After a long canoe trip down the Russian River Valley, Mike and I headed towards Occidental, where we were spending the night. On our way we passed Korbel, and decided to stop for some refreshing sparkling wine.
Korbel seems to be a favorite destination for many, as the large complex was pretty busy that Saturday afternoon. There were people waiting for tours, people eating at their deli, and of course, lots of people drinking wine. A tasting is complimentary, though you get to chose 4 or 5 of the sparkling wines in their menu. The pours are pretty generous. This time, Mike tasted too.
I’m not a champagne snob (nor a wine snob, for that matter), so I will admit that Korbel champagne is perfectly fine for me. Indeed, as its offerings are sweeter than some of the more expensive champagnes, I probably like them more.
The Korbel Chardonnay ($10) had a sweet start and a bitter ending, and I wasn’t crazy about it. The Brut Rose ($10), meanwhile, had a nice floral bouquet and wasn’t too sweet while the Blanc de Noirs ($10) had nice bubbles, was fruity and sweet. But the wine I really liked was the Sweet Rose ($15), a floral, sweet and feminine champagne with a beautiful rose color. I got a couple of small bottles of it, and really enjoyed it.
Korbel also produces some somewhat more expensive wines. Mike really liked the Masters’ Reserve Blanc de Noirs ($22), it was light, flavorful with subtle bubbles. The Muscato Frizzante ($22), tastes like a bubbly muscat that has had some sugar taken from it. And the Korbel Port ($30) was very flavorful, with hints of dark berries. Mike liked it.
Tasting at Korbel was just fun, which is why I imagine so many people go there, and it had none of the pretentiousness of tasting at other champagne houses, such as Domaine Carneros. In all, I found that their sparkling wines were perfectly acceptable and would buy them.
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