Amping Up Your Sparkling Game Without Destroying Your Wallet In Champagne

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The Curve is a new Scout column dedicated to exploring and feeling out the corners of complex, multi-dimensional, often hierarchical and always completely random subjects. The aim is to inform readers – in progressive, graduating fashion – on everything from gin and poems to cheeseburgers and trees. This week, Scout wine editor Treve Ring starts us off festively with a delicious learning curve of quality, accessible, non-Champagne fizz.

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BEGINNER | Graham Beck NV Brut | Western Cape, South Africa | $22

“A classic, consistent and accessible (it’s impossible to dislike this) bottle from South Africa’s leading sparkling wine house. This is a 50/50 chardonnay/pinot noir MCC (Method Cap Classique = traditional method) that spent 15 months on the lees and was plumped with a tip of reserve wines. Bright and fresh orchard fruits on a lightly cushioned palate, finishing with an apple blossom kiss.”

INTERMEDIATE | Haywire 2014 The Bub | Okanagan Valley, BC | $30

“Not just short for Bubbles, The Bub was the childhood nickname of Haywire scion/next-gen Alison Scholefield, whose first sip as a babe was Champagne. This fresh, dry, pinot noir and chardy was bottle fermented and aged, with zero dosage. Bright and zippy this streaks along the palate with green apple, bright lemon, light toast and ample stoniness. An easy crown cap makes for a natural picnic partner.”

ADVANCED | Jean-Paul Brun NV Terre Dorees FRV | Beaujolais, France | $29

“This Bojo pét-nat gamay rosé pours clear, so is unlikely to give off any pét-nasty ‘tude like a few of the non-disgorged ancestral method fizz. Sweet strawberry jam and fragrant raspberry blossoms before a fine, grippy riff on the finish, afforded by the granite soils and minimal intervention in the vineyard or winery. Perfumed, pretty, off dry and bright, and far too smashable at 7.5% alcohol.”

EXTRA CREDIT | Quinta da Murta 2013 Brut Nature | Bucelas, Portugal | $27

“Salty and marine, this crisp brut nature wine sings of place: the briny Atlantic coast and calcareous-laced soils of Bucelas. Chalky throughout, with wild scrubby myrtle, lemon thistle, lemon pith, riffing sea salts and driving, shearing acidity, this biodynamically farmed, wild yeast fermented, traditional method fizz is 100 percent arinto. Two and a half years on the lees gives structure without heft; this is light, lean and riveting. Fresh oysters, obrigado!”

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