So much of what we do here at Beltramo’s is to help people find the perfect beverage for the occasion at hand. Maybe it happens to be party that someone is going to and they want to present the host with a gift, or possibly it is to congratulate a friend or colleague that achieved a milestone in their personal life or career. But the one I always find the most gratifying is the individual who just landed their dream job, and they want to celebrate this change!
A couple of weeks ago one of my regular clients came into the store. I asked if there was any recommendations I could help them with, and this individual was beaming and proceeded to explain how they just started this new job and wanted to pick up some fun wines to celebrate this new opportunity.
So I immediately thought of bubbles of some kind, but since this was new direction for this person, why not try some alternatives to traditional Champagne that would be sparkling, festive, and perfect to toast with.
One of the most exciting “Sparklers” that I have tried this year comes from a small Meadery in Point Reyes Station: Heidrun Meadery. They produce small lots of Sparkling Mead from unique honeys from California, Oregon, and Hawaii. Most recently we have started to carry the Heidrun, Oregon Meadowfoam Blosson Sparkling Mead ($22.99) . When I first tried this I was taken aback by the intense floral spicy character and alluring clove tones. This ends clean and refreshing, and you are left wanting another sip. This was by far my favorite in the lineup by Heidrun, but they were all fantastic and distinct.
Next on the alternative Sparkling celebration list was a newer producer from the Lodi area. Bodkin (the first producer of sparkling Sauvignon Blanc in California) is making an atypical Sparkler that is enjoyable on so many levels. Historically, Champagne/Domestic Sparkling wine is produced from the combinations or solely of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Menuir. So for Bodkin to produce a Sauvignon Blanc sparkling wine is really making a statement. It exudes bright fruitiness with a tangy finish. The 2013 Bodkin Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc comes in at $19.99 which is a great value for such a refreshing celebration beverage.
Lastly, my final pick for a fun alternative sparkling wine would be the Moscamango ($10.99). This was discovered by our Imported Wine Buyer, Howard, last year on a trip to Italy. If you enjoy an occasional Bellini or Mimosa then this is right in your palette zone! It is slightly sweet with the floral tones of Moscato and rounded out with the tropical fruitiness of the Mango.
So for your next celebration of a big event in your life, that is sending you in a new direction, I urge you to try one of these Champagne alternatives to mark the event.
Chris M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant