It’s a wine I’ve poured at a number of tastings and brought to countless dinner parties. It was even on our Thanksgiving table this year!
Invariably, when I say I’m pouring an Australian riesling an eyebrow or two is lifted, but there’s always a fight over the last splash.
It’s wonderfully bright and acidic with crisp citrus notes, light minerality, and a bone dry finish. The high acidity makes it extremely food friendly, and it makes an excellent porch wine all on its own! It retails for around $15-$16.
So branch out this summer and give this tried and true a try- you won’t regret it.
What are your tried and trues? Have you ever packed wine on a camping trip?
Double up on the anti-oxidant factors in wine and chocolate for an indulgent pairing!
This is a great time to pull out your fortified wines! Ruby Port and Pedro Ximenez Sherry pair beautifully with chocolate!
Champagne + milk chocolate covered strawberries is another classic pairing. Try a rosé sparkling wine to bring out the red berry flavors!
Lambrusco, the slightly effervescent sweet red wine from Italy, is another great option.
If you want to drink local and knock out 2 birds with one stone, try Cooper Vineyard’s Noche Chocolate Wine. This Norton dessert wine infused with chocolate is like a chocolate dessert in a wine glass!
If you prefer to stick to dry red wines, a fruit forward Syrah or Zinfandel is the way to go!
Finally, if beer is more your style, try “The Fix” at Bluejacket, a DC microbrewery.
If you’re still unsure, there are a ton of FREE Valentine’s day wine tastings this weekend around the District!
Paul’s Wine and Spirits will be hosting a sparkling wine & chocolate tasting this evening in Friendship Heights from 5:30-8:00 PM, featuring 12 different wines!
Wagshal’s will be pairing Austrian wines with Godiva Chocolate from 5-7 PM.
There is a Valentine’s Day Showcase at Chat’s Liquors on Saturday 3-6 PM. Be sure to say hi to my former colleague, Jody!
Check back early next week for some great wine events over Valentine’s Day weekend and an exciting giveaway!
Although I love getting dressed up and going out, New Year’s Eve is my absolute least favorite night of the year to do so. The weather is always miserable, transportation a hassle, and places I usually enjoy tend to be jam packed and over-priced.
Last year, we decided to invite a few close friends over to celebrate at home and it was the most fun we’ve ever had! This year, we went for a repeat, and once again had a ball.
A roaring fire, music and a festive table set the tone for a celebratory evening in. I created a simple centerpiece with submerged greenery, berries and a floating candle, pulled out the monogrammed table linens, silver champagne bucket and called it good!
I’m into low-key entertaining that focuses on the food and wine, but couldn’t resist a few simple touches to make an evening in seem a bit more special.
Although I always love starting dinner parties with a sparkling rosé and a charcuterie board, for New Year’s Eve I upped the ante with a Grand Cru Champagne.
Cooking at our house is always a group effort, and we’re fortunate to be friends with some excellent gourmands who always contribute their talents; this year was no exception!
We looked to our collective southern roots- and our new Green Egg- when menu planning. Although last year’s New Year’s meal was a little more high-brow, this year we hickory smoked a pork butt. The traditional sides of collards, black eyed peas and corn bread were also there representing health, wealth, wisdom and luck in 2014.
Although the meal is traditionally eaten on the New Year’s Day, I also enjoyed leftovers. I figure I have 2 helpings of the traditional virtues coming my way in 2014!
We enjoyed red, white, rosé, and the requisite bubbles over the course of the evening.
After enjoying copious amounts of cheese and cured meats, we delved into two Spanish wines from Priorat for the main course.
Although I knew the Menut would stand up nicely to the hickory smoked meat, I wanted to compare it to another vintage, and so I picked up Zaumau from the same region. Guests were split on which was the favorite- some enjoyed the spicier and more fruit forward notes in the younger Menut, and others the slightly more subdued qualities of the latter. It will be interesting to see how the Menut continues to develop as it ages over the next 2-3 years.
For professional comparative reasons, I had a glass of each with my meal;) These hearty reds from Spain stood up nicely to the BBQ and it’s definitely a pairing I would re-create.
For midnight, I decided to go with a large format bottle of Premier Cru Champagne. Although many shy away from large format bottles, there’s something festive about this indulgence (and if you’re going to be consuming multiple bottles, it actually saves a few bucks!). This blanc de blanc was 100% Chardonnay. While I sometimes find these to be a bit one dimensional, the extra time allowed on the lees (or yeast) really rounded the Larmandier-Bernier out with gorgeous notes of champagne toastiness, almond and a fine mousse of bubbles.
Finally, we enjoyed a Late Harvest Petite Manseng from Linden Vineyards; a bottle purchased on our last visit to the esteemed Virginia winery. The sweetness of the dessert wine was balanced by firm acidity and notes of honeyed apricot- absolutely divine in front of the fire and a perfect way to end the evening!
We skipped watching the Times Square ball drop or making resolutions, but the combination of fantastic friends, food and wine made this New Year’s Eve an absolute success!
Did you enjoy any particularly great bottles of bubbly during your celebration? How did you celebrate this year?
Although I’m content to pair bubbly with just about anything (mac & cheese, anyone?), there are a few things worth noting about sparkling wine as we approach New Years Eve.
Just because it has bubbles, does NOT mean it’s called Champagne! (See wine pet peeves for more on this one!)
There are a number of ways to produce sparkling wine- “méthode Champenoise” or “méthode traditionelle” indicate that the wine has undergone a second fermentation, which produces the bubbles naturally. They can also be added through forced air, as is the case with many Proseccos. For a more in depth guide, check out Wine Folly’s excellent breakdown of the different methods!
This study says that drinking Champagne can help improve memory. I’ll drink to that!
The first sparkling wine ever produced was actually a mistake! Thank goodness for happy mistakes!
Although many people claim that Champagne gives worse hangovers than other wine, the alcohol in most sparkling wine is actually lower than in most still wines- generally around 11-12%. If you’re anything like me, it does tend to go down the hatch quickly, making it easy to consume more than you realize. Make sure to hydrate and enjoy your bubbly with food to avoid the dreaded hangover!
Although some bottles of vintage champagne can set you back hundreds of dollars, quality sparkling wine can be enjoyed at almost any price point. See my top picks ranging from $12 to $200 below!
Champalou Vouvray Cuvee des Fondraux is a French sparkler from the Loire Valley made from Chenin Blanc. It is incredibly aromatic with notes of jasmine and honeysuckle with an off dry finish. This food friendly wine retails at just over $20.
Charles Orban Rosé is a great pick for dry rosé fans, offering red fruit aromatics and a dry, lengthy finish. It retails for around $43.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs This sparkler received 91 points from Wine Spectator. The 100% Pinot Noir is full bodied, balanced and elegant- all for less than $20.
Rossinyol Rosé This cava producer uses an aromatic and rare grape called Trepat to produce a lovely dry rosé with notes of strawberry on the nose. This small production Spanish wine retails for just under $20.
GruberRosé This Austrian sparkler is made from the Zweigelt grape. This hard to pronounce varietal goes down easy and isn’t hard on the wallet, either! Lively and crisp, with notes of strawberry and raspberry, this wine retails for under $15!
Moet Imperial offers traditional champagne yeasty notes and excellent acidity for around $45. This wine also received 91 points from Wine Spectator.
Krug Grand Cuvée is what I would choose if I were to splurge on a special bottle. Ringing in at $180, this 97 point wine offers incredible balance, acidity and finish for under $200.
Bohigas Cava is one of my go to cava producers. For those who like their sparklers on the sweeter side, their Semi-Sec fits the bill. Maintaining classic cava crispness, it has just the right amount of residual sugar to satisfy those with a sweet tooth at $18-21.
Voveti Prosecco is a favorite among critics and casual drinkers, alike. Made from the Glera grape, this easy drinking bubbly is aromatic and fruit forward with notes of peach, apricot and pear for around $12-14.
Jansz Premium Cuvée This sparkling wine from Tasmania, Australia is from a lesser known, but fantastic sparkling wine region. Aromatic with notes of honeysuckle, this wine is crisp and acidic on the palette. It retails for around $24.
What is your favorite Sparkling Wine? Do you prefer Champagne? Cava? Prosecco?