I reviewed these for a local print publication this week, but they fit this month's Wine Focus too (or at least one of them does), so I might as well post them here too. The Cava was okay. The Billiot (a Terry Theise import via Skurnik) is killer stuff. I could have slurped the whole bottle ...
Marques de Gelida 2001 Cava Brut Exclusive Reserva ($15)
This Spanish cava shows a clear pale brass color in the glass, with a decent stream of rather large and slow-moving bubbles. Its aromas are fresh and attractive, evoking apples and toast. Tart apple flavors carry over in its crisp and creamy mouthfeel, with a gentle hint of sweetness in the background. It's a decent sparkler, easy to enjoy, without the off flavors or tangy sweet-sour character that afflicts too many low-end bubblies.
Champagne H. Billiot Fils NV Brut Rosé ($52)
This is a true "grower" Champagne from a small producer in Ambonnay, one of the top villages of the Champagne region. It's made 100 percent from black Pinot Noir grapes, which impart a pale salmon color with just a hint of rosy hue. Multiple streams of lasting pinpoint bubbles loft subtle and complex aromas that mingle apple and strawberry and a distinct hint of cocoa. Rich and rather full-bodied, crisp and tart flavors follow the nose. It finishes fresh and clean, with a lasting aftertaste of fresh apples and a citric snap.