While it’s always best to drink non-vintage sparkling wines within a year or two of release, I have a feeling this bottle was lost on a store shelf somewhere before I bought it – but it turned out to be wonderful. While recognizably slightly more aged than I expected, the wine had only improved. The yeast was toasted in the aroma. A great honeyed quality arose in both aroma and flavor as soon as the wine warmed up a bit. On the palate, there was a touch of creaminess and some peach-skin fruit, yet it was very refreshing. The finish was lemony-citric with some tannins too.

Drink as an aperitif, or with light dishes including plain meats and simple vegetable preparations.

Highly recommended: 91 – Becky Sue Epstein

WHO: Piper Sonoma

WHAT: 60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Meunier, 15% Pinot Noir

WHERE: Sonoma County, California

HOW MUCH: $16 (average)