Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

from Leslie Gevirtz:

Sparkling wine — pouring style without draining your wallet

Earlier this week, I wrote about alternatives to non-vintage and cuvee Champagnes that can lend a festive atmosphere to any occasion. Below is a list of the wines that I mentioned, some alternatives and their suggested U.S. retail prices. Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut  $12 Santa Margherita Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Brut  $17 Freixenet Cordon Rosado $10 Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut $24 Gruet $14 Dom Perignon $125-$150
Bollinger RD 1997 $130-$150 Krug Brut Grande Cuvee 1998 $180-$200 Giulio Ferrari 1997 $100

There are many other sparklers that didn't make it into the story such as:  Lucien Albrecht ($19), Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco ($19) and The Chook, a sparkling Shiraz from Australia ($17).

Why the price disparity? In part it has to do with marketing - Champagne makers have been at it for more than 200 years. In part, it has to do with labor and the cost of land.  An acre (or hectare) costs much less in New Mexico than it does in Champagne.

The different flavors: they come from different grapes. While Gruet uses the same grapes -- Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and  Pinot Meunier found in Champagne, the taste will reflect the terroir of New Mexico -- dry and like minerals.  Prosecco is the grape and the region just outside Venice where it is grown.