I think I am the first to review a sparkler on this site, yet regardless, one of the best-drinking sparklers out of California is Taittinger’s Domaine Carneros Brut, which year-in-and-year-out, proves to be a phenomenal wine for the price. Especially these days, if you want sparklers, most of us need to look for something domestic (unless you’re thinking Cava).
The press, which fluctuates on sparklers (reviewing them only every so often – some producers go two or three years between reviews) is usually quite exemplary for Domaine Carneros, with the Brut Carneros usually scoring well. On the 2004, the interesting thing is that it gleaned an 89 from Wine Spectator and an 85 from Wine Enthusiast.
Spectator’s description goes like this: “Appealing aromas of Gala apple, toasted almond and vanilla lead to focused, creamy Asian pear and spice flavors that finish with a vibrant crispness. Drink now through 2012.” Sounds good, right?
Enthusiast doesn’t seem as convinced: “The vintage was a very ripe one, and the heat shows. It’s very forward, almost jammy, in sweet strawberry and peach flavors. This robs the wine of some elegance, but it’s still an attractive sipper.” Okay, so -4 points for just being a 2004? Or there was too much alcohol poking through?
My take on this wine goes something like this: aside from Roederer Estate Brut NV from Anderson Valley, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better sparkler from California. Light-to-medium-bodied, with creamy stone fruit, toast and nuttiness buoyed by lively effervescence and acidity, this wine gives you long-lasting pleasure on the palate, making it perfect for anything celebratory, like an Obama victory, right?