Two Thumbs Way Up
Intense effervescence with aromas of yeasty, earthy strawberry. Flavors of light red cherry, preserved lemon with Champagne-like chalky mineral notes. It has a creamy, cappuccino-like foam texture.
Two Thumbs Up
Aromas of baked bread and strawberry. Flavors of dried strawberry, lemon, sour dough and a chalky mineral quality. Not overwhelmingly effervescent.
As I was going through the process of tasting the two dozen or so dry pink wines, I needed a distraction. Two wholesalers slipped in a couple pink, sparkling wines. I figured why not try ’em.
That was a good idea.
These weren’t your father’s pink Champale. As much as I enjoy dry still pink wines mostly for the fun of it, I enjoy pink sparkling wines in a more serious manner. These salmon-colored sparklers are some of the most food-friendly wines they go with everything from fried chicken to seared tuna to rich, slightly spicy black bean soup, which I enjoyed with the two sparklers in question.
The first pink bubbly is from South Africa, not a bastion of sparkling wine. But it’s an honest sparkler made in the méthode cap classique style, which is South African for the Champagne-style process of making bubbly. It contains 58 percent chardonnay and 42 percent pinot noir, which gives it its light salmon color. I’m sure there will be more than one bottle of cap classique uncorked during the World Cup Soccer Tournament, hopefully to honor the successes of the U.S. team.
The second wine is real Champagne from Champagne, France. Nicolas Feuillatte makes fine, affordable sparklers and its new entry is a cute little “split,” or quarter bottle, called “one fo(u)r.” Apparently, these tiny bottles of Champagne are popular in the clubs and are sipped through a straw. Feuillatte’s innovation is a wrist band that turns the bottle into a large charm bracelet, but it’s really supposed to prevent warming of the wine between sips because you don’t have to hold it in your 98 degree hands.
If you’re not the club-going type, you might have trouble getting your hands on this charm/bottle. Fortunately, Feuillatte makes his pink bubbly in larger formats too that are more widely available.
Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators and teaches in-home wine classes. You can reach him at Gil.Kulers@WineKulers.com.
Note: Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from Thumbs Down, One Thumb Mostly Up, One Thumb Up, Two Thumbs Up, Two Thumbs Way Up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices as provided by the winery, one of its agents, a local distributor or retailer.