The 3 Cups Team has a huge soft spot for all things fermented and fortified. And sparkling wine is certainly not an exception. Since according the Mayan calendar, the end of the world is upon us, what better way to go out than with a party! You can’t help but smile while enjoying the intoxicating tongue tickling delight of sparkling wine! And if we are still here in January, surviving the holidays and the end of the world, we will have so much to be grateful for!
We are all familiar with the prestigious sparkling wine region of Champagne, France, home of some of today’s most valuable sparkling wine. These double fermented sparkling wines have been a part of celebrations for the last few hundred years, originating in the late 1600’s. Now sparkling wine is made all over Europe and the new world.
Myth + Bubbles = A Great Party or, Which came first, the English or the French?
In the 1600’s the transport of wine around Europe and to the new world created new challenges to delivering delicious wines and beverages. In the 1660’s, English scientist, Christopher Merret, was the first person to document the addition of sugar to a closed bottle of still wine creating a double fermented fizzy byproduct. He was attempting to make the severely dry and unpalatable French imports more enjoyable.
At the same time, a monk named Dom Perignon, in an abbey in Champagne, was experimenting with preventing unwanted natural double fermentation that sometimes made the wine bottles explode. For this reason, some claim that he is the Grandfather of today’s famed sparkling Champagne. Whether or not he invented Champagne, Perignon, along with monk Frere Jean Oudart, are responsible of today’s practices of blending grapes from several different vineyard sites, clarifying sediment from wine and replacing woven hemp wine stoppers with cork. And for that, we can be nothing but grateful!
Another theory about the birth of sparkling wine comes from Italy with Benedictine monk Francesco Scacchi who was apparently experimenting with double fermentation 16 years before Dom Perignon was born. Scacchi was more interested in the health benefits of sparkling wine than good winemaking practices.
With that being said, we have chosen 3 fantastic sparkling wines from across Europe for December’s 3 Bottles. A classic Champagne, a Spanish Brut Cava and a Rose Prosecco from Italy.
These are wines that make life worth living so drink them with your friends and family this holiday season and celebrate the joy of being alive! So let’s drink to our health! Cheers!
Mont Marçal Cava Brut Reserva 2009
Mont Marçal is a winery located in Castellvi de la Marca, about 35 miles southwest of Barcelona in the heart of Penedes wine region. It was founded in 1975 by Manuel Sancho when he decided to retire from music industry and to dedicate his passion to the production of Cava and still wine; today Mont Marçal is fully owned and managed by the Sancho family. The winery prides itself on using its proven expertise and experience to deliver consistently high-quality, high-value wines to its markets. Delivery times, production flexibility, and quality certificates are strong points as well.
Manuel Sancho’s 230-acre estate, “Finca Manlleu,” is located on a prominent chalky knoll five miles south of Vilafranca del Penedes overlooking the hamlet of Sant Marcal. One hundred acres are planted to Parellada, Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay for white wines; Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds. The “Mont” provides 360-degree exposure, creating a wide variety of microclimates for maturation of the various varieties.
In 1975, Manuel Sancho purchased a neglected 18th-century convent, converting it to a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and initiating the restructuring of the vineyards. Recent excavation has expanded the cava aging and bottling capacity, at the same time revealing medieval underground passageways in the chalk which have been carefully preserved for additional bottle storage.
Intrinsic vineyard quality and careful handling of the grapes obtain a naturally-rich base wine in little need of dosage. Mont-Marçal Brut Reserva is produced from the indigenous white grapes, Parellada, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Xarel-lo, aged at least 24 months with the yeast, and disgorged on order for shipment.
Trevisiol, Prosecco Rosé Brut
At the annual Vinitaly festival, where even farmers can be spotted wearing their best suits, Paolo Trevisiol instead leans casually back in jeans and a button down to sip on a cool glass of his own Prosecco. Conforming is something that doesn’t concern him–the man just loves to make good wine. Paolo’s sole interest is in making a small amount of quality wine, as opposed to the large productions of the past; he still rotates every bottle of his top spumante by hand!
A note on the Prosecco style: consistent with Italian white winemaking tradition, sparkling wine from this region tends to be lighter and less cloying than French-style Champagne. The tiny “frizzante” (as compared to larger “spumante” style) bubbles further contribute to Prosecco’s truly refreshing quality.
From Paolo Trevisiol, maker of our ever-popular Extra Dry Prosecco, we proudly present his breathtaking sparkling Rosé, a light, effervescent delight that dances on the tongue with fresh berries, lively acidity, and gentle bubbles. Trevisiol’s trademark minerals shine through, making this wine serious while being delightful. A great value and the light cherry blossom pink color is gorgeous in the glass, it’s a new seasonal staple brought to the U.S. in limited supply.
Champagne Thierry Triolet Brut
The Champagne house of Thierry Triolet is located in the village of Bethon. The vineyards in Bethon are part of the Côtes de Sezanne region of Champagne which begins about 20 miles southwest of Epernay and extends southward from the town of Sezanne. Geologically, this narrow band of hills is a continuation of the more massive Côtes des Blancs. Traditionally,the Sezanne vineyards have been a source of excellent Chardonnay grapes for the large negociant Champagne houses to the north.
The Triolets are one of a growing number of families who have recently begun estate bottling their champagne. They own 10 hectares in and around the village of Bethon and almost all of their vineyards are planted to Chardonnay. M. Triolet farms in accordance with the principles of “lutte raisonnée” a practice of minimal intervention and he is committed to having low yields. Fermentations are carried out in a variety of cuves and no cultured yeasts are added.
This selection is a blend of Chardonnay 65% and Pinot Noir 35%. It is blended from mature wines, usually from three different vintages which after blending are put in the bottle to rest for a minimum of two years on the lees. This produces a floral, yet richly textured house style. The dosage of 12 grams underscores the floral, “bel canto” nature of the wine.
“Come quickly, I am drinking the stars!” –Dom Perignon