Editor's note: We like sparkling wine, and we're always searching for delicious bottles of bubbly, from affordable options to small-producer Champagnes that truly reflect the character of the place where they're grown. In this new series, Bubbles, we'll pop a few corks to let you know which fizzy wines are worth a splurge and which you can skip. Got bubbly recommendations? Please let us know your favorites in the comments!
You don't often hear much about wine from Massachusetts, but the sparkling wines from Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery on the south coast of the state are too remarkable to ignore. The cool coastal climate and gravel-and-loam soils make for bright, tart, and well-balanced wines that are perfect for celebrations (or any day you happen to have access to some freshly-shucked oysters.)
The 2006 Westport Brut "Robert James Russell" Brut is a fruity and fresh blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, with a rich apple-and-butterscotch scent. The flavor reminded us of yellow Rainier cherries, with a tart center and hints of orange zest, almonds, and rosewater. Serve it with shrimp, crabcakes, or lobster rolls. (Around $28, available online.)
Where the Brut was friendly, fruity fun, the 2000 Blanc de Blancs has more of a yeasty brioche undercurrent and a sword of tangy, lemon-lime acidity. It stays en tirage for about 8 years. This is serious, sleek, dry wine, and it's delicious stuff. The scent is reminiscent of buttery apple crisp, and there's a lovely sea-air minerality, especially on the finish. This all-chardonnay fizz has hints of of herbs, apricot, and marzipan. Serve with oysters, grilled fish with lemony potatoes, or salty roe on blini (with a little creme fraiche). (Around $30, available online.)
Samples provided for review.