See this bottle? Take note. It's the best sparkling wine available for $20. End of discussion.
Okay, let me dial it back a bit. With wine, there's never an end to the discussion. Of course, I'm always willing to try a new bubbly that could prove me wrong, but year after year Roederer Estate's non-vintage Brut offers bubbly bliss that far outperforms the meager $20 cover charge.
This should come as no big surprise to lovers of the bubbles. After all, Roederer is the brand behind the king of bling, Cristal Champagne. (The 2000 Cristal brut from Roederer remains the greatest wine I've ever tasted, period.) And since 1982, Roederer Estate has been cultivating its own vineyards in one of my favorite California wine regions, Mendocino County's Anderson Valley. Roederer Estate puts out a range of still and sparkling wines made from the classic Champagne grapes (pinot noir and chardonnay), most of which are quite moderately priced. While their higher-end bubbles are even better, nothing beats the value of the non-vintage brut. I first tasted this wine at the winery a few years ago and have been an avid fan ever since. Most recently, I popped a bottle on Thanksgiving, and it proved to be a serious crowd-pleaser. Here are my notes from that bottle...
Non-Vintage Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley
Pretty gold color. Clean aromas of melon, white flowers, orange peel and bread dough. Superb acid on the palate, balanced by crisp minerals. Nice biscuity flavors, along with apples, melon and lime. This is legit stuff for $20! A blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% pinot noir, this wine spends at least two years aging on the yeasts, which adds to that biscuity complexity. The finish is long and crisp. 90 points IJB
And I'm not the only fan of this stuff. One Cellartracker.com taster wrote: "This wine has yet to disappoint. 7 or 8 bottles in the last year that are all in the 90-91 point range. I love the style and the consistency." Another fan: "Best $20 sparkler out there. PERIOD." Yet another: "The epitome of consistency and under $20 over-achieving sparkling. You can always count on NV Roederer Brut. Solid 90, dog."
Yup, this stuff is awesome, dog. With the holidays already upon us, and 2013 scratching at the door, it's always good to have a few bottles of bubbly around. And, to date, I haven't found a better bargain.