The market for sparkling wine has exploded like demand for Bradjolina’s sold out French rosé. I’m happily seeing more bubblies now than ever before, especially from the west coast of the U.S. There are a couple of reasons why. One is that people are demanding them — mostly millennials seeking the unique and the bubbly. And two, the advent of “custom crush” facilities, now equipped with Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine production equipment, are making it easier and less expensive to make these fun, effervescent grogs without a massive investment. Oregon’s Sokol Blosser has jumped onto the sparkling trend with a refreshing, slightly sweet sparkling wine made with nine different grape varieties.
I’ve followed the Sokol Blosser family story for quite a while now, watching them grow as a successful family business. Founders Bill and Susan Sokol Blosser finished building their eponymous winery in 1977, and embraced the budding Pinot Noir culture in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Over the years, Susan – who took over running the business in 1991 – expanded the sustainability programs and Pinot Noir production. It wasn’t until 2008 that siblings Alex and Alison Sokol Blosser took over the reins. They wasted no time in introducing and expanding their wine programs, such as the wildly popular Evolution, a second brand of more affordable $15 wines.
The Evolution Sparkling Wine is new to their line up and is available online as well as in a few select markets. But, according to Alison Sokol Blosser, that might change. This bubbly is charming and fragrant with orange blossoms, ripe pear, fresh lychee and tangerine from the addition of Gewurztraminer and Moscato. These flavor components follow with a lemon-laced fruit party in the mouth while the finish offers up some solid, tart acidity to round out the slight sweetness. It’s not a complicated, ponderous bubbly but would be happily consumed on the patio or as an appetizer wine with some some Boursin cheese slathered on a cracker. It pairs equally well with shrimp or fish ceviche. Retails for about $20 per bottle. Sweetness= 3.