Sparkling La Vieille Ferme or Rotari: Happy Chinese New Year of the Pig! Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s!

photo by Deniz Nicole

Happy New Year — Chinese Year of the Pig!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

It’s time to SPARKLE!

Regardless of what you’re celebrating and who you’re celebrating with, we’ve got four sparkling wines for you that won’t break the piggy bank: — two from Italy’s Rotari and two from France’s LaVieille Ferme (which in French means “the old farm”).

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, we celebrated the Year of the Pig and Galentines Day when Sue and I were joined by two Burning Man artists, pyropainter Deniz Nicole of Karousal Kandeo and Kaliedescope Kandeo art installations and Margaret Lambert of Elvis Wedding Chapel and Minstrel Cramp theme camps. Sue, Margaret and I have actually known each other since high school. While Deniz and I have only been friends for a few years, I wanted to introduce Deniz to Margaret and showcase Deniz’s artwork as part of this sparkling blog post.

Deniz’s sparkly Kalaidescopes or charms would make a great SPARKLY present for your Valentine or Galentine — along with a bottle of sparkling wine of course! The small charms and kaliadescopes are only $20 and the larger kaleidoscope is only $50 right now. These are beautiful, hand crafted and oh so sparkly! Plus the money goes to a great cause: funding the creation, the execution, and the transport of this large scale kaliadescope to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, home of the Burning Man Festival.

You could say we were squealing like happy pigs on the old farm as we enjoyed looking through the kaleidoscopes at the festive scene while sampling these four sparkling wines along with wild king crab ravioli and a fresh berry salad following caviar, oysters, cheese, and charcuterie.

Valentine’s Day can be very special, but a horrible day to go out to dinner because the restaurants are so busy and everyone is stressed. This is a super impressive meal with well priced sparkling wine.

We thought it would be fun to compare these two wines from Italy and two from France, and discuss the ways they were similar and different — starting with the fact that none of these sparkling wines are from Champagne!

Also similar: all four wines are very affordable at under $20, and relatively easy to find, grab and go.

What’s different? Here are three ways:

  1.  Rotari comes from the TrentoDoc appellation in northern Italy;
    grapes in the LaVieille Ferme come from throughout France.
  2. Rotari wines are vintage dated; the ones we tasted were from 2013;
    LaVieille Ferme are non-vintage.
  3. Rotari wines use the same process as Champagne, which Italians call metodo classico.
    LaVieille Ferme use what they are calling “a brand new method of production—Méthode Contemporaine.

Metodo classico? What that means is Rotari’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes go through a primary fermentation in the tank, then a secondary fermentation in the bottle. For at least two years, they rest on the lees (12 months longer than required in France), giving the wine deeper, more complex flavors. Read more about it here.

Méthode Contemporaine? LaVieille Ferme captures the CO2 from the fermentation process, stores it, then reincorporates it before bottling using a membrane contact system.

LaVieille Ferme – Reserve Rose – 12% alcohol – SRP $17
sample for my review consideration

La Vielle Ferme Sparkling Rosé is made from Grenache noir, Cinsault, and Pinot noir from various French vineyards by Famille Perrin using what they are calling “a brand new method of production—Méthode Contemporaine.”

Color: Pale “ballet slipper” pink, small delicate bubbles.

Nose: Delicate, a bit of an earthen funk that morphs into Tahitian vanilla seed pod, citrus.

Palate: Gentle fizzy, eureka lemon.
Margaret: “smells like the ion molecules after the rain.”

Pairing: Nice with the proscuitto, lovely with the brie. This wine really brought out the flavor of the crab, and I wanted to have it with lobster. Sue went straight for the strawberries in the salad and went to heaven.

I could see this working well with St Germaine as a cocktail, so we decided that we needed to try it at dessert by following the St. Germaine cocktail recipe found on the label or website. We found it very refreshing, very much a summer cocktail. The color is so beautiful, especially with the fresh fruit. Margaret loved the way it smelled better than she liked the taste. Smells like summer fun o the sun! There is a sophisticated adult creamsicle flavor, vanilla, orange, mature. We all found this to be a wonderful starter cocktail, crowd pleaser, you could make this in a punch bowl  and a party would be satisfied. This also went fantastic with the fruity fresh dessert.

2013 – Rotari Rose – 12.5% alcohol SRP $20
sample for my review consideration

Color: Rose gold, lovely delicate and persistent bubbles.

Nose: Yeast, brioche, white loaf bread, underlying raspberry pie.

Palate: “What I smell in my nose is not what I taste in my mouth!” The bubbles are nice, it’s smooth across the palate,  and very balanced.

There is a liveliness to this wine, a little citrus and a lot of white stone fruit with snow washed granitic stone.

Pairing: Fantastic with the caviar, and it LOVES, LOVES, LOVES the salad. It supports the pasta, but it showcased the fresh ingredients of the salad, the ripe fruit, the champagne vinagarette, the lemon infused olive oil. It refreshes the palate with the pasta so you can keep going back and enjoying the meal.

La Vieille Ferme Réserve Sparkling Brut  12% alcohol – SRP $17
Chardonnay : 90%; Ugni blanc : 10% from various French vineyards
sample for my review consideration

La Vieille Ferme Réserve Sparkling Brut, like the Rosé, is produced by Famille Perrin using a new method of Méthode Contemporaine.

Color: Pale, bubbles rise up to a lovely seafoam.

Nose: Sweet vanilla, caramel apples, like a breakfast pastry. Margaret wished her pillow smelt like this all of the time. The flip side of the pillow. A hit of citrus like a mojito, or key lime pie.

Palate: The perlage rolls across the palate nicely, delivering sweet limes.

Pairing: So lovely with the caviar, the wine brings out a sweetness in the almonds, the brie brings out the elements of the breakfast pastry in the wine, the proscuitto also goes great with the wine. With the salad, it is so crisp and clean:

this wine is like the sunshine breaking through the broken clouds after a week of rain…

Great with a main meal salad. We found this wine to go much better with the salad than the raviolis

Rotari Brut – 12.5% alcohol
75% Pinot Noir , 25% chardonnay
sample for my review consideration

Color: Pale gold, summer straw, happy perlage,

Nose: Damp hay, earth, funk.

Palate: Very lively, roasted almond, nice minerals at the back end, very clean and fresh from the front to the finsih. We all really liked this wine, it was so very well balanced into a perfect package.

Pairing: Another wine that loves caviar, brie, and procuitto; so so good with the fresh green salad with blackberries, strawberries, and fresh goat cheese. It enhances the sweetness of the almonds, loves the richness of the sauce and the ravioli; this was easily the best pairing with the king crab raviolis.

While I had an assortment of chocolates, we all enjoyed the fresh strawberries and lemon oil in the salad, no surprise the dessert match was the strawberry lemon cake with limoncello glaze and fresh fruit.

Have a wonderful Year of the Pig and a fun Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day! Cheers!


One thought on “Sparkling La Vieille Ferme or Rotari: Happy Chinese New Year of the Pig! Happy Valentine’s and Galentine’s!

  1. 2013 Rotari Rose sounds so good, seems to pair well with salad and light savory dishes – loving it! I think I prefer the Methode Classico, developing more depth to the wine with longer fermentation in the bottles


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