One wine on my list of the 10 Best Wines of the Year - So Far is the youthful and agile Greg Norman California Estates 2005 Lake County Red Hills Zinfandel ($15). Last night we opened another of the golfer's wines, the Greg Norman South Eastern Australia Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir ($20). It won't make the cut, though it is a sound and pleasant bubbly.
A blend of 61 percent pinot noir and 39 percent chardonnay, it's an unusually subdued sparkler for coming from Australia. The fruit is dry and austere, the bubbles fine, the beads languid. It's crisp and refreshing, and low in alcohol (11.5 percent). For its lightness, it's closer to prosecco than Champagne in overall style. While perfectly enjoyable, it had a restraint that didn't let it interfere with our excitement and conversation.
Why would anyone open a bottle of sparkling wine on a Monday night, anyway? Aside from our conviction that sparkling wine is versatile enough to enjoy with a wide range of foods, we did have something to celebrate. We'd just received word that our first grandchild in nearly 16 years and our first grandson was born at 3:18 a.m. May 13 in Bangkok. Here's to you, Rayden Light Kanah-Dunne.