We had gathered at my family ranch to celebrate the coming of 2017. I count myself among those who are just about ready for 2016 to end. The party was comprised of myself, my wife Sonja, our son Titus, my lifelong friend Tylr, his wife Sabrina, and their two sons. As the toddlers toddled about and the adults set about preparing cheese plates with charcuterie and reminiscing, the time passed quickly. We started with a beer, but before we knew it midnight was fast approaching. By around 11pm, we thought it was time to break out the bubbly.
I always feel like a pretentious ass when I correct somebody about Champagne, so I tend not to do it. However, in referencing our selection, I referred to these wines several times as “sparkling wine” last night, until it became evident that terminology was confusing the issue significantly given that we also had several non-alcoholic sparkling wines chilling, to be enjoyed by all but in particular by my pregnant wife. Sonja explained briefly that these wines are not Champagne, are not from Champagne, but the difference was semantic to our friends in much the same way that their professions in the healthcare field and in land and water management would go way over my head if they tried to explain them to me. They didn’t, so I did them the service of not fleshing out the difference between our Champagne, our chilling Prosecco, and the good ol’ American bubbles all waiting in the fridge. Sometimes, you’ve just got to enjoy imbibing without giving it too much thought.
From Washington State, the 14 Hands sparkling wines frankly blew my mind. The bubbles were active to the point of being aggressive, and they were both fully dry, or brut, with the rose’ offering just a subtle hint of strawberry perhaps, but otherwise being a close facsimile of her companion with very subtle notes of citrus, stone fruit, and little more. Paired with excellent company, board games, and the coming of a new year, I found these simple sparkling wines stood out, and they were gone before I knew it. The QPR is out of this world, with both being priced in the $12 range, and both wines get full marks for quality as well as value. I highly recommend them; they helped us bring in 2017 last night, spending time with dear old friends as we watched our children run about and play. I’m optimistic that this coming year will hold great things, and I hope the same is true for you. (Sample)