October 2009

Va de Vi

By: The Tasting Panel Editorial Team

Most wine brands are created by winemakers, but Va de Vi was actually created by the consumer.

“We’ve noticed over the past few years that people have been asking for less dry wines,” says Eva Bertran, Executive VP at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma. “In our tasting room, more and more people come in and ask, ‘What do you have that’s interesting and not so dry?’"

In response to this demand, both in the tasting room and in the on- and off-premise worlds, Gloria Ferrer began to develop a new off-dry sparkling wine more than three years ago. The result, Va de Vi, hit shelves earlier this summer.

   The beautifully packaged sparkler—named for a popular Catalonian phrase meaning “It’s about the wine”—is a non-vintage cuvée blended from 90 percent Pinot Noir and 7 percent Chardonnay harvested from Gloria Ferrer’s select Sonoma vineyards, with 3 percent aromatic Muscat added “to give it a magical appeal with tones of tropical fruit and peaches,” notes Bertran. Stainless steel–fermented at 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, Va de Vi spends a year and half aging on the lees (en tirage).

“Before, people were embarrassed to ask for wines that aren’t quite so dry; they didn’t want to admit that they liked less dry wines,” explains Bertran. But members of the Millennial generation—who represent a significant portion of today’s wine drinkers and who look for value, adventure and new experiences in wine—seem to have no hesitation about expressing their preference for slightly sweeter sparkling wines.

“The response to Va de Vi has been huge,” Bertran exclaims; “people love it in the tasting room, and in the market it is being very well received.” Va de Vi offers abundant aromas of ripe apple, Asian pear and Bing cherries amid enticing yeasty tones. On the palate, rich flavors of ripe peach, Meyer lemon, fresh berries and vanilla join with creamy textures in a lasting finish.

When Gloria Ferrer launched Va de Vi in its highly-touristed Carneros district visitor’s center, the wine was paired not with sweets, but with spicy foods. “We didn’t want to be pegged to the wedding cake crowd,” says Bertran, explaining that off-dry sparkling wines work beautifully with the lively spices in Indian or Thai cuisine, making Va de Vi a wine that can be enjoyed throughout a meal.

Other ideal pairings would be with semi-soft cheeses such as fresh chèvre or Brie, or with hors d’oeuvres like paté or potstickers. While Va de Vi makes a plush aperitif, it also doubles as the primary ingredient in romantic, effervescent late-night cocktails (see below).

For those who see sparkling wines primarily as something to drink at the end of a meal, Va de Vi also fits the bill, especially with fruit-based desserts or with mascarpone drizzled with honey.

With its sleek, eye-catching label and competitive suggested retail price of $22 a bottle, Va de Vi presents the perfect package for hip upscale restaurants, clubs and lounges, and enhances the lifestyle that younger consumers have so enthusiastically embraced.

A celebration of the lively, vibrant Spanish heritage of Gloria Ferrer, Va de Vi is about possibility, laughter, camaraderie and romance, adventure and new experiences. But most importantly, it’s about the wine.
Bertran laughs, “Now, when people come in and ask tentatively, ‘Do you have something that’s maybe not too dry?’, we can say, ‘We have just the thing!’”

Cocktail: Va de Voom

2 oz. grenadine (pomegranate syrup)
4 oz. Va de Vi
orange peel for garnish

Pour the grenadine into a champagne flute and top with Va de Vi. Garnish with an orange peel.



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