Sparkling Wine
 

Sparkling Wines

 

The Fifty Best Sparkling Wine Tasting of 2020

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 15 recent release sparkling wines with 10 pre-qualified wine judges. The order of service was determined beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the sparkling wines were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles and served well chilled. Only ice water and peasant bread were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each wine on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. Prices indicated do not include tax. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.

 



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Montelliana “57” Asolo Prosecco Superiore
D.O.C.G. Extra Dry

(Italy) $15

Created to celebrate the year the winery was founded (1957), this wine was fashioned from select Glera grapes grown in Asolo. After a soft pressing and primary fermentation, the wine was vinified by the Charmat method (in which bubbles are induced by a fermentation in large pressurized tanks).

Aroma: Crisp apple, green apple, peach, tangerine, green apple skins, grassy, floral, mineral, chalk.

Palate: Golden apple, ripe Macintosh apple, green apple, pear, peach, stone fruit, lemon, honeysuckle, well balanced, crisp, fresh, delicate, spot-on prosecco.

Finish: Apple, melon, peaches & cream, toast, nutty, mineral, crisp, refreshing, breakfast wine, great, elegant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Montelliana 57 Asolo Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry



Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling Wine
(California) $18

To make this wine, an essence of almond is added to naturally fermented sparkling wine.

Aroma: Almond, marzipan, sweet almond paste, almond juice.

Palate: Almond, almond extract, almond croissant, marzipan, nutty, rainbow cookies, biscuits, sweet baked apples, apple, floral, mint, dusty, earth.

Finish: Almond, almond oil, marzipan, hazelnut, nutty, biscuit, toast, mint, dessert.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Wilson Creek Almond Sparkling Wine



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Calneggia Asolo Prosecco D.O.C.G. Extra Dry
(Italy) $22

This wine was made from Glera grapes grown around the northeastern Italian town of Asolo noted for premium quality fruit, and processed by the Charmat method (the fermented wine is placed in a tank with yeast to go through a second fermentation to gain its bubbles).

Aroma: Crisp red apple, green apple, lime, citrus, lemon cream, fresh sweet corn, floral, subtle oak.

Palate: Green apple, melon, kiwi, lemon, lime, citrus, honeysuckle, spearmint, nicely balanced, perfectly balanced, crisp, refreshing.

Finish: Green apple, lime, minerality, tart, crisp, refreshing, smooth, lovely, elegant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Calneggia Asolo Prosecco D.O.C.G.



Cinzano Asti Spumante D.O.C.G.
(Italy) $10

This low alcohol (7%) wine was produced from grapes grown on hillside vineyards in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region.

Aroma: Passion fruit, lychee, apple, orange, blood orange, citrus, elderflower, floral, herbal, minerals.

Palate: Passion fruit, ripe guava, peach, pears in syrup, tangerine, Moscato, St. Germaine, sweet, bright, refreshing.

Finish: Apple, ripe apple, creamy, sweet.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cinzano Asti Spumante D.O.C.G.



Tosti Asti Spumante Dolce D.O.C.G.
(Italy) $13

This wine was made from Moscato Bianco (100%) grapes.

Aroma: Honey, butterscotch, marmalade, apricots, sweet dates, beeswax, olives, briny, oak, sauternes.

Palate: Honey, apricots, strawberries, ripe apple, pear, glazed donut, cola, elderflower, olives, cedar, sweet, sauternes.

Finish: Honey, apple, tannins, sauterne-like, sweet, velvety, rich, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tosti Asti Spumante Dolce D.O.C.G.



Tiziano Prosecco Dry D.O.C.
(Italy) $14

This sparkler was fashioned from Glera grapes grown in the hills north of Trevisio, using the Charmat Method (in which the secondry fermentation to produce the bubbles takes place in pressurized stainless steel tanks).

Aroma: Golden apples, green apples, lemon, citrus, floral, vegetal, chalk, minerality.

Palate: Apple, pear, Asian pear, ripe lychee, peach, citrus, floral, brioche, creamy, well balanced, clean, crisp.

Finish: Bartlett pears, lemon, soft, gentle, rich, great.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Tiziano Prosecco Dry D.O.C.



Bottega Gold Prosecco D.O.C. Brut Millesimato 2018
(Italy) $28

Grapes for this wine (100% Glera) were hand-picked then pressed into stainless steel tanks and fermented. Next, the wine was processed by the Charmat (tank) method to provide carbonization.

Aroma: White peach, ripe peach, banana, papaya, stone fruit, watermelon, lemon-lime, citrus, honeysuckle, lilac, floral.

Palate: Lemon, banana, tropical fruits, grapefruit, citrus, meringue, lilac, roses, gardenia, floral notes, white flour, dough.

Finish: Lemon peel, citrus, tropical, flowers, lilac, white rice, fresh, refreshing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Bottega Gold Prosecco D.O.C. Brut Millesimato 2018



Vicente Gandia Hoya de Cadenas Cava Brut
(Spain) $13

Made from a blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay grapes, this bubbly was aged in its bottle for 12 months after undergoing processing by the traditional Methode Champenoise in which bubbles are produced by a second fermentation induced in a bottle of still wine.

Aroma: Green apple, pear, honey dew, white grapes, citrus, lemon verbena, grassy, straw, toast, musty, earth.

Palate: Green apple, pear, melon, unripe peach, lemon, lavender, dry, crisp.

Finish: Apple, tropical fruit, unripe white peach, bread crust, oak, crisp, clean, fresh.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Vicente Gandia Hoya de Cadenas Cava Brut



Montelliana Meliora Prosecco D.O.C.
Treviso Extra Dry Millesimato 2019

(Italy) $10

This wine was made from softly pressed Glera grapes by the Charmat method (i.e. bubbles induced through adding yeast to a tank of still wine).

Aroma: Pear, Anjou pear, peach, green apple, lemon, citrus, wet rock.

Palate: Pear, unripe pear, pear salad, white peach, tropical fruits, lemon, citrus, apple, apple skin, mint, high acid, crisp, nicely balanced.

Finish: Asian pear, lime, dough, clean, crisp, bright, nice, approachable, tasty.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Montelliana Meliora Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso Extra Dry Millesimato 2019



Barefoot Bubbly Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine
(California) $9

This wine was made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Carignane grapes.

Aroma: Ripe strawberries, raspberries, berries, sweet cherries, red plum, cotton candy, roses, floral, crisp.

Palate: Strawberries, raspberry, cherry, fresh nectarines, candied apple, elderberry, rose petals, floral, mint.

Finish: Stewed strawberries, rose, clean, crisp, bright.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Barefoot Bubbly Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Codorniu Cuvée Clasico Cava Brut
(Spain) $14

This wine was made from a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada grapes that were first fermented and bottled, then allowed to go through a second fermentation in the bottle to produce its bubbles.

Aroma: Green apple, pear, unripe peach, lemon, red apple skins, elder flower, magnolia, gardenia, bread crust, minerality.

Palate: Apple, pear, pineapple, lemon, apple skins, peach blossoms, marzipan, herbal notes, balance of tart & sweet, nice, bright.

Finish: Apple, pear, bright apple skins, peach blossoms, approachable, fresh, refreshing.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Codorniu Cuvée Clasico Cava Brut



Fantinel “One & Only” Prosecco D.O.C.
Brut Millesimato 2019

(Italy) $23

This wine was made from Glera grapes (100%) that were pressed and de-stemmed then fermented in small autoclaves, with a second fermentation to produce bubbles by the Charmat method (in which yeast is introduced into large tanks).

Aroma: Red apple, pear, apricot, stone fruit, honeysuckle, floral, hazelnut, almond, mint, minerality, crisp.

Palate: Anjou pear, pear, green apple, melon, young strawberries, tangerine, tropical fruits, lemon curd, bright lemon peel, dough, mint, mineral, clean, crisp.

Finish: Pear, white peach, citrus, a touch smoky, creamy mouthfeel, approachable, refreshing, lovely.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Fantinel One & Only Prosecco D.O.C. Brut Millesimato 2019



Montelliana Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso Extra Dry
(Italy) $10

This wine was made from softly pressed Glera grapes grown in the Treviso provence. Bubbles were induced by adding yeast to a tank of still wine (the Charmat method).

Aroma: Red apple, green apple, lychee, faint pear, citrus, green grape skins, key lime pie, fresh, pleasant.

Palate: Fresh apple, pear, melon, lime, citrus, floral, crisp, classic prosecco.

Finish: Korean pear, ripe fruit, lots of effervescence, nice.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Montelliana Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso Extra Dry



Tosti Asti Secco D.O.C.G.
(Italy) $15

This wine was made from hand-picked Moscato Bianco grapes.

Aroma: Pear, blood orange, red licorice, elderflower, floral, herbal, eucalyptus, earth.

Palate: Golden apple, pear, peach, tangerine, lemon, flowers, violet, elderflower, mint, eucalyptus, thyme, minerals, pine, like a sparkling aquavit.

Finish: Pear, citrus, eucalyptus, oak, smooth, creamy bubbles, great effervescence.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Tosti Asti Secco D.O.C.G.



Gramona III Lustros Brut Nature Sparkling Wine
(Spain) $34

Organic grapes (65% Xarel-lo, 35% Macabeo) grown in clay-limestone soil were used in this biodynamic wine, made using the traditional Champagne method and aged for 70 months before release.

Aroma: Pineapple, papaya, grape, lemon, white flower, elderflower, herbs, pastry dough, chardonnay, Moscato, brandy.

Palate: Papaya, tropical fruit, lemon, nutty, bread dough, yeast, mineral, acidic, tannic, chardonnay, champagne-like.

Finish: Apple, pear, bread, toast, creamy, heavy tannins, bright, great bubbles.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Gramona III Lustros Brut Nature Sparkling Wine

 

 

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