10 Years of WineLab August 21, 2023
FLC May 2023 - Vive le Vin! June 05, 2023
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FLC December 2022 - Christmas Classics
For December's FLC members, we packed the cases full of classic styles guaranteed to be enjoyed by a wide range of people. With a focus on tried and true red blends, crisp whites that were exemplary of the variety, and a little bubbly for the holiday season, this case had something for everyone.
The featured region was the Veneto, in Italy, home of the immensely popular appassimento reds.
We also included a helpful guide for that most important of festive wines - bubbles!
Sparkling Wine Guide for Christmas
Nothing says 'festive' like a bottle of bubbly getting popped open to kick off the fun. Most people are familiar with the likes of Prosecco, Cava, and Champagne as sparkling wine options, but you might not be familiar with their differences. Firstly, each style comes from a specfic region, and made from a limited selection of permitted grape varieties.
Prosecco hails from the Veneto in Italy, and is made exclusively from the Glera grape variety. In short, the bubbles are created outside the bottle, in a tank. Prosecco is almost always designed for drinking soon after production and is light, slightly sweet, and low in alcohol.
Cava is from Spain, and mostly from Catalunya. It's made from local varieties such as Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parelleda and Trepat. The bubbles are created using the traditionl method (inside the bottle), and results in a richer, more complex sparkling wine than Prosecco. There is a lot of variety between producers, with some Cavas being made for long-term ageing and others more suited for Cava sangria. There is a lot of good value available in Cava.
Champagne is considered the most prestigious. Champagne must come from a small geographic area, Champagne AOC, which contains icon towns such as Reims. Like Cava, the traditional method is used and only three grape varieties are permitted: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. There are strict ageing requirements for Champagne, which contributes to a fuller-bodied style of sparkling wine. Depending on the style a producer is aiming for, Champagne can be bone dry and crisp, creamy and briochey, or a fresh, red-berried rosé. Due to its immense marketing power and limited production, Champagne commands a high price point.
Outside of these well-known sparkling styles, there is still tremendous value and quality to be found in sparkling wines. Look to regions such as the Loire Valley or Alsace for French sparkling that is quality-driven at a gentler price point. Wines such as Domaine Vieux Pressoir's Saumur Brut Fine Bulles are made in the same traditional method as Cava and Champagne. Based on the star variety of the region, Chenin Blanc, this results in a fresh, bright and zesty style of sparkling that is a happy middle ground for those who want something more complex than a Prosecco, but less rich than a Champagne.