Episode #41 Oscar and Champagne


Welcome to the Lifestyle of the not so rich and way not so famous. Tonight we celebrate the 2009 Academy Awards and the celebration of cinema. As the thespians drink their $3500 per bottle Krug Clos Ambonnay Brut Champagne, DrinkNectar sips through three bottles that are in a more modest price range.

Best Picture the year I was born: The Godfather

Tonight’s nominees are from Spain, Austria, and California. My typical Sparkling wine consumption is reserved for special occasions, and New Years. I love it, but I’m usually consuming big bold Cabernet’s or Zinfandels. One of tonight’s nominees was submitted by Kevin from @atlantawineguy as a part of my Under $10 Wine Challenge. Kevin recommended the Spanish Sigura Viudas Estate Cava.

Best Picture Winners I Haven’t Seen (40 years)

2009 – The Hurt Locker

2007 – No Country for Old Men

1998 – Shakespeare In Love

1987 – The Last Emperor

1978 – The Deer Hunter

1977 – Annie Hall

1971 – The French Connection

As I reviewed these three Sparkling wines, it became apparent that each wine was a star in its own right. The Spanish Cava wins for ‘best value,’ Austria’s Gruner Veltliner wins ‘best foreign wine,’ and California Roederer Estate Brute takes ‘best bubbles.’

My Favorite Move (Which happens to be a best picture winner 1994) Forrest Gump

The NectarView

NV Segura Viudas ARIA Estate Brut – Spain

  • The Stuff: 60% Macabeo, 20% Parellada, 20% Xarelo-lo; 3 years on yeast
  • The Swirl: golden yellow (Chardonnay color), moderate bubbles
  • The Sniff: Tight nose with apple toast and yeast being predominant.
  • The Sip: Strong carbonation with hints of apple and smoky bread
  • The Score: At $8, this is not a bad tasting bubbly, but lacks a lot of flavor and has too much carbonation and yeast. I score it a 3 (out of 5). So far this bubbly makes the Under $10 Team (mostly for lack of tryouts)

Other reviews: Cellar Tracker 86 points (12 reviews)

NV Roederer Estate – California

  • The Stuff: 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir; 2 years on yeast; 80,000 cases
  • The Swirl: Color is more pale yellow, great bubbles
  • The Sniff: Bright pear with hints of honey and nuttiness
  • The Sip: Very nice flavor profile with good apple, honey and cinnamon
  • The Score: At $23, I score this a 4 (out of 5)

Other reviews: 91 pts Wine Spectator, 92 pts Wine Advocate, Cellar Tracker 89 points (214 reviews)

NV Szigeti Gruner Veltliner – Austria

  • The Stuff: 100% Gruner Veltiner
  • The Swirl: Golden yellow tone
  • The Sniff: Bright acidity with citrus and tropical fruit tucked into the yeasty toast
  • The Sip: Good sweetness with some tartness on the back end. A refreshing bubbly with some good citrus flavor
  • The Score: Overall, I was pretty impressed with the quality of this $18 sparkler. I score it a 3+ (out of 5) for flavor and value.

Sparkling Wine Mixers

For the sake of time, some of the video was edited. The observant viewers will notice that my final drink goes from pale yellow to pink. What was responsible for this transformation? I edited out the segment that talks of how to use Sparkling Wine as a mixer. The yeastiness of some inexpensive sparkling wine can leave you a little dry in the mouth. On video I talked through a few solutions using cranberry juice, cassis liqueur, or vodka. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised at how you can transform an average bottle of bubbly.

In celebration of the 2009 Academy Awards, what is your favorite movie? Which Oscar winning film (from all time) is your favorite?


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

7 comments on “Episode #41 Oscar and Champagne

  1. Kevin Glowacki

    Roederer is my favorite domestic producer and we can sometimes land it for around $18 here in GA.

    Aria is a good value, as is another wine from Segura Viudas, the Segura Viudas Brut Reserva. You should find a similar profile, with just a touch less yeastiness.

    I have a bottle of the Szigeti GV in wait and after reading your notes, I’m looking forward to trying it (and other) sparkling GVs.

    Nice job and good to see you drinking bubbles! Thanks for the nice shout out as well, even if my wine finished in “last” place. 😉

    1. drinknectar

      Ben – thanks! I’m with you, I don’t give bubbles their share of air time (or mouth time). People say they are great pairings with spicy food and sushi. I was floored by the cheese pairing – it rocked!

      Kevin – keep in mind, your “last place” recommendation was 1/3 the cost of the other two. :)

  2. Ben Simons

    Dude, first off, you have to watch No Country For Old Men. :) Second, enjoyed the sparkler episode. This is an area of my wine education that has been sadly neglected. I have been vowing to change that, and have slowly been trying some different things. Intend to keep trying more, so it’s great to get some feedback on stuff that people have tried.

  3. Constance C

    Hi Josh–

    Good to see you enjoyed that Szigeti — though I must admit I was quite surprised to see the strawberries and whipped cream pairing! I think it would have been better with the cheese — or the spicy Asian cuisine! You’ll just have to drink more of it to try it out 😉

    Also… glad to hear you’ve been sipping on those Gruners with dinner lately!

    I haven’t tried either of the other sparklings you reviewed, but I think I’ll have to check them out – I’ve been on a bubbles kick lately!

    Side note on drinking bubbly at the movies — we tried sparkling wine in a can, the Francis Ford Coppola Sophia in single serve portions and even a straw! We deemed it perfect for such an occasion! (though the bubbles in the straw was a little weird!

    1. drinknectar

      Constance, I agree with the cheese and Szigeti. My experiment was far from scientific. I’ll try it with some of the cheese tonight. Overall it was a very good bottle for $18. Had a distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from traditional Chard/Pinot bubbly.

  4. Mary Cressler

    Josh!!! “My typical Sparkling wine consumption is reserved for special occasions, and New Years.”? Bad, bad, my friend! You definitely need more bubbles in your life. Well I say that with bias of course, since it is my absolute favorite thing to drink in the world. I believe that every day you’re alive is a good day to drink bubbles, and I definitely practice that motto! There is always bubbles in my fridge, ready to go any time of any day. I must say I am a fan of the Segura Viudas for the super cheap price point, especially for Mimosas.

    One more thing… Get off your computer and get to the video store to rent No Country for Old Men AND off to the theater you must go to see The Hurt Locker. Both amazing movies and even though both are seriously dramatic they will still pair well with a glass of bubbles 😉

    1. drinknectar

      Mary – I tuck my tail in shame. I will try harder. Thanks for your kind rebuke. The funny thing is I thought of you when I was recording this post. I now have two recommendations for the No Country For Old Men film, and from people I like and trust! Video Store, what’s that? They still have those things?



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