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Proseccos and Cavas and others -- oh my

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They seem to have taken the world by storm lately, and that certainly was evident at the Winnipeg Wine Festival two weeks ago.

I’ve always loved sparkling wine, and I know not everybody feels the same way. But there’s nothing fresher, more delightful, more universally accepted as an appropriate beverage for any occasion. In fact, there’s a huge move afoot, and I’m certainly among the proponents, to not just keep bubbly for celebrations, but to drink it regularly, much as one would a table wine.

While there’s not much that’s really like true Champagne, the cost of production and the consequent cost to the consumer is off-putting for some. And there are so many other options out there that the cost-conscious consumer can enjoy — Proseccos and Cavas, for instance.

Prosecco is an Italian sparkling wine — usually it’s dry or extra dry, but there are definitely some that have at least a hint of sweetness. It’s meant to be consumed when it’s young, preferably within three years of its vintage.

While there are unquestionably differences among brands, generally speaking, Prosecco is fresh and light and uncomplicated. It’s usually very aromatic and crisp, and often has notes of apple, pear, peach and apricot.

Anyway, there were plenty of Proseccos available for the tasting at the Wine Festival. At one booth, that’s all they offered. One single Prosecco. And it truly was a beauty.

The LaMarca Winery was showcasing its LaMarca Prosecco, much to the delight of many. In fact, while I’d tried it earlier — I had it before at the Rotary Westman Wine Festival last fall — I went back to the booth to make the LaMarca my last sip of the show. It’s $20.10 at the Liquor Mart, but it truly is a lovely wine. And the label is simple and elegant as well — powder blue with silver foil — it just sets itself up to be appealing. So if you’re looking for a winner, this is one.

Same goes for the Segura Viudas line of Cavas — sparkling wine produced in Spain. The Segura Viudas Brut Reserva is a steal of a deal for $14.80, as is the Segura Vuidas Brut Rosé — same price. The Segura Vuidas Heredad Brut Reserva comes in a special, ornate bottle, and is truly a lovely beverage. It sells for $34.30.

I also really enjoyed the Vicente Gandia Hoya De Cadenas Cava Brut — it was one of the new (to Manitoba) products at the Winnipeg Wine Festival.

In addition to products that are already available at Manitoba Liquor Marts, the Liquor Commission brings in some that aren’t part of its selection to see how members of the public and its product ambassadors respond to these new options.

So while I don’t know yet if the Vicente Gandia Hoya De Cadenas Cava Brut will be listed or not, if it is, be sure to give it a try. For $16.99, this was a really pleasant beverage. I must confess, though, that as long as it’s dry, I don’t think I’ve ever met a sparkling wine I didn’t like!

While the featured country this year was Australia, next year’s Winnipeg Wine Festival will showcase the wines of Chile. And as such, there was a special Wines of Chile booth set up, which was pouring the likes of the LFE Family Selection Chardonnay (which I’ve written about before) and the LFE Family Selection Shiraz, both of which were very nice for $17.87 a bottle.

I also enjoyed a couple of blends — the Falernia Carmenere Syrah Reserva for $15.99 (I wrote ‘very interesting’ in my festival notes), and the Montgras Antu Ninquen Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere blend, about which I scribbled, ‘Great! Try it!’ (Admittedly, the notes were much sparser and fewer as the night wore on!) It’s a really intriguing blend that sells for $16.99.

Next week I’ll finish off the Winnipeg Wine Fest picks and be on to some other things. If you like sweet wines, get ready, because I’ve got a new one to tell you about, as well as some interesting details about sweet wine to boot.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2014

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They seem to have taken the world by storm lately, and that certainly was evident at the Winnipeg Wine Festival two weeks ago.

I’ve always loved sparkling wine, and I know not everybody feels the same way. But there’s nothing fresher, more delightful, more universally accepted as an appropriate beverage for any occasion. In fact, there’s a huge move afoot, and I’m certainly among the proponents, to not just keep bubbly for celebrations, but to drink it regularly, much as one would a table wine.

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They seem to have taken the world by storm lately, and that certainly was evident at the Winnipeg Wine Festival two weeks ago.

I’ve always loved sparkling wine, and I know not everybody feels the same way. But there’s nothing fresher, more delightful, more universally accepted as an appropriate beverage for any occasion. In fact, there’s a huge move afoot, and I’m certainly among the proponents, to not just keep bubbly for celebrations, but to drink it regularly, much as one would a table wine.

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