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Welcome back to the second “Thursday’s Bottle,” an occasional adventure in blind tastings and wine reviews. The Thursday's Bottle series debuted in October of last year when the “panel” tasted three grenaches. Read that story here

As I noted with the grenache review, we’re a small group of food and wine geeks as serious as serious can be. We taste, talk and take notes. At the end of the evening, I double check that I can decipher all the notes, and then turn everyone’s thoughts into a story.

On Dec. 20, five of us gathered once again, this time to taste three sparkling wines. Before we tasted, I, as host, divulged only that one bottle was from Santa Barbara County and two were “Europe.”

The players: Katie Baillargeon and Marcel Rivera-Baillargeon, UCSB creative writing professor and online marketing specialist, respectively; Angela Soleno, winemaker/owner, Turiya Wines; Jeremy Smith, course director at Marshallia Ranch Golf Course, and myself.

Bottle One: “Smells light, with subtle fruit; fruity mid-palate; nice acid; not chardonnay; maybe the local one; creamy; opaque; acidic; green; light bubbles; lack of fruit on the first taste; light green on the second taste; light green apple on the nose; limestone; medium bubbles; heavy bubbles on mouth feel; not French; unbalanced; not the local bottle; light on the aromatics; sweet on mid-palate; hard to get anything on the nose; ocean, salty, saline; apricot and bread/yeast; mouth fizzles out; kind of disappointing; steely green limes.”

Bottle Two: “More carbonic than bottle one; meaty, color-rich; bigger; more substance on own; honey, fruity, hay; cotton candy, vanilla; smells like a love story; soft and lovely, gentle; we’re getting married and serving this at the reception; muted smell; like more than bottle one, and reminds me of rosé wine; like aftertaste/finish; smooth; fruit-forward; local; berry on the nose; balanced and sweet; honey; more residual sugar; France or mainland; nicely balanced; hay.”

Bottle Three: “Apple-y; nice and fruity; acidic, but like a middle range between bottles one and two; light bubbles, my favorite of three; Alsace; lighter color; long finish; this is local; the most balanced of the three; sweet but acidic finish; light nose; green apple taste; smells like California; fruity and sweet; makes me want to put it in my mouth; lemon zest; it’s great, but not amazing.”

The wines:

Bottle One: Mosby Wines Stelline di Cortese, estate, NV, $20. (Stelline di Cortese translates to “Little Stars of Cortese”). www.mosbywines.com

Bottle Two: Heitlinger 2009 Blanc de Noirs, Germany, $33 (Distributed by Wine Wise, the Vienna Wine Co.) http://www.weingut-heitlinger.de/de/

Bottle Three: Karanika NV Xinomavro Brut Cuvée Spéciale, Greece, $33 (Also distributed by Wine Wise). http://winewise.biz/producers/karanika/

I discovered both the Karanika and Heitlinger during a tasting Dec. 10 at the Los Olivos Cafe and Wine Merchant. The focus that evening was on sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines, and you can read the story I wrote for Noozhawk.com here

Copyright Central Coast Wine Press for www.centralcoastwinepress.com