11-year-old Korbel Natural quenching my bubble thirst right meow. All RRV Pinot and Chardonnay, of course méthode, toasty peachy almond butter like lickin the sweat up the spine of your girlfriend under a waterfall after a long hike. Pear-sauce and honey and chamomile on a carrier that feels like hi-dollar Champagne at 20. God it’s gorgeous, cork not swelling, deep amber, bubbles fading to solitary risers almost immediately, but plenty of shocking spritz in the tongue. These are VERY austere on release, nearly crystal-clear, with hard edges making fruit difficult to observe. That’s why there’s a date on the bottle.
Yes, Korbel makes a bunch of cheap shit. Yes, Korbel somehow manages to put “CHAMPAGNE” on their labels. Yes, there are those who say ‘Natural’ isn’t truly natural (if you think I’m talking about natural wine please hit the unfollow button). And yes, they still make Cold Duck. I’m just listing off the things all the angry Poindexters say every time I post about Korbel Natural. I don’t care. Did I ever tell you about the time a *bubbles-bar* owner, somm, and Champagne expert kicked me out for suggesting this as an an alternative to the Taylor Almond she was serving in her lowest-price glass?
I wish I had a dollar for every time some Veuve drinker has told me I have no legitimacy as a wine-critic if I drink Korbel Natural. But I will never stop. This shit is nails and for 15$ I double-dog DARE you to find a better, more thoroughly-produced sparkler. And yes: IT’S VINTAGE. Founded in 1882, and this exact bottling was developed in 1962 and has remained the same ever since.
Getting harder to find–used to be every Long’s Drugs and Safeway carried them for 11.99, but now have disappeared in favor of the shit Extra Dry, Brut, “Chardonnay” (because lord help us if we market blanc de blanc to Umerican), and Brut Rosé (because the excellent blanc de noir has almost vanished in favor of the sweeter, more marketable former category. You will find this parallel situation across several lower-priced producers of quality bubbles. Lookin at YOU, Mumm Cuvee Napa). Unless you can find a friendly retailer to bring it in, Bev-Mo has become nearly my sole source these days. Go find some.
2008 F. KORBEL & BROS ‘Natural’ PN/CH 65/35 Russian River Valley Sonoma 12.5