Frankly, I was expecting more from this wine. My two previous experiences were mediocre to good (84 and 87 points), but they were five and six years ago, respectively, and I had hopes that more time in the bottle would improve it, bring out more nuance, more interest. Sadly, that did not happen. But don't get me wrong; this is not a bad wine. It's just not a very good one. Simple and straightforward notes of ripe red apples and candied ginger. Lacks finesse and precision. Clunky finish. Not too bad for $20 perhaps. But at that price point, I prefer Domaine Carneros.
I have to thank Brad Baker for the recommendation on this one. Despite being a cali sparkler, this can hold its own with any decent champagne in the $30 to $50 price range. If you like rich pinot centric champagne's with some depth to them, then you will like the Royal Cuvee (especially with a little bit of age on it). It has lots of fruit up front, with nice depth, followed by almonds, toast, bread dough, spices, and cream. It is a little bit sweet, but that is a relatively minot complaint given its affordable $20 price point.
Once again this Gloria Ferrer was drinking very well and is an incredible value for roughly $20 per bottle. This wine puts many $50 to $65 bottles of champagne to shame (which is not an easy feat for a Cali sparkler). The flavors included oranges, pineapple, cinnamon, cream, toast, almonds, and spices. As I noted in my previous review, this sparkler leaned a bit to much on the heavy side, but that is only a minor complaint. The length was also impressive.
This is one of the best non-champagne sparkling wines that I have tried. In fact, in a blind taste test, the 2001 Royal Cuvee would be very easy to mistake for a decent mid-range vintage champagne. The flavors are very pinot centric with juicy up front fruit, nuts, toast, bread dough, and cream along with good length. The only complaint I have is that it is a bit heavy and ponderous at times and is a bit to sweet. Regardless, this is an incredible value for a California sparkler and is a strong overall value at around $20 per bottle.
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