Tasting notes from a study group for the WSET Diploma, Unit 5, Sparkling Wines of the World course …
Cava, Parés Baltà, Brut, Penedès, Spain, 11.5% abv, C$22.99
Clear and bright, pale gold, bubbles noted.
Clean, light intensity aromas of ripe red/yellow apples, white pear and peach, almond and yeasty bread, developing.
Palate is dry, medium acidity, low alcohol, prickly and aggressive mousse with medium minus flavour intensity of red/bruised apple, white peach and stone fruit, bitter yeasty bread and bitter almond/rubber quality (from the Xarel-lo) with a medium finish.
Quality: good, a varietally representative cava, simple, neutral and refreshing. Longer finish and more complex fruit spectrum would push it higher. Drink now, do not age – meant to be enjoyed young.
Varietals: Macabeu, xarel-lo, parallada, made in the traditional method
Villa Theresa Prosecco, Vino Frizzante, DOC Veneto, Italy, Organic, 11% abv, C$19.99
Clear and bright, pale lemon, bubbles noted (Frizzante).
Clean, medium minus intensity aromas of pear and white peach, nectarine, apple and slight honey with a floral quality (blossom/honeysuckle), youthful wine.
Palate is off dry, medium minus acidity, low alcohol, delicate Frizzante mousse with medium flavour intensity of ripe anjou pear, white peach and soft lime. Some of us detected some light green melon. Medium finish.
Good quality – fruity and youthful, but needs a longer finish and more complexity to push any higher. Would make a great wine to take on a picnic and super price point. Drink now and enjoy immediately – do not age.
Varietals: Glera, made in the tank method
Moet & Chandon, Imperial, Brut NV, Champagne, France, 12% abv, C$60.65
Clear and bright, pale gold with onion skin tint (Emily and Francine thought I was hallucinating), bubbles noted.
Clean, medium intensity, yeasty and yoghurt bread with lemon citrus and green apples, developing.
On the palate, dry with medium plus acidity, creamy mousse, medium minus alcohol, medium minus body and medium plus flavours of apples, brioche and yoghurt with hazelnut and a lingering tart lemon (I’m still finishing this one up – lots of lemon). Francine had us all imagining hot cross buns – really, it was the perfect descriptor for this generic House Champagne. Medium plus finish.
Very good quality – classic example of a big selling House Champagne (it’s blended from 100 difference parcels, 30% reserve wines), and the fruit and structure with the developing secondary characteristics are a boon. A longer finish would put this up a category. This is a generic big marque champagne – there is nothing unique about it.
Drink now or may hold for 3-5 years.
Varietals: 3 way split between Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay
José Dhondt, Rosé, Saignée , Oger, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne, France, 12.5% abv, C$70
Clear and bright, deep pink, bubbles noted.
Clean, medium intensity, yeasty with soft field berry, pomegranate and light cherry, developing.
The palate is dry with high acidity, creamy mousse, medium minus body with medium plus flavours of cherry, cranberry, rhubarb and field berry with brioche and creamy yoghurt. Medium plus finish.
Very good quality – great structure and balance with fabulous fruit and secondary characteristics. The only missing quality is a longer finish.
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir, made in traditional champagne method