Vacationing with PB gives us a great chance to have side by side tastings of lots of different wines. We took this opportunity to pit a well known French Champagne against a good domestic sparkling wine. We wanted both to be generally accessible and of moderate pricing.
For the French Champagne we selected Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut ($55 at the local grocery store).
Nose: muted dryer nose, dusty and layered with flowers and melon.
Palate:extra fine bubbles that effervesce and sparkle. Very dry with pleasing acid core. Honeyed flowers on the palate
Finish: of peach and mown hay
For the domestic Sparkling wine we selected the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut which was $20 at the local grocery store.
Nose: quite rich and full at the outset. Notes of citrus and flowers.
Palate: medium dry, small tight bubbles with notes of peach and pineapple. The bubbles are wonderfully intrinsic to this sparkling wine being smaller than many other domestics I've had. While described as a Brut it is not quite as dry as many other bruts making for a somewhat more accessible sparkling for those who prefer their bubbly not so bone dry.
Finish: The finish on this Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut is short and weak. The weakest part of an otherwise wonderful wine.
Smackdown Review: We tasted these wines blind so that we would not be influenced by the labels or regional preconceptions. The first thing to remember is that you like what you like and that is just fine. In truth these are two magnificent sparkling wines. They both had depth of flavor, good crafting and delightful bubbles. They would both make a good drink after dinner and with a light dessert. At twice the price (or more) the Veuve simply outclasses the Gloria Ferrer. The bubbles are relative pinpricks that effervesce and tease where comparatively, the Gloria Ferrer bubbles are hammers pounding at your palate. Similarly, I prefer dry dry dry sparkling wines and the Gloria Ferrer Sonoma brut was not as dry as the Veuve. Finally the finish on the Veuve continued on well after the taste was done where the Gloria Ferrer was (much) shorter.
So I pick the Veuve as the winner in the head to head taste competition.
Any way you consider it, though, in these kinds of competitions, everyone wins.
Raise a Glass!