In 2005 we broke our tasting into two different sessions. In the first session we focussed on French Champagnes only. In the second one - this one - we tried out Californian and Spanish sparkling wines. In each tasting, we first tried each wine without any food, water, or crackers. Then once all the tasting was done through, we introduced sparkling-wine-friendly foods, cheeses and desserts. We experimented with how the wine was enhanced with the appropriate foods.
This Spanish cava is made from Chardonnay. The bubbles wer extremely light, almost fizzy. The flavor was very gentle - not very yeasty at all, although some said "not what I think of for Chamapgne". Cava definitely has a very different taste. It was drinkable in an easy-drinking way.
The second Spanish cava of the batch. Much more bubbles than the Codornieu, with a yeastier, citrus flavor of lemon / grapefruit.
Gloria Ferrer 1993 Brut
Made by a Spanish house, but in California. This vintage 1993 was very tart, with mutsy grapefruit, pear, and chalk flavors. It was certainly smoother and creamier than the cavas, especially with food. One of our tasters enjoyed this, but for most of us it was past its prime.
Mumm Brut Prestige Non-Vintage
Lovely floral scent, streams of bubbles and a lovely flavor of pineapple, orange, honeysuckle, fruity, fresh. The favorite of several in the group.
Taittinger Domaine Carneros 2002
A French house creating wines in California. This was almost foamy, with a gentle, apply fruity flavor. The flavor was very light, with hints of yeast, lemon and fruit.
Roederer Estate Non-Vintage
Nicely balanced from the Anderson valley. Lemony, tart, granny smith apple flavors. Lots of bubbles and a good deal at under $20.
S. Anderson Carneros 1999 Blanc de Noir
This was the most expensive of the group at over $30, but it showed very well. Made up of pinot noir, it had great balance and complexity, with lovely flavors that held up with all food groups. Best bubbles, very dry with lovely flavors.
The Basics of Champagne
Methode Champenoise - How Champagne is Made
Champagne Pairings and Reviews
Champagne History and Information