Robert et Marcel De Chanceny Crémant de la Loire Brut ($15.99)
This typical Loire Valley Méthode Traditionelle sparkling wine brings together a blend of Chenin Blanc (70%), Chardonnay (15%), and a splash of red Cabernet Franc (15%). It shows a clear, bright straw color in the glass, pouring with a thick, creamy white foam that falls back fast, leaving only a few bubbles but a crisp, prickly petillance from its carbonation. Pleasant citric scents focused on lemon rise up in the aroma, with more subtle touches of pears and stone fruit. Tart but balanced citrus and minerally limestone come together in a crisp, freshly acidic flavor that lingers with 12,5% alcohol in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Signature Imports, Mansfield, Mass.; A Terrisson Wine Selection. (Dec. 19 , 2019)
FOOD MATCH: As a celebratory glass, this tasty and well-balanced bubbly is fine for sipping on its own. It will go just about anywhere that a food-friendly white will go, though, from chicken, pork or veal to all manner of cheese.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s not made for aging, but it certainly won’t die if you hang on to it over the next year or two.
The combination of Loire grapes and the traditional process makes this a remarkable value in competition with Champagne prices.
Here’s a fact sheet from primary vendor Whole Foods Market.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find vendor and price information for dozens of other Crémant de la Loire wines.
Broadbent Madeira Reserve 5 Years Old Fine Rich ($24.99)
This delicious sweet Madeira is a warm, dark-brown color with hints of copper-orange against the light. Freshly cracked nuts, walnuts and pecans, fill the nose with more subtle hints of lemon and orange. The appetizing tree-nut flavors carry over on the palate with grace notes of juicy citrus. It’s warm and powerful at 19% alcohol, with fruit sugars nicely balanced by a firm acidic structure and soft, palatable tannins; walnuts and a citric snap linger in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Broadbent Selections Inc., Sonoma, Calif. (Dec. 19, 2019)
FOOD MATCH: This fine dessert and after-dinner wine is made for drinking on its own too, but it matches well with snacks that match its deep flavors: Walnuts and pecans, blue or creamy cheeses, even dark chocolate. We’ve also enjoyed it with French onion soup.
WHEN TO DRINK: Madeira is essentially ageless, so you can keep it almost indefinitely, even in an opened bottle.
It’s a very good value at my local price, which matches Wine-Searcher.com’s $25 average U.S. retail.
Here’s Broadbent’s detailed Madeira page.
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Check prices and find vendors for Broadbent Madeira Reserve on Wine-Searcher.com.
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