by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier + Certified Wine Educator, Proprietress of Épernay Wine & Spirits
Boston Pops on Nantucket is an annual fundraiser, and the largest of its kind, to benefit the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Funds generated during the event stay on Nantucket and help to sustain the hospital’s year-round commitment to the health and wellbeing of our island community. Well, I’ll drink to that! Here is a quick list of sparkling options to help you celebrate and boogie the night away at this frolicking, fun event at the beach.
Arrive with Lamberti Prosecco Doc… The house of Lamberti is located on the shores of Lake Garda in Northeast Italy’s Veneto region. The winery is named after one of the oldest families from Verona. The grapes used to make the base wine for this Prosecco are mainly Glera, a native white grape varietal from the region. The wine is then re-fermented in enclosed pressure tanks, known as the Charmat method for secondary fermentation, and is the method best suited to enhance the grape’s aromatic qualities.
Pale, bright straw in color, floral aromas with peach and tropical fruit notes mark this personable Prosecco. The palate is clean with balanced acidity and a lingering finish on this lively and effervescent wine. Prosecco is meant to be consumed young and is great on its own or blended with fruit juices to create a Mimosa or Bellini. Lamberti also happens to be conveniently available in an easy-to-open 187 ml single serving size!
Perfect cheese pairing: Pecorino Toscano (sheep’s milk from Tuscany, Italy) with Castleton Rosemary Crackers
Chat with Parés Baltà Brut Cava… Parés Baltà has a long family history of grape growing and winemaking in the Penedés region of Spain, just south of Barcelona. The winery is operated by the current generation of two brothers while both their wives are the winemakers and oenologists. As a family, they have a passion for the natural and the environmentally respectful cultivation of the vines through organic farming with their wines being certified organic and their vineyards biodynamic.
This Cava, as sparkling wine is called in Spain, is made using the local indigenous grapes of Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel·lo. The second fermentation that creates the bubbles occurs in the bottle, same as with méthode champenoise. It is then aged in bottle for at least 12 months before released where by law, Cava must be aged a minimum of 9 months on the lees before being sold. Pale yellow in color, this Cava has medium intensity on the nose with toasty notes combined with aromas of pear and apple. It is fresh and alive in the mouth with dominating notes of fruit and a pleasant finish. While it is made in the same production method as Champagne, it is but yet a fraction of the price!
Perfect cheese pairing: Manchego (sheep’s milk from La Mancha, Spain) with Dalmatia Fig Spread
Cheers with Champy Sparkling Wine… Champy was founded in recent years by Boston-based entertainment and lifestyle television personality Jenny Johnson. As a longtime lover of bubbly, Johnson enjoys the celebratory spirit found in sparkling wine and believes a glass can spontaneously transform ordinary moments into extraordinary ones (this is a good one for the Pops!). This brut bubbly from Sonoma County, California, is made in the Champagne method from a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It is aged for about 20 months in the bottle, where as non-vintage Champagne only needs to be aged for a minimum of 15 months.
Not only does the bright yellow label with gold lettering make for a beautiful package, the product inside is just as lovely. Soft, lush, and creamy in the mouth, this bubbly has hints of citrus flower on the nose and bright notes of sweet green apple and ripe stone fruit on the palate. According to Jenny: Be present. Be spontaneous. Be Champy.
Perfect cheese pairing: Comté Reserve (cow’s milk from the Jura region of France) with Firehook Sea Salt Crackers
Sip with Syltbar Spumante Rosé… For starters, don’t let the word “spumante” scare you. This is the Italian word for “sparkling” that often times has been associated with cheap, inexpensive plunk not worthy of mention. In this case, however, we are referring to a premium sparkling wine that Enjoy a Complimentary Tasting! should garner your attention. Syltbar is a brand named after the isle of Sylt, located along Germany’s pristine northern shore. The picturesque dunes and charming lighthouses that characterize this island’s idyllic landscape are very reminiscent of Nantucket. Since this is a rosé wine made from 100% merlot, and even though it comes from the same region and is made in the same production method as Prosecco, it can not by law be called as such. Hence, the label simply reads vino spumante.
This brightly colored rosé is elegant, complex, and fruity with delicate aromas of soft red fruits and lychees. Raspberry, strawberry and a bit of earthiness are delightful on the dry finish. Syltbar Rosé is quite the showstopper in that it has half the calories and less sugar than most other sparkling wines as the result of a longer fermentation time during production. What this means for you is fewer calories and less of a hangover!
Perfect cheese pairing: Beemster XO Aged Gouda (cow’s milk from Holland) with Virginia Chutney Company Spicy Plum Chutney
Groove with Gruet “Sauvage” Blanc de Blancs… Gruet Winery is a story of French roots and American dreams. Gilbert Gruet, along with his wife Danielle, were already producing fine quality Champagne in the village of Bethon in France. While traveling on a family vacation in the southwestern part of the United States, they came across a group of European winemakers who had successfully planted grapes in Engle, NM, hours south of Albuquerque. It was then that the Gruet family decided to plant their own vineyard in this newly discovered area and begin their American winemaking adventure.
Gruet “Sauvage” is made in the same method of production as the Gruet family did in Champagne with the second fermentation in the bottle. The term sauvage refers to the naturalness in which the wine is made and has no dosage in its final production, making it a bone-dry sparkler. Blanc de Blancs, meaning white from white, refers to it being made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. Pale straw in color, there is a delicate persistent mousse of fine bubbles. Mineral driven aromas and flavors of bright citrus permeate throughout the glass, inviting you for another sip. It is aged on tirage for at least 24 months, adding length and complexity to the finish.
Perfect cheese pairing: Brie de Lyon (cow’s milk from Lyon, France) with Gluten-Free Mary’s Gone Crackers Herb Crackers
While you are moving and grooving to the beats of the Beach Boys, please remember to partake responsibly and also pack out to properly recycle and dispose of what items you have brought in to the party. Rock on!