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Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature NV

Champagne, France, $60

This glorious 200-year-old, family-run Champagne house is known for its elegant style. Billecart-Salmon’s innovations have met with great success, most notably with the introduction of their rosé Champagne in the 1970s, which deservedly has garnered a cult following. The house continues to innovate and elevate with this latest addition to their lineup, introduced in fall 2020.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Nature is a Champagne to which no sugar has been added. Composed of a traditional blend of Champagne grapes, the nose is delicate, with hints of citrus and just-baked cream buns. Notes of yellow apple and lime awaken the palate, joined by a delightful dose of marzipan. This wine is precise, displaying acidity that is crisp without being sharp. The mouthfeel is pleasantly round, due to the generous use of reserve wines.

Billecart-Salmon has perfected this driest of Champagnes, worthy of its own cult.

Pair it with: raw oysters, ceviche or bacon-wrapped scallops. Or nothing at all.


Juvé & Camps Brut Rosé Pinot Noir NV

Cava D.O., Spain, $23

Although Juvé & Camps’ winemaking history dates back hundreds of years, their first bottle of sparkling wine was produced in 1921, marking the beginning of the family’s commitment to creating the finest premium cava. The winery’s impressive lineup of organic cava includes traditional native varieties, as well as chardonnay and pinot noir.

Brut Rosé is a monovarietal cava created from pinot noir grown on the Espiells estate on the slopes of Montserrat. Its color is a stunning orange-red akin to strawberry or geranium. This cava, crafted in the same manner as Champagne, has a nose brimming with red berries and a hint of hibiscus. Ripe raspberries and cranberries command the palate, which has a delicately creamy mouthfeel and crisp finish. Abundant berries make your brain think sweet, but this is on the dry side.

A must-have for fans of pink bubbles, with endless pairing possibilities.

Pair it with: soft cheese, creamy mushroom risotto, or stuffed and fried squash blossoms.


Jones Winery Strawberry Serenade

Shelton, $23

Fifth-generation farmer Terry Jones added strawberries to the 400-acre Jones Family Farm in Shelton during the 1960s. But it was sixth-generation Jamie, founder of the winery, who decided to use those strawberries to create one of Connecticut’s most interesting and intoxicating sparkling wines.

Estate-grown whole strawberries are fermented for 3–5 days before being blended with California chenin blanc, carbonated, and bottled to create Strawberry Serenade. Bubbly and deep strawberry red, one whiff of this wine will render its aroma a permanent part of your olfactory memory. One cannot help but linger a few moments to enjoy the scent of freshly crushed ripe strawberries. The palate is straightforward but not obvious, the white wine providing acidity and a hint of creaminess for balance. Sweet without being over the top, Strawberry Serenade is suited for summer.

Pair it with: spinach quiche, summertime fruit and cheese platter, or, yes, chocolate.

Renée B. Allen, CSW, FWS, CSS, is a wine and spirits expert and the director of the award-winning Wine Institute of New England, which offers wine and spirits education and events. Allen is a professor at the University of New Haven, a wine competition director and judge, and can be seen on WFSB’s Better Connecticut.

This article appears in the July 2021 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.