As it starts to heat up, I do enjoy a nice glass of sparkling wine and I especially love Blanc de Noirs. The French term meaning “white wine from red grapes”, these sparklers are made primarily from Pinot Noir grapes. These wines can vary widely in hue, from pale pink or light apricot to dark gold or salmon.
Here’s the list of my favorite Blanc de Noirs:
Gruet: This winery out of New Mexico turns out some great wines. The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is No. 43 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2011, and comes in as No. 3 on Wine Spectator’s list of top-valued U.S. sparklers. Gruet was founded by Gilbert Gruet, the owner of a French Champagne house, who met some winemakers in New Mexico during a family vacation in the 1980s. Aged for two-year minimum, the palate is developed and shows rich complex flavors. According to the winemaker’s notes, “A fine salmon color, aggressive mousse and a lovely fruity wine with plenty of immediate charm and toasty aromas.” I have seen Gruet at BevMo and Whole Foods and the cost is around $15.
Chandon: Fruit-driven and full-flavored, this sparkling wine featuring Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier has become one of Chandon’s most popular wines. According to the tasting notes, “Chandon Blanc de Noirs is characteristically a delicate salmon color. Dark cherry, currant and strawberry dominate both aroma and flavor with hints of cassis and blackberry. These red fruit flavors build in the mid-palate and finish with a soft, lingering, creamy texture.” This sparkling wine is widely available in most grocery stores and the price range is $13-$17.
Gloria Ferrer: A perennial favorite that never disappoints. According to the tasting notes, “Bright strawberry and black cherry aromas with subtle vanilla highlights. Creamy cherry, lemon and cola flavors combine with a lush palate, small, lively bubbles and a persistent finish.” This wine is always receiving accolades and most recently received a 90 from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Like the Chandon, this wine is also widely available and the price range is $13-$17.
So enjoy some bubbles and think about those famous lyrics from Don Ho, “Tiny bubbles in the wine, make me happy, make me feel fine.”