Revisiting the best sparkling wines of 2010

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      The year is settling in and there are still a few Best of 2010 bottles that need a revisit, if only as in-passing mentions. Some of the previous lineups have elicited the customary comments from followers of these tasting notes, most of them along the lines of, “Too bad some of these wines aren’t readily available.”

      Let me address that briefly. The best-of-the-year lists are a recap of the previous year’s outstanding bottles. They go back 12 months and reference wines (and other drinkables) that were discussed in greater detail in these pages during the past year.

      At the time of the first writing, all of the wines were available, either at LDB stores, at private stores, or directly from the winery. But yes, they do sell out quickly. So think of these roundups as a taste-memory jog. And act fast if, during the next 11 months, you read about something here that strikes your fancy. Hot irons and all that.

      Here follows thumbnails of vintages that especially impressed, this time focusing on sparkling wines—a mixed-case lot.

      Veuve du Vernay Brut Rose n/v ($13.99)
      What a great buy this pretty sparkler (and its Blanc de Blancs Brut white companion) are, especially at this surely time-limited price. If there’s such a thing in your start-of-the-year budget as an everyday bubble, this is the label.

      Marquis de la Tour Brut n/v ($12.99)
      More French bubbles without the Champagne price. Clean, crisp, charming—and affordable.

      St. Hubertus Frizzante Rose 2008 ($14.99)
      A solid, reliable, food-friendly glass of fresh sparkle from B.C.’s most underrated winery. The Gebert brothers hold their own course, producing outstanding, sometimes offbeat still and sparkling wines. This epitomizes their unique approach.

      Mionetto Prosecco Brut n/v ($19.99)
      We touted this specialty listing here early in the year as a fruity, toasty, fun-filled bubble. A prime example of delightful and delicious Prosecco. I wonder if Michael Mameli at Lupo restaurant is serving it by the glass from his Prosecco machine. Nice to find the Straight in the lofty company of the Wall Street Journal, which also recognized it as great-tasting great value.

      8th Generation Frizzante Chardonnay 2009 ($19.99)
      It was the talk of the B.C. Wine Awards last October, even though it wasn’t entered in the competition. It’s surprising there’s still some left for sale, at the winery, anyway. Chardonnay with a spritz—what a nice notion!

      L’Acadie Brut n/v ($24.99)
      We can only hope Nova Scotia winemaker Bruce Ewert will bring some of this great Maritime sparkler back to town, maybe for the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, because I can tell you for sure there’s none left now. He was here last year around this time to pour some at a couple of tastings. The lucky (or astute) ones got a bottle or two for the cellar. Nova Scotia bubble, eh?

      Elephant Island The Little King Sparkling Apple n/v ($24.99)
      Naramata Bench apples are the main ingredient in this unique sparkling wine that’s rarely available outside the winery’s tasting room. It’s worth the effort to acquire it. Pour it with the label hidden for your wine know-it-all friends and see what they say.

      Gray Monk Odyssey White Brut 2007 ($24.99)
      Okanagan bubble has rarely been better. Perhaps a new vintage has superseded this; it’s bound to be every bit as delicious.

      Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc 2007 ($29.99)
      I’ve spent so much ink extolling the pleasures of this award-winning, crowd-pleasing wine, there’s nothing left to say other than that when the history of Okanagan wines is updated, this label will be in the list of top achievements.

      Blue Mountain Rose Brut 2006 ($32.90)
      The iconic Okanagan winery is shedding its reclusive status and meeting its adoring public more often these days, with portfolio tastings, winery dinners, and other events. If they’re showing at the Playhouse wine festival this year, make a point of stopping by the table and tasting this superb, true Champagne-style wine. Or just see your neighbourhood VQA wine merchant.

      Louis Roederer Brut Premier n/v ($59.99)
      Along with Nicolas Feuillatte, Roederer has always been high on my list of French favourites. Really, the only thing that’s not so great about this fabulous wine is the price. Ah, but Valentine’s Day is coming”¦

      Nicolas Feuillatte Rose Brut n/v ($69.99)
      Speaking of Feuillatte”¦ If you’re really in a generous mood, get both—the Roederer for dinner, the Feuillatte for before and/or after. In my next life, the one where I get all the money, I intend to make this my anytime Champagne. State-of-the-art French bubble and all that it entails—including the somewhat stratospheric price point.

      Tedeschi Vineyards Hula o Maui Sparkling Pineapple Wine n/v (US$18)
      To end, here’s one that’s definitely not available outside its home turf, which is Hawaii, but if you should find yourself there escaping the rains, go into any wine store or restaurant and ask for it. The perfect morning-after, weekend-brunch sparkler, redolent of fresh pineapple, with luscious little pearly bubbles that awaken the palate and set it up for food. If someone ever decides to bring it to B.C., put me down for a box.

      Still got sweets to resurvey: fruit wines, ports (including the one Barack Obama got as a gift from the Portuguese president), spirits, and brews. Soon.