Op-Ed: Selecting the perfect celebratory beverage Special

Posted Nov 25, 2013 by W. Mark Dendy
If you are planning for the New Year and other holiday season parties, you do not have to import your Champagne from France.
A line of fine champagnes sits behind the tasting bar at Korbel s.
A line of fine champagnes sits behind the tasting bar at Korbel's.
Some of the finest champagne known in the world is produced right in Sonoma County, California at Korbel's.
Ah, yes. Champagne!
"It christens ships. Toasts love. Celebrates happiness. Harmonizes with food. No other beverage is more versatile, fun or intriguing."
Korbel's secret to producing world class champagne is using the traditional French méthode champenoise technique, where the champagne is fermented inside the same bottle from which it is served. Unlike the commercially produced sparkling wines which are fermented in bulk, Korbel's champagnes maintain their flavor, aroma, and effervescence long after pouring.
The Korbel brothers, Francis, Anton and Joseph, emigrated from Czechoslovakia to the United States in the 1800's, bought a lumber mill and worked hard to grow their business.
When the lumber business slowed, they set their sights on farming the Russian River Valley where they raised prunes, beets, wheat, corn, alfalfa, and operated a commercial dairy. By the late 1870s, the three brothers had planted their first vineyards and began experimenting with different grape varieties, including Pinot Noir, an unusual variety for California; it was known primarily as the principal grape of the Champagne region of France.
It wasn't long before the three lumbermen turned vintners brought winemaker Frank Hasek in Prague to the United States to be their champagne master. By the turn of the century the Korbel Winery had become know as a world class, award winning, champagne producer.
Recently, I visited the Korbel Winery and Champagne Cellars in Guerneville. The grounds were impeccably maintained, and as I entered the tasting room, I could sense the dedication that these three brothers, more than a century ago, had toward the art of wine making.
The walls were adorned with ribbons and medals identifying achievements dating back to the inception of this Korbel brothers venture. The tasting bar was lined with people shoulder to shoulder. I waited patiently for a spot; the wait was not too long. Regardless, the wait was well worth it.
First, I tasted a few of the wines, but I am hooked on Coppola's wines, and my purpose in checking out Korbel was to pick a nice champagne.
Brut is too dry for my taste; although the Brut Rose' was very satisfying. After tasting the wide range of bubbly beverages Korbel offers, the two that I would recommend for that special holiday party are the Sweet Cuvée (first choice) and the Reisling as a stand by.
Winner of numerous awards including the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition Silver Medal, the 2010 Sweet Cuvée is so aromatic and light and goes down ever so smooth. It is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat Canelli and a great champagne for any occasion or no occasion at all.
And to that I hoist my glass and say cheers!