The WoodBridge by Mondavi Brut Sparkling Wine is a non vintage Bubbly produced from Chardonnay grapes grown mainly in the Lodi AVA, but includes grapes grown in other AVA’s in California’s Central Valley. This is something of a hybrid Bubbly, Chardonnay is the main grape used in Champagne and the yeast Mondavi uses to start fermentation is imported from Champagne, France. But, the Sparkling wine is made in the Charmat Method (the same process used to make Prosecco or Spumante), not the Champagne Method. The second fermentation occurs in small pressurized vats and fermentation (this is where the bubbles are added) lasts 3 to 5 weeks, the wine is then aged an additional couple of months “Sur lees,” all the dead yeast and grape residue is left in the vats which impart a nutty, creamy flavor. So, the Bubbly is Champagne style grapes and yeast made in the Italian Prosecco style. The alcohol content is 12.5%.
The color is golden yellow with somewhat large, but persistent bubbles. The nose is lemons and limes, a slight yeasty, baking bread aroma, dried pineapple and green apple. The flavors are tart, but subdued with a solid amount of acidity that stays in balance. This is not a complex, deep Bubbly, but at $8 you expect flavor, not complexity and the Woodbridge Brut does just fine in the flavor department. Very crisp and refreshing, this is another one of those Bubbly’s that seems to float away after hitting your taste buds (the best Bubbly really does that, it is a true hedonistic experience, this one just seems to do that, still pretty good for 8 buck Bubbles), you almost don’t have to swallow. The acidity helps a somewhat mild finish linger for quite some time.
The Woodbridge Brut is a fun wine, California grapes making a French wine in the Italian style, and here you thought this was just another supermarket wine. The Woodbridge would make an excellent base for Champagne cocktails or Bellini’s, you don’t want to use a sublime Bubbly to add in a mixer, but you want a base that has a very pleasing flavor. If you are looking to pair the Woodbridge with food, I would suggest more brunch type foods, it does not have the weight to stand up to full flavored meals. And, of course, the Woodbridge Brut would make a fine holiday party Bubbly, it is a little more adult and less sweet than some of the other offering from California in this price range and the price is very right.