Tasting No. 183 – December 19, 2016 – Sparkling Wines


 Club del Vino


Capri Ristorante, McLean VA

By Sven Teschke, Büdingen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

By Sven Teschke, Büdingen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

1. Presenters and Participants

Wines presenters: John and Lucia Redwood, Pedro Turina


Members: Mario Aguilar, Jorge Claro, Jorge García-García, Ruth Connolly, Clara Estrada, Peter Lapera,  Alvaro Lopez, Italo Mirkow, Lucia Redwood, John Redwood, Raúl Sanguinetti, Alfonso Sánchez,  Pedro Turina, Xavier Villa, Ricardo Zavaleta.

Guests: Atilio Nieto

Type of Tasting: Blind

2. The Wines  

The  main objective of this tasting is distinguish the differences of sparkling wines from different regions of the old world.  

  1. Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, France
  2. Conde de Caralt Blanc de Blancs, Spain
  3. Foss Marai Prosecco Extra Dry, Valdobbiadene, Italy
  4. De Margerie Bouzy Rouge Pinot Noir, Coteaux Champenois, France

3. The Menu

  1. Fresh homemade lentil soup
  2. Salad with baby arugula, goat cheese, walnuts, cherry tomatoes tossed in virgin olive oil
  3. Homemade agnolotti filled with fresh spinach, imported ricota & parmesan cheese in a cream sauce
  4. Lamb chops with rosemary sauce, roasted potatoes and green beans
  5. Dessert/coffe

4. Information on the Wines

(The information below has been compiled from varios internet sources) .

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, France  

frank-bonvilleThe Wine: This Blanc de Blancs Champaigne is made  from white-wine grapes while Blanc de Noirs is made from red varieties.  The most commonly used variety in Blancs de Blancs wine is Chardonnay the oly whote variety planted in Champagne). Other varieties include  Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Petit Meslier and Arbane.

The Wine Enthusiast: “From the heartland of Chardonnay in Champagne comes this rich, creamy, apple-flavored wine. It has lively acidity, balanced with some sweetness from the dosage. It ha weight and a crisp aftertaste”  It is also described as “Dry, Tropical, Apple, Light-bodied”.

Gilbert and Gailard: “Light gold. Pleasant, focused, distinctive nose marrying white flowers and hazelnut. Clean attack on the palate, rapidly developing the same delightful aromas. Lingering finish driven by almond and hazelnut tones. Suitable for stylish pre-dinner drinks”.

The Winery:  A cru is a winemaking village where a specific combination of grape variety, terroir and climate are found. There are 320 crus in Champagne and 278,000 individual plots, each with their own identity. 17 Grand Cru villages cover 14% of the total surface area of the Champagne appellation. Out of those 17, only six are found in the Côte des Blancs. Our 77 vineyard plots are located in three Grand Cru villages: Avize, Oger, and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.

Read more at: http://champagne-franck-bonville.com/

 Conde de Caralt Blanc de Blancs

conde-de-caraltThe Wine. Cava Blend is a term used to describe the composition of the iconic sparkling wines of Spain. This blend is principally made up of three grape varieties: Macabeo (often written Macabeu), Xarel-lo and Parellada. In 1986, Chardonnay was officially allowed in the blend, signaling Spain’s intention to move with the times and compete with the other sparkling wines of Europe. White Malvasía and dark-skinned varieties Pinot Noir, Garnacha, Monastrell and Trepat are other recent additions to the list of permitted Cava grape varieties.

Good-quality Cavas are known for their well-integrated autolytic characteristics of toast, cream and secondary nut (almond) flavors. Wines with higher Pinot Noir content may show more cherry and berry flavors, while more traditional blends display green apple, peach and even earthy notes.  Taken from http://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-1681-cava-blend

This cava “opens up with an enticing orange blossom bouquet, lively bubble trails and fine mousse.  On the palate, the wine is creamy, clean and refreshing. Flavors of apples, citrus, brioche and vanilla resolve with lively mineral notes into a well-blended finish.” It is also described as “Dry, Citrus, Toast, Medium-bodied”.

The Winery.  Back before phylloxera tore through European vineyards, a small group of folks in Penedés (Catalonia)  decided to use the Méthode Champenoise to establish Penedés as the Spanish equivalent region.  After the phylloxera bug destroyed most vineyards in Penedés, they were planted with stocks from America that permitted the recovery of the sparkling wine.  Literally meaning ‘cave’ or ‘cellar’, Cava can only be grown from 5 grapes, parellada, xarel-lo, macabeo, chardonnay, and the rarely used subirat (aka malvasia).  The first 3 are most common, each lending character of acid, fruit, delicacy, and finesse to the wine.  The overall product is something like anti-champagne, a bottle of ready to drink fantastic wine that almost everyone can afford.  Conde de Caralt Brut Cava is made by Freixenet, who is one of the two largest producers of Cava on the planet.

Foss Marai Prosecco Extra Dry, Valdobbiadene    

foss-maraiThe Wine:  Described as “Textbook Prosecco, this delivers lush apple and cream flavors with plenty of bubbles.  It feels juicy, round and fresh finishing clean.  A fine summer aperitivo.”  It is also described as “Dry, Apple, Floral, Medium-bodied”. View: Straw yellow.
Nose: intense and elegant acacia and apple available in a perfect and harmonious combination notes.
Mouth: sensation of green fruits, perfect balance between sugar and acid will, velvety character.

The Winery: Foss Marai is certainly one of the essential names in the context of Prosecco. This is a far-sighted and ambitious winery, which has decided to focus strongly on the quality and elegance. In this way, Foss Marai has earned numerous appreciations and a starring role in the Italian wine scene. Marai is nothing more than the name of a valley in the area of Guia, where is the headquarters of the winery, in a beautiful hillside covered with vineyards of Prosecco. Nearly a hundred years after its foundation, the current owner Carlo Biasiotto continues to invest with conviction on the road of quality and elegance, like the sophisticated design of the bottles. The goal of the winery is to maintain a close relationship with modernity, but without submitting to the fashions, using the traditional base as essential in order to progress into the future. So Foss Marai is now considered one of the most appreciated and respected, with a proposal for a Prosecco and Cartizze. (Taken from Callmewine.com)

Read more at: http://www.fossmarai.com/home

 De Margerie Bouzy Rouge Pinot Noir, Coteaux Champenois 

de-margerieThe Wine: “The Grand Cru classified region pf Bouzy in Champange is famous for its Pinot Noir. Made from 100% estate grown grapes, this simply delightful red boast a nose and matching palate of soft cherry and strawberry, perfectly balanced with creamy vanilla flavors.”  It is also described as “Elegant. Cherry, Strawberry, Medium-bodied.”

4.  CV members Rating

There was a tie amongst the three red wines all at 91 points.

Rating Scale:

      • 96-100 Pts. – Exceptional
      • 90-95 Pts.  –  Outstanding
      • 86-89 Pts.  –  Very good
      • 81-85 Pts.  –  Good
      • 76-80 Pts.  –  Acceptable
      • 75 or fewer – Mediocre

Experts Score shown is an average of internationally recognized wine experts.

Participants ranking, average scores and wine prices:

  1. Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut, Champagne, France                                                            Members Score:    89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :  NA                                                                                                                       $45
  2. Foss Marai Prosecco Extra Dry, Valdobbiadene, Italy                                                      Members Score:   89 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :     NA.                                                                                                                      $35
  3. Conde de Caralt Blanc de Blancs, Cava, Spain                                                          Members Score:    88 Pts.                                                                                                                  Experts Score :    NA                                                                                                                      $15

Best value for Money: Conde de Caralt Blanc de Blancs, Cava, Spain

See full evaluation here: 183-sparkling

5. Technical Notes 




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