Bubbly this week? Maybe.

Did you pop open a celebratory bottle of bubbly last Saturday? Chances are that the answer to this question depends on your politics.

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But one thing is certain: Within moments after the Associated Press called the 2020 U.S. Presidential election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, wine and liquor shops across the country reported spiking sales of Champagne and other sparkling wines on a scale to match the annual peak on New Year’s Eve.

“Turns out the undisputed winner of the 2020 election is … Champagne,” wrote the luxury and lifestyle magazine Robb Report. “Following the announcement of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent Donald Trump on Saturday, revelers snapped up sparkling wine in impressive quantities.”

Interviewing retailers in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., Robb Report found them excited about long lines of revelers and sold-out inventory just weeks before another celebratory sales peak at Thanksgiving.

Why, yes, we did enjoy a glass of Spanish Cava with our neighbors.

Why, yes, we did enjoy a glass of Spanish Cava with our neighbors.

Other media eagerly grabbed the story. The food-trends website Mashed.com, surveying media reports, exulted that a staggering amount of sparkling wine was sold when Biden’s victory was announced.

“Members of the public went wild in Washington D.C. and liquor store owners revealed that they sold more bottles of champagne on the day that Biden’s victory was declared than they have on the previous two New Year’s Eves put together,” Mashed reported. “So if you just woke up from a coma and are finding lots of empty champagne bottles in the trash cans or on the streets, now you know why.”

Yahoo Life joined the chorus, writing, “Turns out the undisputed winner of the 2020 election is … Champagne. Following the announcement of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent Donald Trump on Saturday, revelers snapped up sparkling wine in impressive quantities.”

Even my hometown Louisville Courier-Journal got into the act, interviewing three urban retailers in a report headlined “Joe Biden’s election win was ‘like New Year’s Eve’ for many Louisville liquor stores.”

Okay, fine. I won’t lie. We joined neighbors for a glass of decent Spanish sparkling cava over the weekend, and I picked up another sparkling wine, Crémant de Limoux for this week’s tasting report.

But come on. Rarely has an election more sharply divided the nation, or not since 2016 anyway. I was pretty sure that some of my neighbors were holding off on the bubbly. So I followed up a lead that a lot of reporters apparently hadn’t bothered to chase: I dropped in on a buddy who runs a wine shop in a red-shaded section of suburban Louisville.

Was he selling a lot of post-election bubbly? “Nope,” he said. “Sales are about normal.” He looked a little wistful. “Now, those guys inside the Watterson Expressway (the highway loop that encloses the metro’s blue-voting urban precincts) … they’re selling a lot of it.”

Yep, just like everything else in this wild and wacky pandemic election year, it all depends on where you live and how most of your neighbors vote.

But just for the sake of enjoying good wine together, can’t we all just open a bottle or two and try to get along? I’ll drink to that!


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Today’s Tasting Report

Something about a French sparkling wine named in honor of the third, French-loving American president seemed just right to me, and the proof of the bottle was in the tasting: This good, pink-shaded, Pinot Noir-laced sparkler from Limoux in the French Pyrenees hit the spot, and it’s just as good for a quiet evening at home as it is for a celebration.

Thomas Jefferson Cremant de Limoux

Gérard Bertrand 2017 Crémant de Limoux “Cuvée Thomas Jefferson” Brut Rosé ($19.99)

This good Crémant de Limoux is a sparkling blend of Chardonnay (65%), Chenin Blanc (20%), and Pinot Noir (15%) grown high in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It shows a pretty, pale salmon color in the glass, with persistent streams of very small bubbles rising. The splash of Pinot in the blend is enough to color the wine and contributes to its attractive red-berry scent of strawberries and raspberries with back notes of grilled toast. Red berry flavors and a tart mouthfeel from combined fresh-fruit acidity and carbonation wake up your taste buds and linger in a very long finish. 12.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: USA Wine West LLC, Sausalito, Calif. (Nov. 12, 2020)

FOOD MATCH: Good for sipping on its own, although its tart acidity suggests something to munch alongside: Cheeses, nuts, or even something like smoked salmon would work well. It might also be worth a try with hot-and-spicy Asian fare.

WHEN TO DRINK: It’s possible that it might age into something interesting in a good cellar, but I’m inclined to drink it in the next year or so while its fresh fruit and toasty character is in balance with the acidity.

My local sale price came in a dollar below Wine-Searcher.com’s $21 average U.S. retail. When you’re not paying Champagne prices, a good Crémant de Limoux like this makes a fine alternative around the $20 mark.

Here’s the producer’s fact sheet on this tasty sparkler.

Check prices and find vendors for Gérard Bertrand Crémant de Limoux “Cuvée Thomas Jefferson Brut Rosé on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to read more about Crémant de Limoux and browse listings for dozens of other sparkling wines from the region.


More affordable wines

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10 or less that I’ve told you about during the past year or two. Please tell us about your favorites!

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