Saturday, April 05, 2014

Naked Vine Double Barrel: (Not Necessarily for) Brunch Wines

I’ve long said that brunch is my favorite meal of the day. I find something deliciously decadent about getting up late and having enough relaxed time in the morning to put together a meal that goes a bit beyond a bowl of Cheerios.

With brunch, I’m usually a bloody mary man, although I’ll occasionally nip over to the sparkling aisle to get the makings for some mimosas (especially if I can get some good oranges to squeeze). The folks at Colangelo PR (thanks, Megan!) suggest dispensing with all the prep work for morning beverages. “Just crack a bottle of food-friendly wine!” they suggest. They recently sent a couple of brunchable bottles to Vine HQ for review. Here’s what landed on the doorstep:

Mulderbosch 2012 Sauvignon Blanc – I wrote about the 2011 vintage of this light-styled Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa’s most famous winery last August. I found it quite delicate, flavorwise. It does have a pretty pronounced citrus fruit flavor, but one more in the sweet grapefruit range than many that end up with tart lemon or lime flavors. There’s also a fair amount of creaminess that belies the light body. The finish is more fruity than crisp and isn’t particularly lasting. I can see why this would be recommended as a brunch wine, although at 13.6% percent alcohol, it might be a strong way to start your day. I could see this going nicely with some fruit crepes or other dish that’s got some light cream in the recipe. Pleasant enough to sip on its own, as well. The price has risen a bit from last year – from $13 to around $18.

Berlucchi “’61” Franciacorta Brut Metodo Classico – Sparkling wine with brunch? Now we’re talking! Like many French sparklers, the Berlucchi is made primarily from Chardonnay, with a little bit of Pinot Noir thrown in for good measure. (Of course, I don’t need much of an excuse to crack a bottle of bubbly…) First off, a quick piece of translation. “Metodo Classico,” (“The Classic Method”) is the designation of an Italian sparkling wine made in the same method as the original French “Methode Champenoise,” so a wine like this will be as close as an Italian sparkler is going to get to Champagne. (Here’s a refresher on Methode Champenoise if you need it.)

The result was one of the most gentle sparkling wines I’ve ever tasted. The Sweet Partner in Crime declared this wine “silky” from the style of the bubbles. I concur. This wine is super smooth, with layers and layers of apple, pear, and pineapple. It’s very clean tasting and has just a little citrus snap at the end. Very pretty. We hadn’t had a good brunch occasion because of work and travel, so one night, the SPinC declared she was going to make “brinner,” so we had salmon benedict with a side of some nicely seasoned steamed veggies. I have to say, it was simply marvelous.

Now, this isn’t an inexpensive wine. The Brut retails for about $35, which means that it needs to be a really nice brunch. (The “61” in the name comes from the year of the first vintage of Berlucchi wines.) There is a less expensive “Cuvee ‘61” that retails for around $17, but I haven’t had a chance to try that one yet.

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