The following #sample collection of bubbles are all from France, imported by Vineyard Brands. When a box of bubbles arrives, it instantly become party time… party in the sense of something very special just happened. For no apparent reason, no matter what was just happening, it just got really better.

I’m reminded of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee, Let me count the ways:

“Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light…”

Living in the quiet paradise of Alexander Valley’s mountains, the days when sparkling wines arrive, always take a thrilling turn from best to superlative. And, this is today’s sparkling wines theme, as we head toward Valentine’s Day.

Tiny Bubbles that Wow the Senses…

I’ve tasted many bubbles from intriguing producers, and those notes have set the stage to share thoughts about some delicious sparkling wines from around the globe. And, with Valentine’s day just around the corner, this is a great time share what I’ve loved recently; perhaps inspiring you, too, to enjoy our annual day of romance.

These Vineyard Brands’s bubbles were all scintillatingly delightful

Imported by Vineyard Brands, founded in 1971 by Robert Haas (who later went on to create Tablas Creek Vineyard, in Paso Robles). Today, Vineyard Brands has two offices; one in Birmingham and the other in the heart of New York City.  Their portfolio of wines is very impressive, as was the arrival of the following four sparkling wines, which became part of this tasty afternoon delight…

Champagne, Bubbles, Sparkling… All there, present and accounted for. There’s a choice for all budgets and desires, as these samples prove.


  1. HEART ~ THE WINERY: This information came from the wineries’ notes.
  2. SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING ~ From the winery.
  3. SOUL ~ Jo’s Musings


La Vieille Ferme, translated as The Old Farmhouse


THE WINERY: Jean-Pierre Perrin established La Vieille Ferme over 45 years ago, when he chose to produce an inexpensive, straightforward Rhône wine, to sell by direct mail to French wine lovers. He used the same grape varieties in similar proportions to those planted at the family’s Château de Beaucastel, and employed a similar winemaking process. The result was an immediate success in France, proving that it is a wine of character and style in keeping with its Beaucastel heritage.


La Vieille Ferme Réserve Sparkling Brut (SRP $16.99) and La Vielle Ferme Sparkling Rosé (SRP $16.99) provides a his and her options for your Valentine’s Day. Made by famed Famille Perrin, this new sparkling wine is a brand new method of production—Méthode Contemporaine (Méthode Contemporaine involves introducing CO2 into the wine just before bottling). Both a Brut and a Rosé are produced. If you’re up for the adventure, both wines can carry you through your entire date night, from appetizers to deserts.


The La Vielle Ferme Sparkling Rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir grapes, which were planted on limestone soils. It tasted like Strawberry Fields Forever… The aromas reminded me of a Strawberry Crème Brûlée; then, delightfully linger, linger, lingering on my palate. Just heavenly, and lovers will adore this sparkling wine. It’s definitely meant for appetizers…

The La Vieille Ferme Réserve Sparkling Brut  ~ Tiny bubbles rushed to the top of the flute, seemingly exuding great joy to escape their extended rest. This  dry sparkling Brut has a rich roundness to its flavors that combine “the tension of the limestone terroir, the freshness of Chardonnay and the roundness of ageing on the lees.” Fragrances of rising bread dough yeast and delicate hazelnut aromas were very seductive. As I enjoyed its dry character, which reminded me of a refreshing, spring rain, the wine was filled with the magic and promise of what’s to come… completely refreshment.



[PHOTO:  Konstantin Kalishko, Vineyards of Loire Valley, France]

Domaine Xavier and Agnès Amirault Crémant de Loire les Quarterons


This sparkling Brut wine is made by husband and wife duo (and namesake of the Domaine) Xavier and Agnès. Blending the breadth of Chenin Blanc and the confidence of Chardonnay, cheers to the friends or lovers that expand your horizons and strengthen you. Made by lovers, for lovers… Happy Valentine’s day.


Located in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil in the Loire Valley, Domaine Amirault’s Clos des Quarterons is a 92-acre vineyard that is farmed according to the precepts of biodynamic viticulture. The domaine has been in the Amirault family for six generations and is currently managed by Xavier Amirault and his wife, Agnès. The estate is 100 percent certified organic by Ecocert, and certified biodynamic by Demeter.  The biodynamic methods focus on both the environment and the terroir: soil, place, climate, varietal, and the methods of farming. The goal is to achieve a natural balance across the 53 plots of mostly Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc planted at the estate. This is the domaine’s secret to offering unique and living wines, vintage after vintage.


If a wine is organic and/or biodynamic, I’m all in, as I just wrote to one reader.

He wrote: “I am honestly not sure if I want to obtain organic or nonorganic wine as they differ in the taste can easily be tasted. I prefer the nonorganic one as it has a longer life once you open the bottle and keep it in the open.”

I countered, just to go on record… Hi… “I prefer to know there’s as little chemical intervention as possible. I was organic long before it was even called “organic.” I’m thankful that I did stay chemical free (with the newly called “organic”). When I recently  went into a supermarket and saw “conventional” fruits and veggies, I asked, “What’s conventional?” He answered, the ones with the poisons. (Thankfully, no boss was around.)

This one was very easy to enjoy, with its light and lively flavors. The primary Chenin Blanc gapes for this wine gave it a refreshing character. I adore Chenin Blanc, and its structure has given this Brut a bit more roundness. As suggested by the winery, I agree that it’s a perfect aperitif wine. The Domaine Xavier and Agnès Amirault Crémant de Loire les Quarterons reminded me of living in Maine and walking the Atlantic Coast, where fragrant wild roses exist… Their perfume, the soil’s subtle minerality, the making of sparkling wine, all lending a hand in its clean style. (SRP $38.99)

On another note…


Champagne Delamotte Brut Rosé


FROM THE WINERY: Delamotte was founded in Reims in 1760, by François Delamotte, a vineyard owner. At more than 250 years old, it is the fifth oldest house in Champagne. Alexandre Delamotte brought the cellars, caves, and offices of the House of Delamotte to one beautiful mansion at the end of the 18th century and in 1828, his brother, Nicolas Louis Delamotte, also known as the Chevalier Delamotte Barrachin, assumed management of the House. In his tenure with the Chamber of Commerce, Nicolas was well known for hosting spectacular events, namely the coronation of France’s last king, Charles X.

The House was sold to the Lanson family in the 1830s, who later started producing a Lanson label. It was eventually acquired by Marie-Louise de Nonancourt, née Lanson, in the period between the two World Wars. In 1927, Marie-Louise made the decision to transfer the activities of the house of Delamottte to Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. The management of the company was entrusted to the capable hands of Marie-Louise’s youngest son, Charles de Nonancourt. It was Charles who established the golden rules for the business: ensure a consistent quality by purposefully limiting production and maintain at least three harvests in the cellars at all times. In 1988, the House of Delamotte joined forces with the still enigmatic Champagne Salon under the umbrella of the parent company, Laurent-Perrier, led by Charles’ brother, Bernard. Today, the House of Delamotte and its sister company Champagne Salon are under the direction of Didier Depond.


Delamotte Brut Rosé is made by the traditional saignée method, extracting color and complexity from the skins through maceration before and during fermentation. This traditional rosé method is seldom used in Champagne because of the complex process, although it brings much elegance and structure to the wine. Eighty percent of the Pinot Noir is sourced from Grand Cru vineyards located in the southeast slopes of the Montagne de Reims: Bouzy, Ambonnay, and Tours-sur-Marne. The twenty percent Chardonnay is from Le Mesnilsur-Oger.

SOUL ~ The Proposal Champagne

This is an exceptional bottle of wine… Which, of Course, we can call Champagne. The Champagne Delamotte Brut Rosé (SRP $92.99) is a gorgeous and very Valentine’s Day appropriate. Its salmon-pink color is due to balance between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It’s true elegantly, structured style will bring great joy to any Valentine’s Day celebration. I swirled my flute, held it to my nose to take in its scrumptious aromas. It had a pristine, unmistakable identity… Champagne. Hints of raspberries, crisp acidity, and a creamy texture. Heavenly wine to be sure, and a perfect ending on a very happy note…