Korbel California Brut Label

Korbel Brut: Made with Organically Grown Grapes

2016 Korbel Brut California Champagne, California, USA

Wine of the Week with Annette Tomei

Korbel Brut offers what very few wines at its level of production and price point can – it’s 100% certified organic. For a winery deeply rooted in Sonoma County history for over 135 years, Korbel is also a leader for the 21stcentury. Sustainability is not just a buzzword for Korbel, it’s a full-time business practice. The winery is certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance and by California Certified Organic Famers.

For a winery this size to adopt practices that conserve energy and water, operate with nearly zero waste from the production process, and 95% of byproduct being recycled or reused is a very big deal. But what about the wine?

About this wine

Korbel Brut deviates from the traditional combination of Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir with (maybe) some Pinot Meunier in the mix. The blend of French Colombard, Sangiovese, and Chardonnay is distinctly unique.

This wine has a delicate, pleasant mousse and a pale straw color. The initial aromas are quite yeasty with a touch of oak – my first reaction was that it smells like walking into a northern California wine cave. On the palate, the texture is frothy, round, and silky. The flavor is applesauce with a bit of brioche – think apple brown betty. There is a mild tartness and a touch of residual sugar for flavor and mouthfeel.

Korbel Brut may be one of the most versatile sparkling wines because, at this price point, the pretense is removed. You may feel free to pair it with a variety of dishes from brunch benedicts to fried chicken and waffles. Or use it as the base for any number of cocktails from a French 75, a classic mimosa, or maybe in the Cupid’s Kiss from Amy Reiley’s Romancing the Stove!

The verdict

Sometimes finding a sustainably produced organic wine in the right price range can be a challenge. A certified organic wine for under $15/bottle from a highly recognized California producer is an easy choice. And, with Korbel’s commitment to conservation, sustainability, and organic farming practices, you can feel good about the decision while you enjoy a lovely glass of bubbles.

And, a little note to those of you who may be saying to yourself, “I thought only wines from the Champagne region of France could use that word on their labels.” I thought the same. It turns out, there was an agreement made in the 2000s that grandfathered in certain producers who used the word in a semi-generic manner. The agreement was ratified in 2006. Now we know.

Korbel Brut California champagne is available nationwide as well as directly from the producer (here).

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