With so many celebrities creating their own wine labels today, it’s hard to tell who’s making real wine and who’s just slapping their name on a bottle. Well ever since I tasted Yao Ming’s 2014 Cabernet, I’ve been dying to taste more. Lucky me, Yao Ming Family Wines came out with a sparkling wine just in time for the holiday season and — lucky me again — it was just as good as I wanted it to be…

About the Wine: The Yao Ming 2016 Napa Brut Sparkling Wine is made from 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from Napa’s Oakville and Carneros AVAs respectively. Each of the base wines were fermented sur lees and went through primary fermentation in neutral oak. The combined wine then went through secondary fermentation in bottle, following the methode traditionelle or methode champenoise. (Read more about the traditional method for making Champagne: Pop the Cork on Sparkling Wine.)

Flavor Profile: Pop the cork on Yao Ming’s debut bubbly and breathe in strong aromas of freshly baked bread, lemon and lime. On the pour this sparkling wine is quite a pale shade of straw, settling into the glass just a shade darker. Initial aromas are of crips green apple, orange blossom, lime zest, and candied orange peel. Swirl and sniff again and find a soft background of nectar essence.

On the palate, the brut has a light, but somewhat substantial body; the texture, is similarly soft, yet firm — like a sturdy pillow. Dominant flavors are of fresh-baked brioche, honesuckle, lemon and lime juice, orange blossom, and just a hint of popcorn in the back of the palate.

Because this sparkling wine has a firmer structure, it could definitely accompany a heartier white fish dish or anything lathered in a cream sauce. Yet, it is light enough to be enjoyed on its own — I know I certainly did.

More Info: I received the Yao Ming 2016 Napa Brut Sparkling Wine as a sample for review. (Cheers John!) Retail: $49. For more information about Yao Family Wines, their wine, and to purchase directly, please visit the Yao Family Wines website.

BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!

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