Wine Savvy on December 23, 2013 0 Comments The holidays are definitely here. At this point, I would hope you have all of your gifts wrapped and under the tree. As we approach Christmas Day and soon New Year’s Eve, then New Year’s Day, you have had a glass or few of many wines at many dinner and cocktail parties. Hopefully you are not over it just yet, as we have only gotten into the swing of things. As we are approaching the New Year, I only thought it fitting to do a review of a bubbly. Since you’ve already chosen your Christmas wine, it’s time to find the perfect bubbly to ring in the new year. Many of us are out searching and scourging our local liquor stores and wine merchants in search of the perfect beverage to toast at the arrival of the New Year. Have you found any yet? Do not wait until the last moment, because typically by then the good stuff has all been picked through. Even if you are planning just a small gathering, do not resort such a moment to just any gas-infused sparkler. Check out this one for starters. From Ernesto Catena, Animal Espumante. Ernesto Catena is no stranger to the world of wine. Of his family, today he is among the fourth generation of wine makers, being the oldest son of one of Argentina’s most famous winemaker’s Nicolas Catena from the renowned winery, Catena Zapata. Before settling down to do his family’s work of winemaking, he set off out into the world living in various places, earning a Bachelor’s in Computer Science, to Milan for a Master’s in Design and even a history degree in London. This bohemian lifestyle is reflected in his wines. In 2002, Ernesto created the Ernesto Catena Vineyards, located in the Uco Valley in Mendoza. Today the property has grown to about 180 acres (certified organic), cultivating the varietals of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The full concept of a full winery is on the drawing boards. Luckily, he can do all his beautiful work in the meantime at the family estate of Catena Zapata. Let’s talk bubbly! The Animal Espumante is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, sourced from one of the family vineyards called, Agrelo located in the Uco Valley of Mendoza. The grapes are harvested by hand and the wine is made via the traditional method with a ten month aging period in the bottle on the lees. Only the finest of bubbles is made in the traditional manner and the result can be seen, quite literally in the bubbles. More Wine Reviews: REVIEW: 2009 Petite Sirah from David Fulton Winery REVIEW: Cakebread Cellars Red Hills 2010 Zinfandel REVIEW: 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc from Flora Springs Winery REVIEW: 2009 Bramare Cabernet Sauvignon from Viña Cobos Pour this wine in your favorite flute glass oh so slowly and watch. The bubbles are fine and create a beautiful, steady stream, which might have you hypnotized. The crown the bubbles form is delicate and persistent. Once you bring the glass up to your nose for a sip—obviously, after you’ve toasted—the aromas of baked bread that has just been retired from the oven mixes beautifully with citrus perfumes and spring flowers. The first sip is almost seductive and will bring an immediate smile to one’s face with a velvet touch of the bubbles followed by notes of fresh pears, citrus and more aromas of that soul-warming, bread-fresh-from-the-oven. If you like the idea of and have tried the Animal Chardonnay-Pinot Noir, then you have to have a gander at the Animal 100% Syrah Rose. The grapes are also harvested from the Agrelo Vineyards, including another location in Tupungato, also hand-harvested and made via the traditional method. If this Espumante does not make your list or to your glass for a New Year’s toast, then it should make it to the table for brunch on New Year’s Day! The color is of beautiful salmon with hints of watermelon juice and bubbles that just won’t quit. The nose is nothing short of seductive with notes of mature raspberries, candied orange peels, strawberries. It will be love at first sip as the bubbles caress your tongue and the fresh red fruits dance on your palate with lingering perfumes of rose and a touch of nuttiness. Happy holidays, everyone and cheers to a sparkling New Year!