- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Roederer Estate, Brut Non-Vintage, Anderson Valley, $22

If you need to pick up a bottle of bubbly for tonight’s festivities, consider Roederer Estate Brut. It marries American exuberance with European sophistication and consistently ranks as one of California’s finest.

Many of the best sparkling wines produced outside the Champagne region of northern France are in fact made by champagne producers. The esteemed house of Louis Roederer released the first wine from its American operation in 1988, and Roederer Estate Brut has been winning plaudits ever since.

Much of this wine’s appeal can be traced to location, as the vineyards sit in the quite, cool Anderson Valley, where the grapes maintain high levels of acidity. That’s crucial for bubbly and difficult to attain in warmer regions such as Napa. Acidity enables a sparkler to taste and feel refreshing and prevents it from ever seeming soft or flabby.

Brut bubblies are dry, so best for pairing with savory rather than sweet foods. They prove very food-friendly, so they provide pleasure even when not being used to toast the new year’s arrival. Because many stores have Roederer Estate and other champagne-styled wines on sale today, you might want to buy more than one bottle.

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