Holiday party e-vites are filling our inboxs, and the calendar is already looking like a mostly completed crossword puzzle with lots of full boxes and only inconvenient white space. All those parties means hostess gifts, or, if you are the host or hostess, the gift of expectation -- the expectation that you will serve something special.
Fulfill that expectation with J Vineyards Sparkling Brut Rosé. The newly designed clear bottle lets the wine's vibrant color come through and simply sparkles like a "gift" should. The color shines in a way that suggests "Christmas" (although it's appropriate if you practice any other holiday that allows alcohol), and the wine itself drinks like a much pricier bottle than you paid for.
The pink to peach color with wee glints of red will look perfect next to your tree, bush or wreath, and the beautiful nose of yeasted dough and bright citrus fits right in with seasonal baking. The fresh red fruits in the nose predict a fruity, even sweet, sip, but this wine drinks delicately dry with notes of peaches, strawberry, a splash of cream, and a final note of citrus.
Expert Tip: This Rosé is made in traditional saignée style with true méthode champenoise technique. If you aren't a wine geek yet, saignée (pronounced sen-yeah!) is a process where some of a wine, typically Pinot Noir (of which this Rosé 64%), is drained off early on to intensify its color. While we've never seen any scientific proof this works, it does create a set aside of paler red wine, aka Rosé, for winemakers to play with and many tasty concoctions have resulted.
Méthode champenoise means the wine was made in the same style and process as Champagne. Champagne is a protected term, so in California we make sparkling wine. Champagne methodology includes adding a touch of sugar and allowing the wine to ferment, and carbonate, in the bottle. It's the most time consuming, expensive, and generally considered highest-quality, method of making sparkling wine.
For all that tradition and effort this wine's suggested retail is $28 (you can find it cheaper) and it drinks more like $48+. Available in SF at Whole Foods, Safeway, and other locations that sell wine.
Deal Alert: J is offering a 12 bottle assortment of their still and sparkling wines (including 2 bottles of the Brut Rosé) for $240 plus $25 shipping. Retail on the same wines comes to $352. A six bottle assortment is available for $125. Both are available through J's site here.