Jump to content Jump to search
Celebrating with Sparkling Wines: Your Guide from Valley Wine & Liquor
In this blog, we delve into the alluring world of sparkling wines, contrasting their vibrant character with more traditional wine offerings. We're particularly excited to showcase selections from renowned regions like Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava, each reflecting its unique terroir and winemaking heritage. At Valley Wine & Liquor, located at 326 South Caroline Street, Herkimer, NY, we offer an expertly curated collection that captures the essence of these celebrated regions. Whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of sparkling wines, our insights at Valley Wine & Liquor will guide you through the delightful diversity of these effervescent treasures.

Curating Your Sparkling Wine Collection

For events where celebration is key, such as New Year's Eve parties, sparkling wine plays a central role. Here are some guidelines to ensure you have the ideal variety and amount:

1. Estimating the Right Amount:
  • General Guideline: Assume that each guest will drink about 2 glasses of sparkling wine. Given that a standard bottle holds around 5-6 glasses, you'll need approximately 4 bottles for every 10 guests.
  • Assortment is Key: Provide an assortment of sparkling wines to suit various preferences. This could include dry (Brut), medium (Demi-Sec), and sweet varieties.
2. Selecting the Ideal Sparkling Wines:
  • Flavor Diversity: Feature a range of sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava, each offering a distinct taste to cater to different guests.
  • Regional Charm: Add a touch of uniqueness with sparkling wines from local vineyards, like those from New York State, to spark interest and conversation among your guests.

La Marca Prosecco

Aroma: Open with a bouquet of fresh citrus and honeysuckle blossoms, setting the stage for a delightfully aromatic experience.

Taste: Savor the lively notes of green apple, juicy peach, and ripe lemon, framed by a subtle minerality, culminating in a light, sweetly refreshing finish.

Food Pairings: Ideal with brunch favorites like eggs benedict or chorizo chilaquiles. For dinner, pair with seafood, creamy lemon chicken, or a goat cheese flatbread pizza for a harmonious blend of flavors.

Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava

Aroma: Embrace the invigorating scents of crisp apple and ripe pear, with a hint of zesty ginger, characteristic of the Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes.

Taste: Experience a fresh and balanced palate with a playful intermingling of fruity apple and pear flavors, leading to a clean, stimulating finish.

Food Pairings: Perfectly complements light appetizers, seafood dishes like grilled shrimp, or a zesty paella. Its vibrant acidity cuts through the richness of creamy cheeses or a savory charcuterie board.

Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne

Aroma: Entices with the vibrant intensity of green apple and citrus fruit, complemented by the freshness of mineral nuances and the elegance of blonde notes like brioche and fresh nuts.

Taste: Revel in the lush flavors of white-fleshed fruits like pear, peach, and apple, intertwined with the lively zest of citrus and subtle gooseberry. The fine bubbles enhance the overall sophistication.

Food Pairings: Versatile enough for a range of dishes, from light seafood like oysters and sushi to richer options such as grilled poultry or a creamy risotto.

Local New York State Sparkling Wines: Highlighting Great Western Sparkling Wine

Credit: Charles Feil
Founding and Early Success
Established in 1860 near Hammondsport, NY, the Pleasant Valley Wine Company stands as the oldest winery in the Finger Lakes region. It began with an investment of $10,000 and quickly flourished, becoming renowned for its quality sparkling wines. By 1867, its Sparkling Catawba earned international recognition, receiving an award in Paris, marking the first American sparkling wine to be honored in Europe.

Evolution Through the Ages
  • Prohibition Era: Despite the challenges of Prohibition, starting in 1919, Pleasant Valley survived by producing sacramental wines.
  • Post-Prohibition Growth: After Prohibition's repeal in 1933, the company regained its momentum, producing acclaimed sparkling wines.
  • Ownership Changes: Throughout the 20th century, the company experienced various ownership changes. It was acquired by The Taylor Wine Company in 1961, then passed through the hands of The Coca-Cola Company, Seagram, and others before returning to local family control in 1995.
The Great Western Brand
  • Origin: In 1871, a champagne from Pleasant Valley was named “Great Western” by Marshall P. Wilder, a wine connoisseur, after its successful introduction in Boston.
  • Recognition and Growth: The brand gained popularity in prestigious circles, recommended for both its taste and medicinal qualities.
  • Return to Local Roots: In 2002, the Doyle family, owning the Pleasant Valley Wine Company, reacquired the historic Great Western Winery, revitalizing the brand.
Visiting and Experiencing
The Pleasant Valley Wine Company, now at the heart of the Great Western brand, invites visitors to explore its historic winery. Located at the picturesque Finger Lakes region, the winery offers a unique glimpse into the rich history and exquisite production of New York's sparkling wines.

Current Offerings:

Great Western - Brut Sparkling Wine

A sparkling wine with a toasty essence, infused with subtle apple and pear flavors.

Great Western-Extra Dry Sparkling Wine

Known as America's preferred off-dry sparkling wine, it features crisp apple and pear notes with a delightful finish.

Touring Global Sparkling Wine Regions: A Diverse Landscape

Sparkling wine, a symbol of both effervescence and sophistication, is produced in numerous distinguished regions across the globe. Each region imparts its own distinct flair and identity to the sparkling wines it crafts, mirroring the local environmental conditions, soil types, and winemaking heritage.

Champagne, France
Regarded as the pinnacle of sparkling wines, the Champagne region of France is synonymous with luxury and quality. Home to the intricate traditional méthode champenoise, this region's production method involves a painstaking secondary fermentation in the bottle, giving rise to the iconic bubbles of Champagne. The unique terroir of Champagne, marked by a cool climate and chalky soils, plays a crucial role in developing the high acidity and intricate minerality of the wines. The primary varietals - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier - each contribute distinct flavors, creating Champagnes known for their complexity, depth, and potential for aging, which allows for the evolution of their nuanced taste profiles.

Prosecco, Italy
In Italy's Veneto region, Prosecco represents a more approachable, lighter facet of sparkling wines. Famed for its refreshing and fruit-forward nature, Prosecco is predominantly produced using the charmat method, where secondary fermentation happens in large tanks. This method emphasizes the wine's youthful qualities. The principal grape, Glera, lends Prosecco its signature notes of pear, apple, and floral aromatics. Typically enjoyed young, Prosecco shines in its versatility, being a popular choice for both relaxed drinking and as a key ingredient in cocktails like the Bellini and Spritz.

Cava, Spain
Originating from Catalonia, Cava is Spain's answer to Champagne, yet with a distinct identity. Like Champagne, Cava is produced using the traditional method, but it stands apart due to its blend of native Spanish grapes - Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel·lo. This blend yields a sparkling wine that balances approachability with complexity. Cava offers a range of styles, from light and crisp to rich and aged on lees, appealing to a broad spectrum of sparkling wine lovers.

Sparkling Wine Production: Traditional vs. Charmat Methods

The enchanting bubbles in sparkling wine result from meticulous fermentation processes that transform grape sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide, when retained, gives the wine its sparkle. Two key methods, Traditional and Charmat, shape the wine’s flavor, bubbles, and texture.

Traditional Method (Méthode Champenoise):
This method, crucial for producing Champagne and Cava, involves secondary fermentation in the bottle. After initial fermentation, a mixture of sugar and yeast ('liqueur de tirage') is added. The resulting carbon dioxide forms the wine's bubbles. The wine then ages on yeast lees, enhancing its depth, texture, and flavor. This aging can range from months to years. After aging, the lees are removed in a process called 'disgorgement,' sometimes followed by adding a sugar solution. This technique yields sparkling wine with fine bubbles and a complex flavor profile.

Charmat Method (Méthode Cuve Close):
Favored for Prosecco and fruit-forward wines, the Charmat method involves secondary fermentation in large, sealed tanks. This quicker process, lasting a few weeks, imparts a fresher, fruitier taste and creates lighter, more buoyant bubbles.

The choice between these methods is as influential as grape selection. The Traditional method produces wines with greater depth and finer bubbles, while the Charmat method emphasizes freshness and fruitiness, leading to a lighter, aromatic experience.

Sensational Sparkling Wine Cocktail Recipes

Great Western Brut Apple Spritzer

  • 1 bottle of Great Western Brut, chilled
  • 2 cups apple cider, chilled
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh mint leaves for garnish
In a large pitcher, combine the chilled Great Western Brut and apple cider.
Add the lemon juice and stir gently to mix.
Fill glasses halfway with ice cubes.
Pour the Brut and cider mixture over the ice in each glass.
Garnish each glass with a few apple slices and a sprig of fresh mint.
Serve immediately and enjoy this refreshing spritzer, perfect for a warm day or a festive gathering.

Freixenet Cava Sangria

  • 1 bottle of Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava, chilled
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
In a large pitcher, combine the brandy and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the sliced orange, lemon, and lime to the pitcher.
Pour in the orange juice and gently muddle the fruit to release their flavors.
Slowly add the chilled Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava to the mixture.
Add the mixed berries and stir gently to combine.
To serve, fill glasses with ice and pour the sangria over the ice, making sure to get some fruit in each glass.
Top off with a splash of sparkling water for added fizz, if desired.
Stir gently and serve immediately for a fruity and refreshing treat.

Explore More Sparkling Wines With Valley Wine & Liquor In Person:

Unearth more of these sparkling treasures at Valley Wine & Liquor, located at 326 South Caroline Street, Herkimer, NY 13350. Delve into our carefully curated selection on our website at www.shopvalleywine.com or reach out to us at (315) 867-5800 for expert guidance tailored to your tastes. We cordially invite you to join us in this exciting venture, discovering sparkling wines that resonate with your palate and enrich your understanding of the effervescent wine world.