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Column: Two sparkling wines to toast the change in seasons

Bubbly recommendations for the Autumn season

As the lazy days of summer come to a close, it’s almost time to embrace the harvest season of autumn. And what better way to celebrate this transition than with a bottle of sparkling wine. Today we uncork two newcomers to BC: a bubbly from the Canary Islands and a pink Prosecco from northern Italy imported by World Wine Synergy agency.

The Los Bermejos Malvasia Volcanica 2019 Brut Nature [SKU 012135] ($43.99; “92 points”) hails from the easternmost Canary Island of Lanzarote. It’s only 125 km from the African coast but it looks like a lunar landscape.

A volcanic explosion from the 18th century covered the entire island in lava and ash three to five metres deep, making grape cultivation challenging. Each vine must be planted in a hole or hoyo that breaks through that infertile volcanic crust of petrified lava to the organic matter that can nourish it.

And to complicate things, the wind is so ferocious that each hoyo is surrounded by rock walls for protection. Yields are minuscule because of the extreme conditions. But on the positive side, each grape of Malvasia is concentrated in flavour.

Los Bermejos’ owner, Ignacio Valdera supplements his crop with purchased fruit from growers who share his vision of sustainable viticulture; with such low yields the winery would have to own most of the land on the island in order to produce financially sustainable quantities of wine from exclusively proprietary grapes.

Bermejo´s sparkling wine is produced from Malvasia Volcanica that is indigenous to the Canary Islands. Using the traditional Champenoise method it is then aged twenty months on its lees in the bottle, which produces toasty complexity in the finished product.

The Malvasia displays a deep straw colour with fine beads of bubbles. There’s a lot to admire in the generous aroma: baked bread, tree fruit, earthiness, and spice!

Layers of exploding flavour delight your palate: ripe apples, quince, ginger, and minerals from the volcanic craters. Crisp acidity and a slight bitterness provide contrast to the sweet fruitiness on the mid-palate. Plus there is an appealing creaminess with a bone-dry fruity finish.

Chill in the fridge a couple of hours before serving or submerge in an ice bath for half an hour. Enjoy with watermelon, cucumber feta salad, tapas, tuna, or paella.

You can purchase the 2019 Los Bermejos Malvasia Volcanica Brut Nature at the BCLS Alberni and Bute streets location in Vancouver or you can order by the six-bottle case at any BCLStore.

From Spain’s Canary Islands, we travel north-east to Italy, to the land of Italy’s most popular bubbly, Prosecco. The 2019 Zago Millesimato Prosseco DOC Brut Rosé [SKU 58741] ($29.99; “90 points”) is a blend of Glera and Pinot Noir (Pinot Nero) grapes from the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions in northeastern Italy. The sparkling wine is made by the Charmat process and has an attractive pale pink colour with fine and persistent bubbles.

There’s an attractive aroma of bright red berries with an elegant and delicate cherry and strawberry flavour. Expect a luscious creamy texture and crisp tartness to balance the fruit with a slightly off-dry conclusion.

This pink Prosecco is perfect for toasting the end of summer or the beginning of autumn. It’s ideal as an aperitif with sliced salami and other charcuterie, or Roman chicken with artichokes, olives, and pappardelle.

The Zago Prosseco Brut Rosé is available at Richmond’s Ironwood BC Liquor Store and other locations.