My fiancee and I recently came to an important milestone in our relationship: together we let our membership to our bulk-buy, warehouse-style superstore expire. After enduring a year of two-hour-plus shopping excursions and the zombielike, sleepwalking mental state such trips put me in, we’re done with the place.
It’s a good thing. I realize now that I have a strong tendency to impulse purchase, which is a dangerous habit at a bulk-goods store. I now have a 64 oz jar of giardiniera congealing in my fridge, and have ingested an unhealthy quantity of those square cheese flavored crackers. The buyer’s remorse is strong when any item in the place can run over ten bucks. At our local tiny produce market, the dumbest things I can possibly impulse purchase are individually sealed pickles and those enormous green citrus fruits that turn out to be mostly rind.
We don’t really have the space to warehouse consumer goods in mass quantity anyway. And we’re not really saving money by buying even more stuff. And the lines in that place aren’t worth it. At all. So we made one final trip, bought one last four pound bag of frozen ravioli … and some coffee … and some chips … and a big block of cheese … and then we walked away from the place forever.
So the debate: how do we celebrate our newly rediscovered frugality? Champagne is for celebration except for, um, the frugality part. So digging through my recent tasting notes, I came up with a short list of sparkling wines from around the world, new to Binny’s shelves, that might be perfect for the occasion.
Special Sparkling, or Bubbly on a Budget
I’m not usually crazy about Cava (other than using it as an inexpensive substitute for Champagne in cocktails), so I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the Paul Cheneau Lady of Spain Brut. It’s a reasonably priced Cava, which means it’s still a great value given the world of sparkling wine. The nose shows a hint of cream and a lot of fresh fruit cocktail. It has good texture, and despite showing plenty of fresh pear fruit, it’s nice and dry and snappy on the palate. This would be great in cocktails, but is complex enough to stand on its own. Cute bottle, too.
For something a little more unusual, try the Pacific Rim White Flowers. Aromatically light and pretty, this sparkling riesling has plenty of orchard fruit, with good acidity all the way through to the finish keeping it fresh, with just a tiny hint of sugar. It begs for something salty, like popcorn, which is good, because I still have most of a 48-pack of microwavable popcorn to chow through.
But I think the bubbly of choice for this occasion is the Laetitia Brut Cuvee. When I first tasted it, I didn’t know the asking price, and guessed double the actual retail of $19.99. This wine is complex! The nose shows traditional notes of butter and cream and bread above more restrained, lighter fruit. It is broad on the palate, with some acidity, but the joy in the wine is in its breadth something like pastries, or marzipan or nutmeg, with candied pineapple, yeasty and spicy. Comparable to some Champagne.
One thing I love about sparkling wines is their versatility; most will pair well with pretty much anything. This is especially great when you find yourself, like me, with several years’ worth of dehydrated hash browns, five pounds of fancy mixed nuts and a tub of inedible frozen meatless meatballs. Yes, I bought that. Glad I’m getting out. Let’s celebrate.