Well, it is time to start thinking about the final bubbly; Ben's first birthday is less than a month away. We've had lots of different types, styles and origins of sparkling wine for each of the past 48 weeks. It is pretty amazing that we've been doing this little experiment considering most people only drink sparkling wine on New Year's Eve and a few other special occasions. If wine consumers really sit down and think about what is special in their lives, I'm sure that they will find many more reasons to drink bubblies. Not a week goes by that I am not reminded how special my little Ben is. He is growing up so fast and I love him more each day. It will be fun to one day in the distant future reread this entire series and reminisce about what he was doing each week for the first year of his life, but also to remember the wines we drank to celebrate. Ben will only have one first birthday and he of course will not remember it, but I want to pick a truly special wine to mark this momentous occasion. I was lucky enough to taste Krug a few months ago, so that might be the winner if I can find a bottle. I'll listen to suggestions, too.
Iron Horse Vineyards, Blanc de Blancs, Green Valley AVA
I stand by the statement that you should drink what you like. This 15-year old California sparkler is a good example. It was highly rated and not cheap ($33). My wife could only bear a few sips, whereas I thought it was fantastic. The dark gold color and distinct aromas of autolysis indicated that this was indeed a well-aged wine that saw a fair amount of lees contact. In fact, this bottle was disgorged after seven years (unheard of in all but the highest end Champagne and late-disgorged domestic sparklers). My wife thought there were funky aromas and a bit of kerosene. I thought it had much more complexity and personality than most of the sparklers we've had over the past year. Apples, pears, cinnamon, sourdough toast, lemon zest and sauteed mushrooms were just a few of the aromas and flavors that I enjoyed. Iron Horse Vineyards is one of the U.S. top sparkling wine houses and often are served at State Dinners at The White House (as it was this week, unofficially). I make no guarantees that you'll like it, but I definitely recommend picking up any Iron Horse wines you find. 13.5% abv. Purchased $33 Very Good