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exploring wine with tim fish

Bubbly: It’s a Summertime Thing

Who needs New Year's Eve? U.S. sparkling wines are ideal for warm-weather
Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: May 14, 2014 11:00am ET

It's a shame that so many Americans put off drinking sparkling wine until New Year's Eve. I crave it most in the summer when the days are sunny and I want something refreshing to drink. It also complements the lighter menus of summer like salads, seafood and chicken.

And with all the weddings, anniversaries and graduations happening this time of year, you might want to stock up. For that reason, we shifted our annual report on United States sparkling wines from its traditional spot in December to summer.

It helps that domestic sparkling wines, especially those from California, continue to reach new heights as growers refine their vineyards and narrow in on the best grape clones for bubbly.

Just before the holidays last year I blogged about my favorite wines at the time. In our June 15 issue, I review the new bubblies released since then and speak with winemaker Eileen Crane about her latest wines from Domaine Carneros.

I highlight a handful of my favorite new wines below: two of the top wines, two values and one superb rosé. WineSpectactor.com subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links.

J Brut Russian River Valley Vintage Late Disgorged 2004 (93 points, $90)
Rich and mature yet still lively.

Mumm Napa DVX Napa Valley 2006 (92, $60)
Shows great finesse and yeasty brioche aromas.

Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros NV (89, $22)
Luscious Asian pear and white chocolate flavors.

Piper Sonoma Brut Sonoma County Select Cuvée NV (87, $18)
A fun quaff, with raspberry and cinnamon apple notes.

Schramsberg Brut Rosé North Coast 2010 (92, $43)
Luxurious and crisply focused with notes of raspberry, yeast and orange zest.

What are some of your favorite sparkling wines to drink when the weather is warm?

Mark Lyon
Sonoma, California —  May 14, 2014 1:41pm ET
We are proudly serving the Domaine Carneros Sparkling Brut Rose at our Wedding this summer! Eileen Crane does not get enough credit for being a leader for Methode Champenois California Sparklers. She is also one of the classiest and friendliest persons in the Wine Industry. We had a wonderful Champagne with out Chinese food in Vegas last Saturday, and it paired very well throughout the courses.On a final note; in Western Europe, Champagne is served for parties, dinners and aperitif on a routine basis.
William C Strickler
DC suburbs —  May 14, 2014 1:53pm ET
My wife and I decided a couple years ago that Friday night is "bubbly night" to cap off the work week. No more once or twice a year "occasions" good enough to drink/serve sparkling wines - now it is every week, even on vacation. I heartily recommend this (now) tradition.

In the warmer months we tend toward lighter sparklers - proseccos, higher end cavas and lighter bodied CA and French sparklers (some Cremants). Tasted a sparkling rose of beaujolais last week that many might like, but there was a tad too much residual sugar for my taste.
Tim Fish
Sonoma County —  May 14, 2014 4:29pm ET
Thanks for the comments. Sure can use some bubbles today - nearly 100 in Northern California wine country right now!
David Rossi
Napa, CA —  May 15, 2014 2:46pm ET
Roederer Brut Rose for every day and I'll splurge once and a while with their L'Ermitage Rosé. Had them at a wine dinner a couple years ago and it's become the house bubbly at our place.

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