ages the wine for three months in used Bourbon barrels.

Many winemakers are jumping on the Bourbon barrel bandwagon, but not everyone gets it right. Some of the Bourbon barrel wines are harsh rather than complex. In the grocery store last week I saw a Bourbon barrel aged Chardonnay. That’s a move to exploit a trend with a rather incongruous pairing.

Barrel Road takes the high road. The Bourbon barrel aging lends delectable caramel and vanilla flavors. The alcohol level is 13.2%, and the lower level prevents it from being too “hot.”

The exact blend for Barrel Road isn’t revealed. The grapes come from California’s Central Coast and “interior winegrowing regions,” which might mean the Central Valley. We guess that Zinfandel and Merlot make up a good percentage of the wine.

Whatever the mix, this is one of the most enjoyable Bourbon barrel wines we’ve had. The winemaking isn’t heavy handed. The Bourbon factor adds a nice complexity and toasty richness to the wine. At $16.99 it’s a great value and a bottle that is certain to appeal to most wine lovers. It’s especially rewarding during the cold nights of winter!

Full Disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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