TFTT Top Wines of 2012: Part 1 – Best Bargain Sparkling Rosé Bubbly & Champagne Values

27 12 2012
TFTT Top 3 Rosé Bubbly of 2012

TFTT Top 3 Rosé Bubbly of 2012

Happy holidays to all TFTT readers! Here we are, celebrating as the year comes to a close and as we are about to welcome in 2013 I want to share what I feel are “the best of the best” in terms of value, price and quality. I will be putting up the parts of this piece each day as New Year’s Eve approaches – but want to start with my favorite, sparkling wine (yes, perfect for New Year’s Eve and anytime).

There are so many great choices of sparkling wine available and some really excellent values within reach (price and actual availability in your local wine shop). I have explained the various types of sparkling wines made all over the world right here in this blog in the past 2 years since we started writing about wine – but will give you what I feel are the top 3 I have tried and come back to many times this year – and explain why. My top 3 come from 3 different regions of the world, France, Spain and the USA and are in 3 price ranges.

TFFT_Rosé Value 1_ Charles de Fere

Charles de Fere Rosé

Top Value A) Price Range: Under $12 USD: Charles de Fere Reserve Rosé

I have chosen Charles de Fere in the past and written about this Rosé. The thing is, it is still such a great value ($12 USD) that I have come back to it as my house sparkling rosé. It has a beautiful festive deep pink color with small to medium size bubbles streaming up from various spots of the bottom of the flute. On the nose, it has strawberry/raspberry as well as melon. The mouthfeel (viscosity) is thin (i.e. think water, skim milk, milk and heavy cream to describe mouthfeel). This year, it feels a bit off dry (meaning not bone dry and with a bit more residual sugar than in the past). Remember, don’t judge a book by its cover (or color) – meaning the pink does not mean it is sweet (unless it is White Zinfandel, then you know it will be). Great strawberry and watermelon flavour with a simple quick finish that has a touch of mineral. Though this is from France, it is made outside of the Champagne region, so it is not allowed to be called Champagne. This is good for us value driven wine drinkers because that means prices are lower but quality is still quite good – and Charles de Fere is a great example of this. For this price range ($12 USD and under), I have deemed this wine my Top Sparkling Rosé value of 2012. Click to link to their (Boisset Family Estates) website.

Raventos i Blanc de Nit

Raventos I Blanc de Nit

Top Value B) Price Range: $13-24 USD: Raventos  i Blanc de Nit

Here is a cava from Spain (Catalonia – Penedès) that I am extremely impressed with. This Rosé is something I purchased in early summer and found myself going back to the store for it (yes I finally bought enough to have on hand). A few months ago, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, rated it 93 points. I completely agree and at $18 to 22 USD, it is an incredible value – perhaps the value of the year! It has a very pale pink color with small bubbles streaming up from a single line at the bottom of the flute. On the nose, it has more mineral than fruit, with a bit of a rose/floral scent. The mouthfeel has a medium weight. This cava is bone dry and has flavors of strawberry and grapefruit with a lot of interesting acidity via mineral to balance it all out. It taste more like a higher-end French Champagne than a Spanish cava and this is highly sparkling – which I love – plus it is organic. I have awarded this my Top Sparkling Rosé value for $13-$24 of 2012. Click to link to their website.


Chandon Etoile Rosé

Top Value C) Price Range: $25-40 USD: Domaine Chandon étoile Rosé

Sometimes you just want to splurge for an event, dinner party, or special occasion. This delicious rosé from Domain Chandon is a bit pricier than the others listed above, but with that comes an entirely different experience – and a value driven one. It is a beautiful bottle, with the name “etoile” (it means star in French) in gold screened right on to the bottle and has a beautiful shape as well (very French, upscale body).  Wine Enthusiast rated it 92 points (as shown on the bottle) and even at $35 USD, it is a value in this mid-priced category! It has a deep, rosé color with tiny bubbles streaming up from a single line at the bottom of the flute. On the nose, it has dark berry and watermelon . The mouthfeel has a medium weight, but here is really where this wine really shines – it is creamy and smooth, like cream soda. This California sparkling wine is dry, but still fruit forward and has flavors of raspberry, baked apple, strawberry, spice and even (when left to breathe) has a tart-like cranberry/vanilla/ginger flavor. I have never tasted anything like this and is many  levels of sophistication up from the Raventos described above. Though harder to find than many, it is worth seeking. This is awarded my Top Sparkling Rosé value for $24-$40 of 2012. Click to link to their website.

If you want to find a really excellent, higher-end sparkling rosé for a special gift, New Year’s Eve, or Valentines day – try the Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne. Laurent-Perrier is located in Champagne in village of Tours-sur-Marne. This sophisticated champagne is salmon in color, has fine bubbles and a nose of berry, current and cherry. In the mouth I taste raspberry, dark berry and plum – which makes sense as this champagne is 100% Pinot Noir. It is smooth with a long finish but has nice acidity and stands up well with food (try seafood, lamb or duck). The price range is from $80 to $125 (again, based on season – this time of year prices go up on sparkling wines). Click to link to their website.

My favourite wine is sparkling and my favorite sparkling is rosé – and above, you will find my best values for 4 different price ranges.

Part 2 of  “Tales From the Trellis Best of 2012” my top bargain, value-driven sparkling wines and Champagnes of 2012 is now live. Click here to see. 


Steve from the Trellis



One response

30 12 2012
TFTT Top Wines of 2012: Part 2 – Best New Year’s Eve Bargain Sparkling Wine & Champagne Values « talesfromthetrellis

[…] Click here to view my previous post on my top 3 sparkling Rosé bargains that are value-driven and g… […]

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