Mark Oldman: Wine Characteristics

Award-winning author and wine connoisseur Mark Oldman describes the flavor notes and qualities of good sparkling wine substitutes for champagne.

Award-winning author and wine connoisseur Mark Oldman describes the flavor notes and qualities of good sparkling wine substitutes for champagne.

Read the transcript of this video
[MUSIC] I love champagne and champagne is the world's template for bubbly. But sometimes you just want something that gets close to that champagne experience but is cheap enough that really you could stock it like soda. What I call it is BSD, bubbly stunt doubles. A little rough around the edges, then champagne from France. But they get the job done. Before actually going over these I want us to be very practical and pass around, get a hit of it and see today if you smell any of that honeydew quality in your Bubbly. Here we have pear. Not much of an olfactory hit with pear. Lot of bubblies have a lemon or a citrusy or a grapefruit taste. So check that out. Peach. Maybe some of the later bubblies are gonna have a peachy or a tropical quality to it. All you need to know is through the fermentation process, certain grapes grown in certain areas take on certain smells. And that's why maybe a Prosecco will have a certain citrusy smell or an older champagne might smell like hazelnut. But anyway, those are some of your telltale smells, wine essences. When they talk about the things that actually are in wine, it's very subtle. It won't jump out at you. And you really have to kind of work at it sometimes. What are the things people look for when they actually deconstruct bubbly? Two things to look for. Number one is, it's the bubble. Little pinpoint bubbles are prized. If your bubbles are big and ungainly, Canada Dry, Coca-Cola style, that's not as prized. And then also you're distinguishing your bubbly by its weight, its heaviness. And that is often determined by what grapes are inside. Chardonnay, which is white, Pinot Noir, which is red and then the kind of obscure grape Pinot Meunier, which is red. And all regular champagne from France has some combination of those three. When it says blanc de blanc on the label it means all white wine grape. And if it's all white wine grapes, it might be kind of a lighter, zestier style. If it says blanc to noir, it means it's all from red grapes. It could be from that Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, or it could be actually from another red grape, if you're talking about a region outside of the Champagne region. Why are so many of my [UNKNOWN] envy non-vintage? Vintage champagne and a lot of vintage [UNKNOWN] are a lot more rare and when it comes to champagne, all the houses [UNKNOWN], they all make their house styles. And one of the reasons why They can consistently make the same kind of champagne year after year. Same richness and so forth is because it's NV, it's not vintage. They're not just relying on one year, one set of weather conditions. They're pulling it from different years and also different vineyard sites. So they're spreading the agricultural risks. And it allows them to make one consistent style of bubbly. When you see a vintage year, that wine is more likely to be a little bit more idiosyncratic. One's not better than the other, but that's more a reflection of that year's weather conditions. But if you Order a vintage bubbly, it's more likely you'll smell and taste slightly different things in there. Non-vintage adheres more to the style of that house and you just happen to know which houses have different styles. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]
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Mark Oldman: Wine Characteristics


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