11/30/11 – Sparkling Reds

By Jesse on November 28, 2011

Well, even though it’s still November, I can hear those sleigh bells jingling (and ring ting tingling too).  Yes, the holiday season is finally upon us, and although I’m loathe to acquiesce to this nascent trend of dusting off the yuletide albums and holiday decorations by early November, I suppose it’s pointless to gripe now that Black Friday has passed and we’ve all begun shopping for gifts and pepper-spraying each other.  Therefore, the LA Winos are kicking off our annual series of holiday-themed tastings this Wednesday night with a unique twist on that mainstay of seasonal entertaining: sparkling wine.

Although either white or red grapes (or both) may be used in the production of Champagne and the méthode champenoise wines it’s inspired worldwide, the resulting wines are usually white, the skins of the red grapes having been separated from the juice too early to impart any pigmentation.  Other bubblies are done as rosés, wherein the red grapes are allowed to leave just a hint of their natural coloring behind.  Both white and rosé sparkling wines of a certain price point (roughly $10 and up) carry some degree of respect: not everyone’s a rabid fan, perhaps, but no one finds them odd or funny-looking.

sparkling-shiraz.jpgRed bubbly, on the other hand, has never received a whole lot of respect.  They’ve typically been shelved near the other “novelty wines” (i.e. fruit wines, wine in boxes, ChocoVine, etc.), consigned to the status of something you’d bring to the party to inspire discussion, or as a joke.  Even winemakers have been in on the jesting: according to this article, German vintners changed the spelling of their red bubbly from kalte ende (meaning “cold end,” reflecting the leftover wines from which it’s made there) to kalte ente (meaning “cold duck,” which is apparently the kind of phrase that Germans find comedic).  Well, joke no more, Klaus: this week we’re taking sparkling red seriously.  For Wednesday night’s meeting, please bring any sparkling red wine that looks interesting to you.  Here are some suggestions…

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