The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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{ }  51 FOR THIS MONTH'S REPORT, we tackled the wines that pop up—quite literally—most frequently this time of year. With so many regions to consider and so many alternative styles—crémants, Prosecco, Cava, pét-nat, low-dosage, even ciders—I hoped to give our sommelier panel a taste trip around the world, and was eager to know which, if any, sparklers might wrest the crown away from Champagne. But, judging from submissions, it seems Champagne still rules. Overwhelmingly, the generous submissions favored the region, and our final list of 16 included nine Champagnes from producers great and small. I asked our sommelier tasters about this because the industry numbers belie favoring Champagne: Italy is the leader in sparkling wine imports, holding 63.7 percent of total volume in the category. Spain is second. Both countries offer an attractive proposition: versatility, and accessible flavor profiles and prices. Yet, four out of five of our sommeliers said "without question" Champagne sets the bar. While "trends have changed for sommeliers and cognoscenti," Mike Madrigale, our team captain and Head Sommelier at Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, noted, "the market at large" has yet to catch up with things like Crémant du Jura, a wine that's trending with him. Victor Pinkston from db Bistro Moderne said though his guests ask for Prosecco and Cava, "Champagne is still the most interest - ing expression of sparkling wine." He noted, "Champagne offers the most hospitality to a diversity of foods and is generous enough to keep you palate lifted or ready for the next bit." Our NYC panel (left to right): Marie Veyron, Aldo Sohm Wine Bar; Victor Pinkston, db Bistro Moderne; Mike Martin, Vintry Fine Wines; Thomas Pastuszak, NoMad; team captain Mike Madrigale, Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud; Alex LaPratt, MS, Atrium DUMBO. All That Sparkles OUR NYC PANEL GETS A KICK FROM CHAMPAGNE AND OTHER BUBBLY WINES by Lana Bortolot / photos by Doug Young team captain: Mike Madrigale

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