What a night it was! So many sparkling wines from around the world. Thirteen different wines from 10 separate regions – a virtual tasting on Zoom but we all learned to “love the wine you’re with”.

Our evening started with a brief introduction of sparkling wines around the world by Sid Cross, after which organizer Dr. Larry Burr introduced each participant who said a few words about their selected wine. Jim and Karen Esplen started with their Nino Franco Valdobbianne Prosecco Superiore DOCG, a wine they had initially come to enjoy in an Aperol Spritz but later appreciated it “neat”. Next followed Lois Gilbert, joining us from Toronto with her “find” – an inexpensive but well-regarded Hungaria Grand Cuvée Brut, an Ontario find but available from a few local Everything Wine stores, showing melon and apple notes with good acidity and a nutty finish.

Ray and Sharon Markham presented a Casina Bric Nebbiolo d'Alba Brut Rosé from Gianluca Viberti, available from Marquis Wine Cellars in Vancouver and Alvin Nirenberg and Kim Mead showed a Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Ecusson Brut Rosé, a sparkling wine from Luxembourg, a country more recognized for beer rather than wine. Nevertheless, with 100% pinot noir, the wine was rich with fresh red fruit and very tasty and good value from Everything Wine.

We moved to the Champagne region of France for Dorothy Jansen’s Piper Heidseick, currently on sale in BC liquor stores, showing enjoyably fresh and tasty and demanding some smoked salmon, while Heb and Shirley Hebenton opened and enjoyed a bottle of Pol Roger Reserve Brut and Dick and Val Bradshaw rummaged around their cellar and dared to pull the cork on an ancient bottle of Krug Grand Cuvée with a $38 price sticker still adhering to the bottle, current price over $300! It showed a dark golden colour, still with some bubbles and very soft in the mouth.

Moving away from Champagne, Jim and Milena Robertson presented a superb bottle of English bubbly – 2014 Gusbourne Brut Reserve from the county of Kent, showing a fine mousse, ripe apples, good acidity but a smooth, creamy finish. Yet further away, Ruth Grierson opened an interesting bottle, thankfully not a 1970 Baby Duck she had found in the dark recesses of her cellar, but a fresh Japanese sake, Sakagura No Awayuki Sparkling Sake from Yoshi No Gawa, a lighter, quaffable beverage with only 7.5% alcohol and available in local liquor stores.

Larry and Maggie Burr surprised us all, themselves included, with what was believed to be a sparkling red wine from Australia, until the bottle was opened to reveal a blush blanc de noirs from Bird in Hand Estate, Nest Egg “Joy”. Finally, we returned to home turf and the Okanagan Valley for Nick and Lesley Wright’s Maverick Estate “Ella” Rosé showing salmon pink with a fine mousse, 80% pinot noir and very French in styling. Vince and Zelie Tan presented a 2009 Blue Mountain Reserve Brut RD, disgorged in 2016, a wine with 50% pinot noir and 50% chardonnay. Sid and Joan Cross closed our evening with an iconic 2001 Sumac Ridge “Pinnacle” Méthode Classique made from 100% pinot noir and an early standard bearer for one of our pioneers of fine wines in the province, the now departed Harry McWatters.

Thus ended a highly enjoyable and informative get together with many of our members. Special thanks go to Larry Burr for organizing and hosting our Zoom meeting, to Sid Cross for his informative comments and to Milena Robertson for ensuring a proper record of the evening.

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