Cook's Grand Reserve Non Vintage 750ml Champagne and Sparkling Wine Reviews
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Cook's Grand Reserve Non Vintage 750ml Champagne and Sparkling Wine

4 ratings (4 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Very Good
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Cook's Grand Reserve California Champagne, NV - Since 1859

Feb 12, 2002
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Great price.

Cons:Not as good as the Cook's California Brut. Hard to find.

The Bottom Line: Surprisingly good. If you find it under $5 per bottle, I highly recommend the purchase. I've never been disappointed.


In this review, I shall -- unlike others before me -- reveal the secret behind this sparkling wine.


Cook's Grand Reserve California Champagne is actually pretty hard to find. I've been looking for this particular "Grand Reserve" sparkling wine for almost six months and I finally stumbled across a bottle at my local supermarket.

Cook's -- a brand of the Canandaigua Wine Company -- produces one of America's top-selling Brut  sparkling wines: Cook's California Champagne.


Cook's Grand Reserve
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This is a "bulk method process" sparkling wine, where secondary fermentation is induced (before bottling) in large steel tanks (rather than in individual bottles that are racked and then riddled by hand).

The Grand Reserve sparkling wine contains 11.5% alcohol by volume versus the 11% ABV strength of Cook's California Brut. This sparkling wine pours with a very pale straw-yellow color with persistent streams of tiny bubbles -- much finer and smaller than the Brut  offering.

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THE SECRET that makes this Sparkling Wine different....   --   What distinguishes the higher-alcohol Grand Reserve over other sparkling wines produced by Cook's is that a dosage (a small measure) of Brandy is added to the wine prior to the bottling.
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The nose of this sparkling wine is a little fruitier and less yeasty than the Brut offering, and missing is the slightly tart/citric aroma I enjoyed in the Brut... and in its place is something a little sweeter... suggesting vanilla and even a hint of noble rot (as being from the Muscat grape).

This sparkling wine is best served well-chilled (cold refrigerator temperature, or you can put it on ice if you prefer). Flavor is slightly sweet and does not feature the great Yellow Bartlett pear taste I picked up in the Brut  offering. This wine is bright and lively on the palate. Finishes medium-dry (slightly sweet) and clean.

The propaganda on the bottle's label: "Cook's tradition of exceptional sparkling wines was born on 1859 when Isaac Cook created the first American sparkling wine as good as the finest French Champagnes. Our dedicated wine makers have carried on Cook's tradition of quality ever since."

My comments: having tried two very excellent French Champagnes over the weekend -- Mumm's Cordon Rouge, NV ($28) and Roederer's Brut, NV ($39) -- I'd say that Cook's/Canandaigua Wine Company is really making a bold stretch in its comparison. I mean that for "Then" (1859) and for "Now" (2002).


Price and Availability
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The California Grand Reserve is definitely harder to find than Cook's regular offerings: the California Brut  and the Extra Dry sparkling wines.

Every now and then, sparkling wines from Cook's are sold at blow-out prices. Especially around the holidays. I purchased this wine at my local Albertson's supermarket for only $3.99 per 750 ml bottle. A fantastic bargain!

Vinted and bottled by Cook's Champagne Cellars, Madiera, California. Available nationwide.

More information is available at the company's website, Canandaigua Wine Company:
http://www.cwine.com/


Recommendations
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A respectable wine and an outstanding performer in its price class. Not as good (i.e., "tasty" -- IMHO) as Cook's more popular sparkling wines -- the Brut  and Extra Dry offerings -- but a solid choice in the "Under $5" American sparkling wine category.

A perfect party wine for large groups and a fine apéritif wine.

Verdict: 3-stars overall, 3½-stars in its price class. I like & recommend it.

But... the Brut  is better. (And it's easier to find.)


Recommend this product? Yes


Winery Name: Cook's Champagne Cellars
Varietal: Sparkling Wine
Designation: Grand Reserve California Champagne
Country: USA
State or Region: California
Price: $4.00 - $5.
Wine Rating Scale: A solid performer

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