Category Archives: champagne

Welcoming Spring With Champagne And Rosé!

Since this is what my kitchen looks like right now, it’s understandable that I am not doing a lot of cooking these days.  We are combining our kitchen and dining room to make one big kitchen.  Very exciting, but I miss cooking!  Should only be a month to six weeks to complete. Thinking about what should be the first meal that I cook in my new kitchen…would love suggestions from my readers!

Fortunately our family and friends have seen to it that we get fed well during our kitchen remodel ~ so thoughtful!

My bubbly sister-in-law took me out to lunch at my favorite neighborhood restaurant River and Rail.  I had the Green Bibb Salad. The reason I love this salad is that the Buttermilk Herb Dressing is in the bottom of the bowl along with Clemson blue (cheese), pistachios, celery, and little chunks of Virginia apple, which helps to distribute the dressing more evenly as you eat the salad.  I look forward to preparing salads that way when I get my kitchen back.   Blue cheese is not my favorite so they substituted Parmesan cheese on my salad, yum! For dessert we enjoyed an ice cream trio ~ Honey Lavender ice cream is pictured on the above left.  Unique and delicious!

My bubbly friend made this beautifully delicious fresh coconut cake for Easter…yum!!! The fresh eggs in the photo above are compliments of my bubbly friends hens.  The hens even colored their eggs for Easter (of course they color their eggs all year round!).

My bubbly friend also made this lovely strawberry appetizer…fresh strawberries halves stuffed with a combination of softened brie cheese, blue cheese and chopped toasted pecans. Delicioso!

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo

Enjoyed this bubbly over the weekend…Ruby Red Grapefruit Rosé SPARKLES!  you will think that you’ve just cut into a fresh ruby-red grapefruit. It’s easy to see why this is all the rage in Paris…lots of tiny bubbles, a lovely light grapefruit flavor with a tee-tiny bit of sweetness. $13 range.

McGah Family Cellars flagship wine is “Scarlett” named after the founder’s daughter.  http://www.scarlettwines.com

“My philosophy is simple: create the most natural and expressive wines California can offer. I believe in allowing the fruit to fully reveal itself in the wines, encouraging the personality and terroir of the vineyards, while showcasing itself to the fullest extent. Thus, allowing the wines to be true to their nature and bringing harmony to the bottle.”  ~  Mike Smith / Winemaker

Another wine we shared with bubbly friends this past weekend was McGah Family Vineyards Scarlett Sauvignon Blanc. Honeydew “green melon” flavors along with notes of honeysuckle, Meyer lemons and lime blossoms.  Clean, crisp finish. $30 range. Excellent pairing with Thai food.

Easter Wine!

Notes from The Champagne Guide 2014-2015:

Laurent-Perrier macarates its rosé for 12-72 hours, depending on fruit ripeness, until the color is fixed and the aroma resembles freshly picked raspberries.  So crucial is timing, legend has it that the first Chef de Cave, Edouard Leclerc, slept by the tank to stop it just in time! This wine has achieved that elusive ideal of volume and finesse, the world’s best-selling rosé champagne epitomizes the ultra-restraint of  rosé’s finest expressions.  All the more remarkable for the challenging  saignée method.

One of the first times that we served this delightful rosé, one of our guests exclaimed “Oh! Easter Wine!” She explained that her mother always liked to serve wine that matched her pink dining room drapes on Easter Sunday (White Zinfandel Wine). We all got quite a giggle over that story and we continue to call this  Rosé Brut “Easter Wine” to this day.

 Perfect for Spring sippin’ because it is so nice and light.  A grenache/cinsault/syrah rosé  blend.  $15 range. Very fresh with notes of strawberries, peaches and rose petals. I love this bottle…the base of which is cast into the impression of a full rose flower.

My bubbly friend introduced me to Noosa Blackberry Serrano Yogurt. Served with fresh blackberries it made a perfectly yummy healthy dessert.  Just the right amount of sweet and just the right amount of heat.

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Lovin’ Local Spring Greens and Rosé Champagne!

Christina Nifong, Culinary Instructor, Food Writer and Blogger Extraordinaire!

Local For Lunch: Welcoming Spring!

Christina’s culinary classes include lunch she creates out of local ingredients, many of them right out of her own garden!

Please visit Christina’s website and subscribe to her newsletter where she shares lots of her cooking and gardening expertise and fabulous recipes:  http://christinanifong.com

Christina’s Local For Lunch classes at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op are always colorful!  Pictured above Radicchio (a type leaf chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory.  It is grown as a leaf vegetable which usually has white-veined red leaves. It has a slightly bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when it is grilled or roasted) that is sold at the Co-op.  Rainbow carrots mixed with radishes (from Christina’s garden) are in the middle photo and fresh mint from Christina’s garden is pictured at the right.

Christina introduced us to kale flowers for salad.  The kale in her garden had bolted and bloomed so she cut the flowers and chopped them up to add to the lovely green salad she made for us.

Another delicious salad ingredient that Christina introduced us to is Black Rice sometimes known as “Forbidden Rice”.  I love Christina’s recipe. She cooked the rice in vegetable broth and added about 1 tablespoon (to one cup uncooked rice) coconut oil to the rice while it was cooking. These flavors made the rice taste rich and yummy. She served the rice cold to serve alongside our salad greens.

Black rice is an ancient grain that was once reserved for only Chinese royalty.  It contains many healthy elements including disease-fighting antioxidants.

After attending Christina’s classes I have gained more respect and love for fresh seasonal produce, but I must admit, I still LOVE the dressing!  My favorite part of this class was Christina’s Poppy Seed Dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing

by christinanifong

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion (about a quarter of a large onion)
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey (local if you can get it)
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola or avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, using the knife blade, chop onion, with salt, until ingredients are ground into a liquidy paste.
  2. Add vinegar, honey and mustard. Process until all is well-mixed.
  3. Mix two oils together in a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout. Slowly (so slowly!) pour oil into the food processor while processing. The slower you go, the better incorporated the oil will be with the other ingredients.
  4. Add poppy seeds and mix gently. Pour salad dressing into an air-tight container (such as a Mason jar) and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. If dressing separates, shake to recombine.

Another fun find at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op:  Lacinato Kale or “black cabbage” in Italian is well-known in Italian cuisine. Slightly sweeter and more delicate than curly kale. This is the green that we see so often in Italian soups and pastas.

It’s always nice to celebrate Spring with a little rosé bubbly.  We popped open a bottle of Paul Déthune Brut Rosé this weekend. 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay grapes.  Absolutely delightful with notes of wild strawberry, peach and Meyer lemon. Very fine mousse. $50 range.

We also had the opportunity to taste Lagard Altas Cumbres Extra Brut 2013 from Mendoza, Argentina this weekend.  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sémillon blend prepared under the Charmat (tank) method. Young, fresh and fruity with light citrus and apricot flavors. A fun little sparkling wine for casual sipping in the $10 range.

We toasted our kitchen remodel (kitchen and dining room demolition completed, next step is plumbing and electrical) with Champagne Lelarge-Pugeot Les Meuniers de Clemence NV.  Look what we found in the wall ~ Garst Brothers Dairy paper milk container.  This container has probably been in the wall since our house was built in 1952.

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The “C Food Groups”…Coffee, Chocolate and Champagne!

A very bubbly friend of mine gave me this “Coffee Mug”.  I love it!

 I recently attended a specialty coffee class taught by:

 and I couldn’t wait to share what I learned about coffee and coffee brewing with my readers. After all I love all of the “C” food groups… Coffee, Champagne, Chocolate!

Fun facts I learned in “Coffee School”…Red Rooster Coffee Tasting Room & Lab, 1116 Main Street, Roanoke, Virginia:

  1. Coffee is the second largest commodity in the world ~ second only to crude oil.
  2. Philip Hatter is the Account Manager and Coffee Tasting Room & Lab Manager for Red Rooster Coffee.  Their coffee is roasted in Floyd, Virginia. The lab serves to increase brand awareness of Red Rooster Coffee and have a place to train baristas that work in local coffee houses. Hatter offers coffee classes ($25) to the general public that help determine the best roast for your palate as well as teach us the proper way to brew coffee.

  1. Barista is the Italian word for “Bartender” and is used to address a male or female who is behind the counter preparing your cup of coffee.
  2. It was exciting to have a celebrated barista teaching us how to brew the perfect cup of coffee. Philip is so skilled at his craft that he won a place at the national coffee competition in Seattle, Washington and he will compete next month.  If he wins the national title he will go to Budapest to try out for the world title. The competition involves a blind tasting (barista prepares 3 cups of coffee for 3 judges behind a curtain and the judges give the coffee a score based on taste alone).  Then the barista prepares 3 cups of coffee for 3 judges in front of the judges and the audience. Those cups of coffee are judged on how well the barista explains the preparation process as well as the taste of the coffee.
  3. During training sessions for baristas, Philip asks them to “Honor what has come before you when you brew a pot of coffee”.  Honor the work that has been done by the grower and the roaster by taking time to brew the coffee correctly. Philip carefully walked through the six elements of good brewing. He shared the importance of the proper water temperature and he used a kitchen scale to measure the ground coffee (not a scoop!) He recommends grinding the coffee beans right before brewing because coffee starts to lose its flavor 15 minutes after grinding.
  4. One of Red Rooster’s coffees ~ “Hambella” ~ won a “Good Food Award” in San Francisco this year. http://www.goodfoodawards.org/winners/
  5. Naturally my thoughts turned to wine and the commonalities of the coffee and wine experiences. Coffee, just like wine is effected by terroir…the natural environment (soil, climate, topography)  in which the wine is produced. These factors make the flavor of the coffee unique and those flavors cannot be reproduced anywhere else.

One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate and coffee…

 This Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake tastes like a rich, chewy, decadent chocolate brownie.  Super  easy to make and it’s gluten-free!

https://www.landolakes.com/recipe/18242/flourless-chocolate-espresso-cake/

The champagne pairing for this lovely chocolate cake …a Grand Champagne…

Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle

 This Champagne is a blend of three excellent  harvests: 20% 1999, 20% 2000 and  60% 2002. It is 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and all the fruit comes entirely from Grand Cru villages in Champagne. Soft, elegant and balanced with notes of black currant and creamy marzipan and apple.  Tiny consistent bubbles dance up the flute.  $125 range.

And just for fun here’s some other bubbly we’ve enjoyed recently:

1995 de Venoge Champagne Brut Louis XV

Presented in a beautiful crystal bottle. Bright with green apple, hazelnut and brioche notes. Tiny consistent bubbles in the glass.  De Venoge produced this champagne in honor of King Louis XV, who first decreed the bottling of Champagne in the region to preserve the bubbles (prior to this time wine was transported in wood barrels which resulted in flat champagne since most all of the gas would escape through the wood).

This champagne comes with a lovely glass stopper that matches the champagne bottle so after the champagne is gone the bottle becomes a beautiful glass decanter.  $195 range.

Each bottle of Krug champagne has an ID number on it. I reviewed the notes about our bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée at krug.com and here’s what I found:

Received its cork in August, 2013.

Blend is 142 wines from 11 different years.

Oldest wine is 1990.

Youngest wine is 2006.

$215 range.

Notes on this bottle by: Eric Lebel, Chef de Caves, Maison Krug

This bottle left the Krug cellars to receive its cork in automn 2013. This is the last step after more than six years of ageing in the cellars to acquire finesse and elegance. This bottle is an extraordinary blend of 142 wines from 11 different years, the oldest from 1990 and the youngest from 2006. Every glass of this bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée is the fruit of more than 22 years of craft and patience. Reserve wines lend structure and depth to this season’s harvest which seemed to be somewhat too homogeneous. It is this year’s wines of many plots from the villages of Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize and Villers Marmery which provide the shine and minerality to the blend. Blending many years gives Krug Grande Cuvée its unique fullness of flavours and aromas, incredible generosity and an absolute elegance that are impossible to express with the wines of just a single year. Krug Grande Cuvée is re-created each year beyond the notion of vintage. Every year, we recreate from scratch the multitude of facets that do not compete on the palate, but instead form a perfect harmony, the main characteristic of Krug Grande Cuvée. Its myriad aromas make Krug Grande Cuvée the richest of them all. Its generosity means that everyone can find something in it that stirs the emotions. 

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The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler” ~ The Drink of 1928!

The Sparkling Maraschino Cherry “Cobbler”

One of my favorite books is “The Bon Vivant’s Companion or How To Mix Drinks” by Professor Jerry Thomas, Formerly Principal Bartender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and at the Planters’ House, St. Louis. This book was published in 1928.

This book bubbles over with fun…lovely cocktails that have all but disappeared from our 21st century cocktail lexicon as well as our palates…juleps, flips, fizzes, shrubs, daisies, toddies and YES COBBLERS!!!

As the weather gets warmer and Spring is getting ready to SPRING…I am falling in love with Cobblers:

Like the julep, this delicious potation is an American invention, although it is now a favorite in all warm climates.  The cobbler does not require much skill in compounding, but to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as to the palate, it is necessary to display some taste in ornamenting the glass after the beverage is made. (source:  “The Bon Vivant’s Companion”)

 Champagne Cobbler!

Up to 2 or 3 days prior to making the cobbler:  Place 12 frozen dark sweet cherries in 1/4 cup Maraschino Cherry Liqueur in a covered container in the refrigerator.  (Use pitted fresh sweet cherries when in season.)

For the cocktail:

In a martini glass combine 1 teaspoon Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon Triple Sec. Stir lightly to combine.  Add a few crushed ice cubes. Pour sparkling wine (or champagne) over the liqueur. Garnish with Maraschino Liqueur soaked cherries and a few fresh blackberries.  

Traditionally the Cobbler is served in a tumbler with shaved ice and sipped through a straw. Here’s “The Bon Vivant’s Companion” recipe for Champagne Cobbler:

Champagne Cobbler

One bottle of wine to four large bar glasses

 One tablespoon of sugar

One piece each of orange and lemon peel

Fill the tumbler one-third full with shaved ice, and fill balance with wine; ornament in a tasty manner with berries in season.  This beverage should be sipped through a straw.

 

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LeLarge Pugeot Champagne ~ The Bloom Experience

lelarge-champagne

While traveling down the Champagne Trail in the Champagne Region of France, we were told that the accepted protocol is if the champagne house gates are open then the owners are prepared to greet guests with a champagne tasting.  We were very happy we took this advice because that was how we discovered the Champagne LeLarge-Pugeot Winery, in the village of Vrigny, not far from Reims.  Dominique LeLarge and his wife Dominique Pugeot are the seventh generation owners of this winery.   In 1987 when they took over, the former LeLarge winery became Champagne LeLarge-Pugeot. In 2012, the 8th generation joined the team, and their daughter Clemence began as the Global Brand Ambassador. The LeLarge-Pugeot family is passionate about their sustainable and organic wine production:

 http://champagnelelarge-pugeot.fr/tale.html

https://www.facebook.com/LelargePugeot/

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Dominique LeLarge and his wife Dominique Pugeot

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Some bubbly friends of ours recently surprised us with a bottle of Lelarge Pugeot Quintessence Premier Cru Brut!  This champagne is made of  70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, and 10% Pinot Meunier grapes.

Made from 50-year-old vines, this is a fine wine with a steely minerality. Partial fermentation in oak gives it complexity without detracting from its elegant fruitiness. A hint of buttered toast compliments the floral and white fruit notes. Delightful!

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 Dominque and Dominque are always thinking of sustaining the “wine growing” process for the next generation.  As they explain, “We do not make wine, we grow wine and we pay attention to every single step of viticulture and winemaking in order to elaborate natural Champagnes that reflect the taste of the terroir and our know-how.”  In 2010, Champagne-Lelarge Pugeot began its shift to organic farming. Among the new organic alternatives, Dominique uses only trace elements, sulfur and copper against vines related diseases. They use horses to plough in some plots in order to fight the compaction of the soil. It was amazing to see the size of these stately horses (this horse was named “Ursula”) as they ploughed the earth between the rows of grape vines.

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One of my favorite things on our visit to the winery ~ meeting “Dixie” the family’s Australian Shepard. Wherever we went in the vineyard Dixie was always a few steps ahead of us, proudly showing us her vineyard!

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LeLarge-Pugeot Winery was the first place I observed roses blooming at the end of each row of grape vines. Roses and grape vines are susceptible to the same diseases.  Roses are planted at the end of the rows of grapes vines so that the winemaker can be alerted to any disease or stress on the roses which will signal them to take precautions to protect the grape vines from disease.

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As we walked through the vineyard Dominique called to me to stop and take a deep breath. As I did, the most wonderful whiff of blooming Pinot Noir greeted me. We were fortunate to be in the vineyard during the short week called “Bloom”. That is the time when the baby grape clusters actually flower, get fertilized and begin their adventure to become full-grown grapes. A subtle, very light fruity aroma. I shall never forget that lovely moment standing in the sunshine breathing in that delightful scent.

Visiting LeLarge Pugeot Champagne House was pure serendipity.

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ROSÉ CHAMPAGNES AND BUBBLIES YOU WILL LOVE FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!

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Happy Valentine’s Day February 14, 2017!
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Rose Petal Stiletto on our table at the Taubman Museum of Art 2016 Women’s Luncheon

So many bubbly rosé choices to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your love…here’s a sampling…expensive to affordable…

(Champagne prices listed in this blog may vary from the readers local stores and on-line sources.)

Rosé Champagne—A pink version of champagne, most often made by the blending of a little red wine with normally vinified white wine. Champagne is the only appellation in France that is allowed to blend red and white wine together. Rosé champagne can also be made with the saignée method, which involves macerating the juice on the grape skins in order to impart color.

http://www.champagneguide.net/information/glossary

If money is no object ~ $200 +

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  Krug Rosé Champagne NV

The Champagne Guide 2014-2015 rates Krug Rosé Champagne 98 points with these notes:

Pinot Noirs from the best vines in Ay are treated to a short fermentation on skins and then blended with pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay fermented in small oak casks as white wine, before aging for a minimum of five years in bottle.

Its ethereal restraint and delicate air seems a paradox in the grand decadence of Krug, but such is the detailed intricacy of this medium salmon-tinted cuvée that it dances with light-footed grace on a stage of epic complexity.  Absolute restraint and taut freshness of strawberry hull, white cherry, red apple and lemon zest slowly unravel to nuances of anise and mixed spice.  An impeccable acid profile and pinpont bead define a remarkable finish of mind-blowing seamlessness, impeccable line and unrelenting persistence.  Most thrilling of all, its minerality is all encompassing, mouth-embracing and emphatically chalk-infused.

My notes on this beautiful champagne which we enjoyed on our anniversary were, well, to be honest, I was so blown away by actually tasting such a fine champagne that I did not take extensive notes.  My husband clearly remembers that I remarked repeatedly “I love this bubbly”!

That magical evening I served one of my favorite Ina Garten appetizers ~ Lobster Salad on Belgium Endive:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lobster-salad-in-endive-recipe.html

$80 – $90 range:

rose-champagne-bellecart-salmon1

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV ~ Wine Spectator rated this rosé champagne “92” with these notes:“Finely meshed and elegant, with mouth-watering acidity and a satiny texture carrying the delicate flavors of ripe raspberry, lemon shortbread, chalk and fresh ginger. Offers a clean, minerally finish. Drink now through 2020.”   

$70 – $80 range:

champagne-rose-1

 Laurent-Perrier  Cuvée Rosé Brut NV

Notes from The Champagne Guide 2014-2015:

Laurent-Perrier macarates its rosé for 12-72 hours, depending on fruit ripeness, until the color is fixed and the aroma resembles freshly picked raspberries.  So crucial is timing, legend has it that the first Chef de Cave, Edouard Leclerc, slept by the tank to stop it just in time! This wine has achieved that elusive ideal of volume and finesse, the world’s best-selling rosé champagne epitomizes the ultra-restraint of  rosé’s finest expressions.  All the more remarkable for the challenging  saignée method.

One of the first times that we served this delightful rosé, one of our guests exclaimed “Oh! Easter Wine!” She explained that her mother always liked to serve wine that matched her pink dining room drapes on Easter Sunday (White Zinfandel Wine). We all got quite a giggle over that story and we continue to call this  Rosé Brut “Easter Wine” to this day.

I paired this lovely champagne with slices of cucumber lightly spread with mascarpone cheese (cream cheese may be substituted) topped with smoked salmon and a dusting of fresh dill with a sprinkle of Old Bay Seasoning.

$60 – $70 Range  (price based on non-vintage)

veuve-rose-champagne

Veuve Clicquot Rosé NV 

50 to 55% Pinot Noir, 15 to 20% Pinot Meunier, and 28 to 33% Chardonnay. My notes: silky on the tongue, beautiful fine bubbles, lively black cherry and raspberry fruit and rich brioche.

Wine Spectator rates this rosé “91” with these notes:  “Bright and expressive, with mouth-watering acidity and refined texture, layered with black cherry, spiced plum, almond skin, honey and candied ginger notes. Shows lovely balance, offering a lasting finish of smoky mineral. Drink now through 2020.”

$45 – $50 range

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Argyle Brut Rosé Willamette Valley 2011

Wine Spectator tasting notes:  Argyle Brut Rosé Willamette Valley 2011. Light and refreshing, a refined style, with finesse to the balance of fruit and savory notes as the finish dances. Rated 91.

My tasting notes:

A lovely sparkling offering from Oregon. Tiny bubbles dance around the glass.  Pretty pale pink salmon color.  The first sip explodes with fresh ripe cherry flavors.  A blend of 70% pinot noir and 25% pinot meunier with a splash of chardonnay. The finish is creamy but with a little tingle on the tongue. This sparkly is well deserving of its 91 points. Cheers!

$25 – $30 range

charles-duret-champagne

 Charles Duret Cremant De Bourgogne Rosé

 This French sparkling wine is made using the traditional method or Méthode Traditionnelle used in Champagne. Lovely small consistent bubbles. A touch of brioche in the wine’s bouquet,  followed by aromas of blackcurrants and redcurrants.

$18 – $20 range:

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Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé

Rosé Vino Spumante Brut

I readily admit I am a sucker for a pretty wine label.  The Cleto Chiarli with its fancy label and frilly script pulled me right in.  Pretty pink in the glass. This sparkling is a wonderful value and a very enjoyable rosé  for relaxing sippin’.

Blend of Grasparossa and Pinot Nero grapes.  Raspberry and Strawberry notes are no surprise in this wine. The real surprise is the smooth finish…no acidic bite or tannins at the end of the sip…just a touch of refreshing lingering lemon at the very end.

After I purchased this bottle, chilled it and was sipping on it, I opened the Sunday, June 18, 2016 issue of the Wall Street Journal (thank you to my bubbly friend who always saves WSJ wine articles for me!) and found the article 20 Splendid Summer Wines – All Under $20.  The very wine I was sipping was recommended in this article:  The Emilia-Romagna region of Italy is as famous for Lambrusco as it is for cheese, though its Parmigiano-Reggiano may get more respect – or at least recognition – and that’s a shame.  A dry, frothy red like this is compulsively drinkable and great with food.  Serve well-chilled.  

$15 – $18 range:

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Graham Beck Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine

Wine Spectator notes:  “Soft and friendly, with good cherry and watermelon notes and an easygoing finish. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.”   A blend of 59%, Pinot Noir and 41% Chardonnay.

My notes: Sparkling wine from South Africa. Inexpensive but drinkable.  Nice, consistent tiny bubbles in the glass.  Later in the year this will be a fun “porch sittin’ sparkly” (Southern for “sitting on the porch drinking sparkling wine in the sunshine”!)

$17 range:

champagne-aivery

Aimery Crémant Brut

‘Crémant’ sparkling wines are made using the same method as Champagne and with strict regulations around ageing. Ribbons of bubbles and sparkling notes of berries just like your favorite champagne, without breaking the bank.  Delicate, fresh with a long, mouth-filling finish. The color of this sparkling blushes just slightly and  tiny bubbles consistently rise to the top of glass.

$15 range:

rivarosa-sparkling-rose

Royal Provence Rivarose Brut Rosé

One of my favorites in this price range. The lacy label is so pretty! Produced in the southern Rhône Valley, fresh with notes of raspberry made from Syrah and Grenache grapes.

Here’s an article from LA Weekly with fun Pink Sparkling Wine suggestions for Valentine’s Day:

http://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/top-5-pink-sparkling-wines-for-valentines-day-or-any-day-really-2378218

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heart-fountain-amsterdam

Rose kind of day

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Moët And Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne NV Magnum

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Moët and Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne NV Magnum

Elegant with notes of ripe pear, just a touch of citrus and lightly toasted brioche. Fine creamy mousse. Made from 50% Pinot Noir, 10% Chardonnay and 40%Pinot Meunier grapes. This bubbly is one of the largest-selling champagnes in the world.  I could sip on this lovely champagne all day.

As we are describing champagne, it is interesting to note that the term “bouquet” refers to the total scent of the wine, “aroma” is the scent of the grapes. The bouquet and the aroma together are referred to as the “nose”.

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Champagne bottle sizes (left to right):

Jeroboam: Equals 4 standard bottles or 24 (4 oz.) glasses

Magnum: Equals 2 standard bottles or 12 (4 oz.) glasses

Standard: Equals 6 (4 oz.) glasses

Split:  Equals 1/4 standard bottle or 2 (4 oz.) glasses.

The bottles get even larger than a Jeroboam…a Rehoboam equals six; a Methuselah equals eight; a Salmanazar equals 12; a Balthazar equals 16; and a Nebuchadnezzar equals 20 regular bottles of Champagne.

Many champagne bottle sizes were inspired by Biblical characters. For example:

-Jeroboam: “First King of The Kingdom”
-Methuselah: “Oldest Man”
-Salmanzar: “Assyrian King”
-Balthazar: “One of The Wise Men”
-Nebuchadnezzar: “King of Babylon”
-Solomon: “King Solomon, the wisest of all men, built the Temple in Jerusalem”
-Melchizede: “Name of several priesthoods in different religions including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”

Winston Churchill had a champagne bottle size named after him. “The Winston Churchill” bottle was produced by Pol Roger (Churchill’s favorite champagne) and held 20 ounces of champagne, perfect for Churchill’s breakfast consumption.
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