Posted on Leave a comment

LaMarca Prosecco Review

Introduction: Here’s a Lamarca Prosecco Review for you all. Sure, this isn’t exactly standard fare around here, but my wife admittedly does really enjoy her Prosecco. I do as well actually. In any case, if you’ve bought a bottle of Prosecco almost anywhere, you’ll probably recognize this Lamarca Prosecco bottle. From Costco to your local grocery store, to Bevmo, it’s pretty much everywhere. That’s why, I thought a Lamarca Prosecco review might be in order. What are you getting from one of the best marketed imported wines around?

Video Transcription:

Hello, this is Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

That this is gonna be a little market perspective review which is something that we don’t do all the time but every so often it’s kind of fun to check in on something that’s really produced for the mass market within the United States. I think especially when it comes from overseas I think it can be kind of instructive what’s going on in the wider wine market so first you’re here for just a simple review so this is kind of quote-unquote entry-level Prosecco you’ll see LaMarca sold almost everywhere wine is sold consistently and if your state is part of the 20th century and allows grocery store sales great if your stay is part of the 21st century and allows online sales also great ten bucks or so although the total wine off and I’ll have pick up a case and it’s like six bucks per bottle kind of thing.

Ok, onto my actual Lamarca Prosecco Review: So it’s a light strong color kind of amid kind of palette you’re going to find no touch of sweetness at all it is definitely more tart and fruit flavor and kind of lemon zest eat rather than anything else and quite frankly it’s just a nice sparkling wine so we’re going to go through kind of a couple things about why Prosecco can be priced at ten bucks or so a bottle and Champagne can’t so there’s a few things so first so this is the Galera grape so Galera and Prosecco were used interchangeably well really was just called Prosecco and then they created a kind of department of control as they call it in Italy really a wine growing region but based around sparkling wine and they wanted to change the great name from Prosecco to something else they didn’t want people in other regions of the world to be able to grow Prosecco and then call it that they wanted a kind of their own trade name for their sparkling wine and that happened back in 2009-2010 and so you’ll now see Galera graoe name used but Prosecco now being the kind of overall brand name

Ok, so onto Larmarca. Lamarca is a group of farmers there’s 5000 of them or so and they create kind of this wine through a group of ten to twelve wineries and it’s you know at thousand acres or something I’m free so it’s kind of you know they proofs enough of it to be able get into the export market in the United States being their kind of favorite target and that’s kind of consistent with what you see wine-growing regions often do is that they want this kind of grower co-op thing to exist to get people into the grape or to variety or in this case kind of the function of wine and then hopefully the theory is at least for the Italians is that if you’re drinking a little market Prosecco and you think it’s good then maybe you’ll buy a Prosecco that’s $20 instead of this $10 bottle and that’s usually the progression that people did go through and then so Prosecco also can be cheaper than champagne for one other simple reasons so it’s how it’s made and so secondary fermentation for champagne happens in the bottle and that’s where you see that the you know the French kind of pictures and stuff that come out from the champagne wine engine of turning the bottle quarter turn a week and it’s just kind of manually labor-intensive kind of thing until we figure out a robot to do it of course but Prosecco is secondary fermentation happens in huge tanks and much like bigger vineyards spring costs down bigger ferments being bring costs down too and so that’s something that happens and plus Glera versus most champagne or other sparkling wine is made from Pinot or Chardonnay grapes.

Galera is kind of this ancient grape that came to Italy from Croatia or Slovenia depending on who you ask I think the answer is public Slovenia because it’s just across the street and it gets a bigger yield then does Pinot or Chardonnay plus Italy’s a little bit warmer so the yields increase based on the grape and based on the weather so in that case and so Lamarca Prosecco if we’re going to do a quick review of the Lamarca so this is a solid entry point to Prosecco and that’s exactly what its intended to be and if you told me that they were either taking a loss on this or if they were making only a few cents per bottle as a way to try to get people to drink more Prosecco and to introduce the kind of trade name to the world I wouldn’t be surprised at all and so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures and I hope everybody something a good start for the week and I hope you enjoy your Prosecco.

Oh and of course, since we’ve been called one of the top wine clubs in America by Forbes and others….this is too freely available for us to include in one of our wine club offerings.

Posted on Leave a comment

Meomi Pinot Noir Review

Introduction: Welcome to my Meomi Pinot Noir Review. I’ve started attempting to offer some of these reviews of commonly available wine for a few reasons. First, it’s good to see what’s out there in the marketplace and to avoid confirmation bias as much as possible. Secondly, this brand is so famous right now, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When I tried the wine, I understood. I was almost shocked when I started this Meomi Pinot Noir Review because the wine was a significantly higher quality than I was expecting given the production levels and price point. With Pinot Noir especially, that’s a tough one to pull off.

Video Transcript:

Hi all, so I am Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.

So I’ll hold you up so you can get a look at this although if you’ve literally bought wine anywhere or even bought food you’ve seen it so this is the Meomi Pinot Noir.

To start, let’s take a couple steps back here first first Meoimi was started by the Wagner family which quite famously started Caymus in Napa and so this was their foray into the Sonoma side of Pinot Noir and much like Caymus this wine kind of carries that style (their Cabernet is full bodied, as is, this Meomi Pinot Noir)

So if we look here the one thing that I think is pretty cool about this is that they give you the percentages of counties and where this is actually from so it’s Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma County you know to really put those all together you would have to just call it simply a Californian Pinot and that’s a kind of a task and that’s kind of what a cheap wine from California calls itself.

There’s a generic AVA doesn’t it our lack of AVA does man really just calling it California and we only wanted to avoid that because you know those those many locations that we just named off are largely more coastal and largely much more expensive than say growing fruit in the Central Valley.

So what you get from those is you get this kind of darker richer or style of Pinot Noir which is much more popular much like Caymus as a darker richer style of cab and that’s become so much more popular over the years too.

So I walked into trying this wine thinking that I was going to just hate this and this was going to be awful and you know you couldn’t possibly produce 700,000 cases of this which is give or take what the number is these days and have it not be terrible but really what we found is that the folks from Consolation Brands who bought the Wagner suite of winery properties for 315 million dollars or so about a few years ago have done a pretty incredible job.

Normally you’ll see this Meoimi Pinot Noir rated at somewhere around 90 points you see eighty-seven some years ninety others I think that’s probably about the high point it’s a well-made Pinot.

Additionally, I think they’re doing a smart thing in that when you so if you wanted to source only Sonoma grapes you might have a $40 price point even kind of this you know as you might expect for anything sourcing more grapes it’s often easier but Monterey is kind of the Uncharted West still in a lot of ways and Santa Barbara County is masked and massive and so you know you can really see how they can put this together at a$20 or sub $20 price point and I think from a wider perspective this is kind of an interesting foray into Pinot in a few levels.

So we have the super cheap Pinot’s made in the state, which is mostly done terribly because you can’t grow Pinot in warm conditions and hitting a $5 price with Pinot is a fool’s errand and so this really might be the first price point where Pinot can make sense and really the way that the Meomi folks are giving it is the only way that it does.

I walked into this thinking that I was going to hate it. I thought this was gonna be awful. I thought this was gonna be a watered down version of Pinot much like the $5 versions often are and I walked away saying that was pretty darn good and they’ve done an excellent job with that and so if you’re looking for a fifteen to twenty dollar bottle you know went on so there’s not that many choices from California or France and this Meomi a pretty good bet which surprised the hell out of me so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures.


Posted on Leave a comment

Carbs in Wine vs Beer

There’s been any number of diets over the past handful of years, which aim to limit the consumption of carbohydrates. From Atkins to Keto. Pick the year, or time period and you’ll find a different name. All of them basically have the same setup, save the carbs and lose the weight. Here’s the thing, there’s not wrong. There’s a lot of calories in carbohydrates, but eliminating them completely, forever, seems problematic at best. In any case, for those that are counting and I do think it’s smart to do so, here’s the number of carbs in wine vs beer.

Carbs in Wine: 1-2 grams per glass

Carbs in Beer: 10-20 grams per glass

In reality, the difference in carbs in wine vs beer comes down to how they’re made. Of course, beer is literally made from a carbohydrate source. This difference is also why beer tends to have at least 50 extra calories per drink than does wine.

So if you’re counting carbs, the difference in carbs in wine vs beer becomes a significant thing and a reason why you should probably have that glass of wine instead of a beer.

Some caveats, wine has less carbs than does beer in large part because the sugar is being completely transformed into alcohol. But, if you’re choosing a sweet wine, that’s obviously not the case. So, if you’re counting carbs, let’s not choose a Riesling, a late harvest wine, or anything which does contain residual sugar like this Apothic Red.

Lastly, let’s paint an overall picture. How many carbs is that 1-2 grams per glass in reality? A diabetic is generally suggested to limit their intake to about 70 grams per day. So is that 1-2 grams per glass of wine really an issue? Likely not. But, 20 grams in a glass of beer? Likely. After all, most foods tend to have some carbohydrate numbers, even if we all don’t want to admit not eating grilled chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner every night (even that meal is like 4 carbs).

Ok, so there’s not many carbs in wine. There’s more in beer. The choice is really up to you.

Posted on Leave a comment

Crane Lake Sangiovese Review

Well to my review of the Crane Lake Sanviovese. I wanted to talk about this wine for a few different reasons. First, as I see friends attempt to purchase cheap bottles of wine, I often see them grabbing Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon…..or even, Pinot Noir. What’s the issue with those grapes and cheap wines? To reach these cheap price points, the grapes have to be grown in warm, or even hot vineyard locations. So, they’re not all that great….even for cheap wine. Sangiovese though, is a grape that does grow well where it’s hot. After all, it’s a heck of a lot warmer in Italy than it is in Croatia (where most of the name brand grapes actually evolved, sorry France). So I wanted to offer up this Crane Lake Sangiovese review for those looking for a drinkable bottle of wine, at a $4 price point. That’s pretty rare.

Video Transcription:

I don’t so I’ll hold this up so you can get a decent look at it although we’ve got some lighting issues here since the afternoon and it’s sunny but this is a Crane Lake Sangiovese they said first before we go any further of course not a wine in the Month Club wine for uncorked ventures this is literally a four dollar bottle of wine so I’ll also turn this you can get a good look at the back or at least a decent looks so you can see kind of flavor combinations plus the fact that it is dry and not semi sweet so I hope this is interesting so kind of number of friends expressed that it’s damn hard to buy wine when you know nothing about him and it’s inconvenient especially if you’re shopping with kids to you be looking at your phone the entire time and trying to look up and say hey is this a decent model or note especially when you’re dealing with a low price point often they’ll take a few tries before you find something that has reviews that don’t make you run the other direction.

So Crane Lake is kind of the first kind of in my opinion probably true competitor to two buck chuck hey that’s Charles Shaw transitioned only being sold at Trader Joe’s or has only been sold at Trader Joe’s everybody else has been looking for that kind of compliment that a lot of grocery stores and larger retailers have gone to their own branded stuff often that’s in a $10 or so price point and so it’s kind of left Charles Shaw with this you know we want a 75 cent glass of wine just for the alcohol kind of thing to exist and no one else has been able to meet that price point currently comes the closest.

So this is kind of an important part of with your buying really really cheap wine so a you have to know what you’re getting at so this is quote unquote Appellation California so it really we’ve talked about this a lot lately so this is not the Central Coast this is not some place you’ve heard of this is a nondescript vineyard in the Inland Valley of California where they can get you know 8, 10, 12 tons per acre as much per acre grown as possible and you can see that so symmetry of it tends to be this kind of higher and alcohol wine this is 12 and 1/2 percent so the reason why that happens is because the vines are being asked as much as possible not the most densely concentrated fruit this is also why this wine actually kind of works though and this was drinkable because Sangiovese a is something that takes heat well and in the Central Valley you’re going to water a lot and you’re gonna have abundant heat and abundant sunshine.

What you have is this kind of over blue and at the end of the day do you have something that’s drinkable or not it’s really the only question that you should be asking for 4 dollars I mean we can go through tasting notes and stuff yeah there’s flavors of dry cherry and plum and that kind of stuff that’s traditional for the grape itself but really four bucks I mean we can’t ask too much especially when you know we’re talking you know 50 cents per bottle 10 cents or closure you know you know you kind of kind of go down the list and you realize that they’re likely making a dollar at most on this bottle of wine so let’s keep our expectations in line so is this drinkable yes it is does it taste like wine yes and they’ve actually done a pretty good job of keeping it along not a pretty good job a really good job keeping it so it’s dry so if you’re looking for a four dollar bottle Crane Lake Sanjiovese it actually isn’t that bad of a choice and so I will give this one a thumbs up upon effort and a thumbs up on choosing a grape that does well in hot climates too often in California we see these two points being Merlot or Cabernet that are cooler climate grapes than this and so if you’re choosing a cheaper cheaper cheaper bottle of wine choose one that makes sense in a hot climate because they’re not grown in a cold climate there’s no way to make a financial smoke so once again Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures and I hope everyone’s having a good day so far.

Posted on Leave a comment

Gruet Sparkling Wine

Gruet is one of America’s foremost sparkling wine producers, but there’s one thing about the brand that most consumers don’t realize, even if they really, really like the wine. Gruet is produced in the mountains of New Mexico, largely using fruit from vineyards at high altitudes in its home state.

Video Transcription:

How is everyone? Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, so I will hold up what is one of the remains of Easter and I hope everybody had a nice holiday be it Passover, Easter or just a nice weekend.

So this is commonly referred to as Groo-It it but this actually should be Grew-a at least that’s my understanding from the family that owns the winery. So Gruet is perhaps America’s best-known sparkling wine producer and I think one of the fascinating things about it is that it’s based in New Mexico and so you know we talked so much about how California, Oregon and Washington faced the nation’s best wines and a lot of people are good from New York too and I think that’s a perfectly good argument to make. But, really what are we talking about with all these regions we’re talking about places where you can find some cooler temperatures but still enough Sun to get the grapes ripen all the way and so you know you thinking New Mexico god that’s hot you know and there’s a lot of other spots where kind of similar Arizona is having a successful kind of revitalization or a kind of birth actually a public birth is probably better idea than revitalization of their wine industry.

Texas in the hill country it has the same thing I think they just gave away my point a little bit by saying Hill Country so how do you deal with temperature and that’s really one of the things kind of the burgeoning questions of our time for winemakers is that what do you do when you have rising temperatures or you have a growing region that’s just hotter than it is on the California coast and the answer is altitude.

Yes, altitude.

That’s what Gruet has done so if you look at there are three kind of most commonly used vineyard locations that are in and around Albuquerque New Mexico and they all sit over 3,000 feet above sea level and with the two most the two largest both sitting over 4,000 and that’s something that we’re seeing in Arizona, Texas Hill Country is not at that altitude they’re you know talking a few hundred to a thousand feet but it’s something and I think you’ll see that increasingly the Colorado wine industry is kind of focusing on that same thing you know there’s this really cool concept called the vineyard at the end of the world in Chile where they’re planning Pinot grapes at 10,000 feet above sea level and so you’re seeing more and more winemakers kind of think like hey like if we don’t have the standard kind of coastal like sea level growing regions with cool climates and fog during the summer then what can we do to approximate those growing conditions but just in a different way and planning the grapes at higher altitudes is really it seems to be the way to do that so grape wise.

Gruet has done that for you know generations in New Mexico you’re seeing people do it the former lead singer from Tool(Maynard James Keenan, his name escaped me during this entire conversation) it’s a very famous winemaker Cadaceus winery in Arizona and you’re gonna see more people doing this and more people trying and I think that you’ll see increasingly there’s gonna be spots in California and the eastern regions of California this stuff the word is really really hot but there is mountains and altitude and there’s this kind of unusual land in some ways but you can put a vineyard in as long as you can harvest it I think you’re gonna see that you’re seeing it at Arizona you’re gonna see it in Texas and obviously Gruet has been so successful in New Mexico that you’ve already seen some competitors come in the landscape but there’s gonna be others and I think one of the great things about doing a sparkler in this can I can’t call it Champagne it’s not made in Champagne France but doing a sparkler as opposed to a table or still wine is that the bubbles tend to overwhelm the flavors so it gives you a little bit more leeway you can kind of create a structure in the style that makes sense for you but at the end of the day it’s really like getting the bubbles in the bottle that are the defining factor of that wine.

so Gruet this is a method of method Champagnese just made in Champagne method there’s a few different ways to do it we think of cava and Prosecco

Prosecco as an example it’s made a each tank and then put in bottle champagne is allowed to secondary ferment in the bottle basically that bubbles are created within the bottle instead of within a tank that’s why there are more bubbles in champagne and our and other types of sparklers and this is just an American sparkling wine and what’s not the like and it’s been incredibly successful and most people don’t even realize that it’s mainly New Mexico

I think you can tell by the label that they’re not even sure that they can sell that it’s made in New Mexico yet because they’re still putting American sparkling wine as a reminder on the ABA system you can always go wider you can ever go closer so if it’s made in California you could put American you know if so think about Napa Valley right you can make in Napa Valley Cabernet and you could put an American Cabernet and everyone would say why are you charging 95 bucks fort his but if you put Napa Valley makes perfect sense but the great folks don’t feel comfortable enough putting New Mexico sparkling wine which i think is kind of telling and I hope that’s something that changes as time goes by.

So once again, Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures, hope everybody’s having a good week so far and I hope they have next weekend Easter Passover or just hopefully some decent weather we’ve definitely finally run this I’m here in the Bay Area which will be good as the grapes start to grow again

Posted on Leave a comment

What is My Bottle of Wine Worth?

Every so often, I receive an email with the same general story: I have this bottle of wine and want to know what it’s worth, or they want to sell it to me. Often it includes a follow up question, what is my bottle of wine worth?

There’s a few things to go through here, but really, there is a quick answer. A single bottle of wine is basically worth nothing. No retailer that I know of, is going to buy a single bottle of wine. I don’t buy single bottles of wine and nothing in my wine clubs come from the secondary wine market. Heck, I HATE buying from distributors, let alone private individuals.

Largely this is because selling wine that is of significant age, depends largely on how the wine has been cellared and cared for. Normally, we don’t have the ability to control for temperature and humidity, for a single bottle.

Most retailers that deal with trades like these, look for larger collections, where someone wants to unload a cellar where they have properly stored their wine, for years. Or, they’re looking for a winery that has the proper storage and ability to regulate how a wine is sold on the secondary market. If you’re attempting to sell a single bottle of Bordeaux that someone gave you as a gift a few decades ago, there isn’t much of a market for that. In fact, assuming you’re keeping it in the corner of your closet like most of the folks that reach out to me, it’s probably long since gone bad (sorry!).

In reality, selling your wine is a lot like selling your car. You can easily look up guidelines, but when the question comes up What is My Bottle of Wine Worth? It’s normally less than you think and making the deal, is a hell of a lot more difficult as well.

Posted on Leave a comment

BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review

So, I’ve been wanting to try one of these for a while and then to share it, because it helps to show where the industry is moving. Here’s my BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review.

I am going to hold this one up for all this up so you can get a look at it. Before we move on too far, here is my BV Coastal Estates Cabernet Sauvignon Review.

So not a wine club wine but instead of a review of the BV coastal estates Cabernet Sauvignon from California in 2017 so a few things to unpack here.

So why is this here? So I think one of the most interesting things to me in the wine industry is watching how the industry often will move one direction and then you get these huge players like BV which is undoubtedly one of the largest wineries in the world and watching how they adjust to that and so this coastal estates brand is one of the ways that BV is adjusting to the movement toward lower alcohol kind of lower density kind of lighter mouthfeel wines.

I think the fascinating thing is as we’ve seen you know we’re seeing this kind of the industry is moving towards a smaller number of grapes and Cabernet is obviously one of the huge winners but really one of the other huge winners is Pinot but Pinot runs into some special issues in that it’s hard to grow a lot of it on the yield for Pinot is much smaller than Cabernet and it needs to be in cooler climate vineyards which even depletes the yield further so you know how can a company like BV which you know is making this you know depending on who you ask between seven and eleven dollars per bottle you know how do you hit this kind of new consumer outlook where they want lighter lighter wines in mouthfeel but they like the way Cabernet tastes.

So how do you hit that and one of the ways that they’re trying to is that through more coastal vineyards.

So you know for one you know when you see California label that could mean anywhere from the state so these grapes could really easily come from the Central Valley and they could throw a coastal states thing on it and not really actually mean it but then when you open the bottle then you’d have to kind of be able to figure that out pretty quickly and so I think these are kind of vineyards you know as you drive down the 101 through the Central Coast you see these vineyards popping off on the side of the freeway and for a longtime winemakers have joked that those are the only profitable vineyard locations anymore and I think that’s where this probably comes from.

So what are you getting here you’re getting flavors of vanilla and oak which are very consistent for cabernet sauvignon. It tastes like a Cabernet with one major major change and that major change is a heck of a lot lighter and mouthfeel and I call it density most people will use mouthfeel. You’ll hear other wine critics use kind of more advanced terminology than that, but really you know the weight of the thing how heavy does it feel in your mouth and if you think about the difference between the average Cabernet and the average Pinot Noir know that the average Pinot is very light in your mouth whereas Cabernet is heavier Syrah is even heavier still but really so what is this so this is a Cabernet of taste and a Pinot and style as far as mouthfeel goes and so you know when you read if people like it or not you know people tend to say that they like it because it was an easy drinker blah blah blah you know there’s a kind of the other thing really what they’re getting at is the mouthfeel and that’s really where the industry is moving and so it’s fascinating to see BV kind of going in that direction too so if you’re looking for a standard Cabernet Sauvignon don’t buy this because that’s not it, but if you’re looking for a Cabernet maybe the lighter style this is a great choice for under $10.

So this is a BV coastal estates cover dated from 2017 I think we’re gonna see a lot more options like this for two reasons one industry is moving that way and two you know over the past ten years or so the industry has seen this coming and so you’ve seen all these vineyards starting to pop up on the Central Coast and so there will be grapes available they can hit these type of price points and this type of style which is kind of the big issue beforehand is that there weren’t grapes available at the right price point in style that kind of dude this kind of wine it takes five years from the time of vineyards planted to really come online where you can have usable grapes and sellable grapes really so you know if they planted them a decade ago you know at the time when sideways was really kind of kicking up then you know they’re just coming now for the most part so.

In any case Mark Aselstine from Uncorked Ventures, again not a wine club wine but actually I thought this was a great example to share about how the industry is changing and how large wineries are moving to meet the need where smaller wineries and startups really had you know only been able to meet the need at the $40 or so price point this is you know a hundred ten bucks it’s not the quality of a forty dollar wine but this is kind of the new style so in any case what everyone’shaving good

Posted on Leave a comment

How Many Servings in a Bottle of Wine?

Ok, so a bottle of wine is 750ml. That, I think is pretty common knowledge for wine drinkers. But, those 750ml are really something akin to 25.4 ounces. So, exactly how many servings in a bottle of wine are there?

Since we know how much wine is actually in a bottle, we have to come to some conclusion about the amount of wine in an actual glass. Unfortunately, when I took a look a while back and adjusted for the average alcohol content in many wines being made in the 21st century, I found that your glass should be less full than you expect. How many ounces are in a glass of wine? PS, it’s like 4 and not the 5 that everyone says.

So the result is that your bottle of wine has about 6 glasses, not 5. Yeah, yeah I know I know you thought that there were 4 servings in a bottle of wine, but really there are 6. Bummer, right?

To sum it all up, how many servings in a bottle of wine are there? Yeah, there’s about 6…..

Posted on Leave a comment

Calories in Cabernet Sauvignon

It’s something that we all have to worry about, especially as we get a bit older. Counting calories, attempting to stay healthy and not gaining too much weight. So, you might be wondering, how many calories are there in Cabernet Sauvignon?

There are approximately 120 calories in Cabernet Sauvignon. Of course, you’ve got to watch your alcohol intake because there might not be as many ounces of wine as you think in a glass.

If you want to keep track of the number of calories in Cabernet Sauvignon, there is one important part of the label. The alcohol content. Really, the amount of alcohol is what determines the number of calories in a specific wine. Other factors are much less important. We’re assuming a 14.5% alcohol percentage here for our 120 calories glass of Cabernet, but move that to 16% and there’s closer to 140 calories. Move it down to 12% and you’ve got something closer to 100 calories.

So how many calories are there in Cabernet Sauvignon? It kind of depends, but you should plan on there being about 120 or so, give or take. Plus, your pour is going to be more inexact, than the alcohol percentage.

Lastly, if you have a wine with some amount of residual sugar, like the Apothic Red or Carnivor that I reviewed a while ago, those new age wines are going to carry additional calories. As it turns out, the residual sugar carries more calories than does the alcohol. Plus, those new age wines tend to be extracted and higher in alcohol as well as, with residual sugar. Call those type of wines close to 200 calories per glass!

Posted on Leave a comment

J Roget Champagne Brut

I’ve talked previously, about the relative lack of sparkling wine startups in America. After all, making a sparkling wine is more time intensive and yes, intense than making a still wine. That’s why I was fascinated to see the J Roget Champagne Brut for sale at a local grocery store, for under $5.

To start with the basics, according to the bottle, this wine was produced in Canandaigua, New York. If that name doesn’t jump off the page at you, don’t be surprised. But, yes, Canandaigua is in the Finger Lakes. Here’s the map:

The Finger Lakes are an interesting place on a few levels, but this is kind of the thing that I’d expect to see more of in the future. First, they definitely have a big advantage that New York City offers an amazing home state market for their wines and the industry itself is moving toward a more acidic and cooler growing region future. Both of which fit what’s generally happening in the Finger Lakes. Plus, those cooler growing conditions help when making a sparkling wine.

You may be wondering why I have yet to call the J Roget Champagne Brut a Champagne. That’s largely because it isn’t on at least two levels. First, there are some rules and regulations about using the word Champagne on a bottle. There was a series of wine trade deals signed back about a decade ago, where American vintners agreed to stop using semi generic terms like Champagne and Chianti on wine labels. (Here’s the Wine Spectator description of those deals). A few California vintners were grandfathered in, but given that most of the other folks using the term got shut down-I wondering if J Roget is an older label, which was also grandfathered in, but because it isn’t California based, it gets left out of the news articles about the changes that took place in regard to labeling.

My real issue though, is that there’s something more egregious going on here. On the front of the bottle, there’s a small insignia that says “Secondary Fermentation Before Bottling”. That’s where using the word Champagne is simply wrong and IMO, misleading. One aspect that makes Champagne more expensive is that secondary fermentation happens in the bottle. It requires weekly shifting the bottles, an ongoing Champagne base and quite a bit of planning. The other version is how Prosecco is made, basically the wine is allowed to go through secondary fermentation in a large tank instead of an individual bottle.

So a more accurate name for this J Roget Champagne Brut, would probably be J Roget Processco Brut. Of course the Italians would cry foul based on the nomenclature there as well.

There was also one other interesting aspect to this wine that you don’t see all the time in a sparkler. It had a screw cap.

Honestly, for me the screw cap leaves a bit to be desired. I know it’s cheaper and all, but there’s something about popping the cork that I missed.

J Roget Champagne Brut Review:

So overall, how was the J Roget Champagne Brut? I thought it was ok, drinkable, which at about $5 is actually saying a lot. It’s quite fizzy when you pour it into the glass, but because this is doing secondary fermentation in a tank instead of bottle, the pressure per square inch is about half of what you’d expect based on the label. So it’s not as bubbily as you might expect. There are abundant flavors of apple and pear, there’s a bit of something in the aftertaste which I think makes this perfect with Mamossas, perfect for a party, but less than perfect if you’re a Champagne snob. We aren’t and we enjoyed this, especially given the price point, the J Roget Champagne Brut seems to deliver outstanding value. After all, for $5, it’s an enjoyable sparkler.

Ok, lastly, there’s not any information about who actually owns and makes this wine on the label. Given some of the naming sheninigans, I don’t think that’s utterly surprising. But, I wanted to look at bit deeper. Given the price point, it was clear this wasn’t going to be a small business.

It turns out that the J Roget label is owned by a truly massive conglomerate. Canandaigua Brands owns almost 200 alcohol brands and sells and distributes them worldwide. They’ve owned any number of household names in the wine and beer space,including Inglenook. More specifically for this article, J Roget became a brand in 1979. So it’s as old as I am. That also means that the brand is old enough and common enough, to use the Champagne term on its label as it was likely grandfathered in. Not making the sparkler though again in Champagne style, is what makes the French quite angry.

In any case, any naming issues aside, the J Roget Champagne Brut offered a nice value and shows how the Finger Lakes might move forward and gain more sales and attention across the country.