The two most unappreciated wines in the wine world are rose and sparkling wine. Don’t believe me? Check the sales data: Nielsen doesn’t even track rose, which is apparently lumped in with blush wines, a category that includes white zinfandel. As near as I can tell, maybe 2 out of every 100 bottles sold in the U.S. between March 2010 and March 2011 were rose. And sparkling? The Wine Institute reports that about 135,000 cases of bubbly were sold in the U.S. in 2008. Which is less than the wine sold by the two or three biggest wineries in Texas in a normal year.
Hence this Mother’s Day wine review, which is both rose and sparkling — and cava to boot, which makes it a terrific value. The Casteller ($12, purchased, available at Central Market) has a bit of what Champagne geeks call yeastiness (it’s a good thing), a burst of strawberry fruit at the front, and a surprisingly long mineral finish, something rarely seen in a a wine that costs this little. And the bubbles? Long, lingering and lovely, which is also a surprise in a wine at this price. I love Cristalino, and this wine makes Cristalino seem quite ordinary.
Toast Mom with this wine on Sunday. She’ll appreciate it. It’s also a fine food wine; pair it with any sort of brunch dish, main course salads or grilled chicken. And, if you need a little variety, Casteller makes a regular cava, also about $12, also worth checking out.