For some people New Year’s is a time to assess the last year, reminisce and put some of the events into perspective. This is also a great time to review some of your favorite winey discoveries, though I always like to save something brand new to me to ring in the New Year. We’ve all had French Champagne, and perhaps Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava, and of course there are the “California Champagnes” to consider. Because of the sharing of techniques and technology, great bubbly can be produced almost anywhere, though cooler climates tend to flavors that are more reminiscent of the French stuff. Washington State is one of those cooler locales that produce some surprisingly good bubblies. This New Year’s Eve, my sparkling wine of choice is from Columbia Valley in Washington: Treveri.
Christian Grieb, the wine maker at Trevari, vinifies only sparkling wine, no still stuff for him. Due to his skill and devotion to the art, these are high quality wines made in the Méthode Champenoise, as they do in Champagne with secondary fermentation done within the bottle using le dosage, some gentle riddling and disgorgement, and with no malolactic fermentation. He also produces them at surprisingly reasonable prices. The two non-vintages that just came into your local ABC Fine Wines and Spirits are both under $20, and have garnered 90+ scores from Wine Spectator.
The Blanc de Blancs, as the name implies, is all Chardonnay, with bright, crisp flavors like lemon zest and Bosch pears, opening to a toasty spice on the palate with a very elegant frame. The acid is refreshing and lends to a lingering presence on the palate. This is easy quaffing bubbly with a 91 score and a price tag of $17, talk about a steal. Due to the bright acid I would pair this bubbly with some raw oysters or shrimp scampi. It’s rich enough to imbibe with some creamy soft ripened cheese like Camembert or Brie, but tangy enough to drink with salty, aged cheese as well.
The Rosé Sec is just a hint sweeter, though it really just seems a hint fruitier to me. Some of the fruit stems from this being the classic blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, hence the rosy hue. Christian has chosen the “Sec” nomenclature over “Brut” or “Extra Dry” so it has to have more brix, or sugar, but it’s not a “Demi-Sec” which would be truly sweet. Think abundant fruit, like watermelon and pomegranate, but spiced up with some floral aromatics and wheat berry palate. Yet it is still fresh and sleek, with just enough acid to balance the sweet notes. I get a hint of brioche toast and lime tart on the finish. This is a very complex Rosé for $20 per bottle, that has just enough softness to appeal to your sweeter bubbly lovers, without treacling out your classic Brut-ophiles. I might pair this with light desserts like a fruit galette or lemon bars, though it could work with an array of artisanal cheeses and fresh fruit.
Open what you love to ring in the New Year, but be open to trying something new, perhaps a new wine or a novel pairing, to start off 2015 with something memorable. Be safe, be moderate and drink something special as you watch the ball drop or listen for your neighborhood fireworks. Cheers!