Sommeliers' Picks - Sparkling Wine for Any Occasion
Introduction by Alexandra Gill
Sparkling wine goes hand-in-flute with celebration. Whatever the type — Champagne, cava, crémant or prosecco — there is an alluring, festive quality about the pop of the cork, the stream of tiny bubbles floating up the glass and the nose-tickling mousse.
But why save such effervescent delights for special occasions? In Whistler, we believe that every day is a holiday deserving of fun and fizz. To help you choose from the extensive selection of sparkling wines available in local restaurants and wine stores, we asked three esteemed Whistler sommeliers to tell us more about the favourite bubbles they planned to serve and sip this season.
Nino Franco - Grave di Stecca
“When it comes to bubbles, there are an abundance of variety and styles available worldwide. Prosecco is Italy’s sparkling wine — not to be confused with Champagne, which is produced only in France. Sweet or dry, entry level to classified (DOC) and guaranteed (DOCG), there is a Prosecco to fit every palate and budget. The wine is produced within nine provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions of Italy, many varieties of which are available in B.C.
“Based on the grape variety Glera (formally known as Prosecco) with a minimum of 75 per cent, the Nino Franco Grave Di Stecca is 100 per cent Glera. The best wines are produced using the classic method, allowing secondary fermentation in the bottle.
“Prosecco is as delicious and easy to drink on its own as it is to pair with a variety of foods. It is an absolute must with a plate of antipasti, salads and pasta in creamy sauces. And it is also enjoyed as an aperitif, a spritz or of course in a Bellini. Prego!”
General Manager and Sommelier
Quattro at Whistler, 604-905-4844, quattrorestaurants.com
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial
“What better way to celebrate than with bubbles? At Bearfoot Bistro we love Champagne, boasting a huge selection from all the large producers as well as unknown treasures from smaller grower-producers, the récoltant manipulant.
“Above them all, our most popular remains Moët & Chandon. This mega-house was founded in 1723 by Claude Moët, but it was his grandson Jean-Rémy Moët who was responsible for elevating Champagne to the most famous of all sparkling wines. The success of Moët & Chandon has allowed them to purchase some of the world’s most acclaimed vineyards, including 17 Grand Cru, and 32 of the 44 Premiere Cru: sites that consistently produce the best grapes for Champagne.
“No matter what you are celebrating, be sure to stop by the Bearfoot Bistro’s underground wine cellar, where you will learn the connection between Napoleon Bonaparte and Jean-Rémy Moët, while we teach you the art of Champagne sabering.”
Bearfoot Bistro, 604-932-3433, bearfootbistro.com
Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve
“It’s ALWAYS time for Champagne! Many of the guests at Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar love to start their evening with a bottle of Champagne.
“Celebrating their 200th anniversary this year, family-owned and operated Billecart-Salmon sources grapes from 300 hectares of Premiere and Grand Cru vineyards from the Côte des Blancs to Montagne de Reims. Using only the first press of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, this champagne house focuses their style on the three F’s (Fresh, Fruit and Finesse). Three reserve vintages are blended together with 30 months on lees and four years of age to make this lively, yet delicate Champagne. With eight grams dosage, the wine is dry, yet the fruit is vibrant and approachable with well-balanced acidity.
“Perfect by itself or with a wide variety of dishes at Araxi — from caviar, fresh oysters, prawns, light to medium flavoured fish, pork, rabbit; and surprisingly late-night Chinese take-out (Trust me on this one).”
Manager + Wine Director
Araxi Restaurant, 604-932-4540, araxi.com