Wine Talk: Anything with bubbles

Pop the sparkling wine and celebrate – it’s a new year!

Champagne and glasses 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Champagne and glasses 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The new “in” wine in Israel is champagne, or indeed anything with bubbles. The many imported sparkling wines are generally covered by the almost generic terms of Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and Lambrusco. Many of these are competitively priced, especially at this time of year.
Champagne is the byword for quality in sparkling wines. It is made in the Champagne region in France in the most expensive, time-consuming way.
Cava is Spain’s national sparkling wine, which is made in the Catalonian region. It provides quality but at a cheaper price than the French version.
Prosecco is the latest rising star. This is a light, soft, fruity sparkling wine made in the Veneto region of Italy. It is usually a little cheaper than Cava and so is popular with those buying based on price.
Lambrusco is a semi-sparkling wine with a slight fizz. It may be red or white and in any style from dry to semi-sweet.
In Israel, the word “Cava” has become the new slang for a sparkling wine. Restaurant customers ordering a “glass of Cava” are requesting a glass of fizz, not necessarily knowing it is an imported sparkling wine from Spain. However, there is also a complete range of Israeli-produced sparkling wines covering every price, quality level and style. The choice has never been better, and the wines listed on the opposite page can more than match up to the needs of any party, wedding or celebration.
Remember, sparkling wines should always be served very cold and in tulip or flute wine glasses. Sparkling wines are the classic wines for toasts and bringing on the party spirit. They are ideal aperitifs and are also perfect accompaniments to food. Since Israel is becoming a nation of sushi eaters, it is also important to know that nothing goes better with sushi.
The local selection:
Young Selected Moscato, Golan Moscato and Young Selected Carignano – all 2011 These are light, fruity, easydrinking wines with a touch of sweetness and a slight sparkle. The two Moscatos are white and the Carignano is red. All are low alcohol.
BEST BUY – between NIS 30 and NIS 45
Selected Sparkling, Selected Sparkling Rosé and Selected Sparkling LiteThe regular “extra dry” white sparkling wine is made from Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc. It is light and fruity with a delicate and not too obvious sweetness. The Selected Sparkling Rosé has a delicate berry fruit nose, is deliciously balanced and has an attractive salmon-pink color. Selected Sparkling Lite is a semisweet sparkling wine with only 7 percent alcohol.
Tabor Pninim White and Tabor Pninim Red
Tabor makes two semi-sparkling red and white wines. The white is made from Gewurztraminer and Viognier grapes, and the red is made from Merlot. Both are semi-dry, quaffable and may be described as fun wines, to be enjoyed without pretension. The word Pninim means “pearls” and is so named for the string of bubbles that constantly rises in the glass.
BEST QPR – between NIS 45 and NIS 75
Private Collection Brut and Private Collection Brut Rosé The Private Collection Brut sparkling wine is made by the Charmat method from Colombard and Chardonnay.The wine is refreshing, with an aroma of lime and green apple, with hints of lightly toasted bread. The Private Collection Brut Rosé is made from Chardonnay, Colombard and Syrah. Delicate pink in color with a strawberry nose, this wine will be a good accompaniment to a wide range of first-course dishes.
Tabor 562 Red and Tabor 562 White
The Tabor sparkling wines come in white and red versions. The red wine is the first genuine sparkling red wine in Israel and is made from Barbera grapes. It is fruity with a refreshing cranberry finish and is a fun, slightly unusual sparkling wine option. The white is made from Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and has a refreshing citrus character.
Gamla Brut Gamla Brut is made by the traditional method from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, grown in the relatively cool-climate Golan Heights. The wine is left to age for one year at least before disgorging. The wine is bone dry, with good berry aroma and refreshing acidity.
Tishbi Brut
A bottle of fermented sparkling wine made from French Colombard grapes, grown in vineyards in the Southern Mount Carmel region. The wine is aromatic, fruity, with a nice clean lemony finish.
LUXURY – Above NIS 90
Yarden Blanc de Blancs 2005 Israel’s finest champagnemethod sparkling wine, made 100% from Chardonnay grapes grown on the Golan Heights. The wine is delicate with tropical fruit notes and a toasty backdrop. It is of the quality of the finest champagne but is a great deal better value.
Pelter Blanc de Blancs A tiny production of traditional- method sparkling wine, made from Chardonnay grapes grown in the Galilee and Golan. The wine rests for three years on its yeasts. The result is a fresh, aromatic and intense wine. The wine is rare, exclusive and very expensive. (Not kosher) – A.M.
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine for Israeli and international publications.