Category Archives: rosé

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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Poutine Poppers, Butter Chicken Spring Rolls…Appetizers In 10 Minutes!

As we head towards the lazy days of summer,  I am always looking for ways to get out of the kitchen and outside to the deck to visit with my guests.  Trade in my spatula for a glass of wine and reeeeelax. I have always been a proponent of homemade appetizers since frozen appetizers are usually tasteless and boring. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Private Selection frozen appetizers at Kroger that are actually quite delicious.  http://www.privateselection.com/about-us/

The Poutine Poppers are cheese curds, shredded potato and rich gravy in a deliciously crispy potato breading.  These little pops of yummyness are inspired by the rich flavors of Quebec cuisine.

So what the heck is “Quebec Cuisine”? From Wikipedia:

In Quebec, Poutine are French Fries topped with gravy and cheese curds.

Quebec’s traditional cuisine is as rich and diverse as the province of Quebec itself. The historical context of ‘traditional’ Quebec cuisine is from the fur trade period, and many dishes have a high fat content. The strongest influences on traditional Quebec cuisine come from the cuisines of France and Ireland.  

Crispy without frying!

Butter Chicken Spring Rolls are inspired by the fragrant flavors of India and East Asia.  Beginning with chicken, vegetables and sweet and creamy Butter Chicken Sauce, this unexpected twist on the classic spring roll is a perfect way to add global flavor to your entertaining.

The Hatch Chili and Cheese Puffs (16 count) came in their own little bake-able tray (to help keep their shape) and took 25 minutes to bake. Buttery puff pastries filled with rich cream cheese and Monterrey Jack cheese blended with hot Hatch chilies and green chilies.  These little puffs do have a little bit of a bite to them!

This Notorious Pink Rosé wine was a very nice compliment to the Hatch Chili and Cheese Puffs.   The Notorious Pink is a Grenache Rosé with lovely strawberry notes.  I love the pink glass top and the wine has a very light pink tint as it is poured into the glass. $19 range.

And the Swan Song for the oven in my current kitchen before starting remodeling tomorrow…will it be Duck à l’Orange, Beef Wellington perhaps?  No…Tater Tots!  ( Alexia Garlic and Black Pepper Potato Puffs from Fresh Market which are actually yummy for a quick treat.)  http://www.alexiafoods.com/products/potatoes/crispy-seasoned-potato-puffs

Photo of the inside of a ruby-red tulip that greeted me on my walk this morning.

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¡Cava! Me Encanta El Vino Español

Last week I enjoyed a Spanish wine tasting at our local wine shop:  Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.  https://www.facebook.com/mrbillswinecellar/

Spanish Wines ~ Lots to Love!

 I found a new favorite and renewed acquaintances with a couple of old favorites.

Senda Verde Albariño

My new favorite:  Senda Verde Albariño. This bright freshness of this wine reminds me of another of my favorite wines:  the Vinho Verde wines from Portugal.

Notes from Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar: Senda Verde is a collection of artisanal wines from unique regions in northern Spain that follow the 43° N parallel, stretching from coastal Galicia eastward along the northern coastline.  In contrast to the rest of Spain, this area is lush and green from oceanic and geologic influences.  The region is referred to as “España Verde” (Green Spain). The grapes are sourced from the vineyards situated in the Salnés Valley and the ORosal area, within the D.O. Rias Baixas appellation. Vines are arranged in the “emparrado” and “trellis” systems. Bright and aromatically complex, notes of ripe apricot, apple and wild flowers. Fresh and crisp with persistent lush textures on the palate. The finish is fruity and with mineral nuances.  Aged on the lees for 4 months. $13 – $15 range.

Here’s a couple of links about Spanish wines and more specifically Albariño:

https://www.facebook.com/WinesfromSpain/

http://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/spanishfoodwine/global/products-recipes/products/more-about-products/do-rias-baixas-where-small-plots-rule.html

Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad

My favorite Cava!  With the pewter base and family crest on the bottle…so pretty in a gift basket.  And now I’ve made the connection…the producer, Segura Viudas, is part of the Freixenet family of wines that includes Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma which is one of my favorite California sparkling wines.  The non-vintage Reserva Heredad is the label’s top offering, made only from 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada grapes.  Aromas of smoke and honey and flavors of apples, dried fruit, and nuts. Creamy and crisp, it finishes clean and bright. Perfect pairing with almonds and walnuts to begin the meal. $30 range.

Juvé y Camps Pinot Noir Cava

100% pinot noir, this pretty pink sparkler has notes of strawberry, warm bread and rose petals.  Very fruit forward and a bit too much minerality  for my taste, but I’ve  heard great reviews about it from others who drink a lot of Cava.  Fine bubbles and a long, creamy finish.  $17 range

2014 Vega Sindoa ~ El Chaparral (Old Vines)

This was my favorite red in the tasting because it had notes of raspberry at the beginning that remind my of Pinot Noir.

Notes from Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar:  Although the Valley of Valdizarbe has always been considered one of the best areas of production in Navarra and viticulture there is centuries-old, it almost disappeared due to the depressed prices of grapes and extreme weather conditions. This winery is one of the first to bring the vineyards back to the valley by the hands of an energetic winemaker, Concha Vecino.  This is a wine made from old vine Garnacha, between 70 & 100+ years old, from 40 parcels on the hills that surround Añorbe.  Floral qualities add complexity to the nose and fade into the red berry aromas, which continue on the palate. The wine has terrific body, good acidity and underlying, earthy minerality. Aged in French oak for nine months.  ~ 91 points Robert Parker  $16 – $20 range.

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“Sex” From Michigan ~ Seriously Fun Sparkling Wine!

10 Pleasant Surprises About M. Lawrence “Sex” Dry Rosé:
  1. This bubbly is from Michigan…wine from this state is new to me.   I did not expect to like it, but I was pleasantly surprised.  My husband said it tasted a bit like hard apple cider ~ that may be one reason I like it so much.
  2. Beautiful pink color…looks so pretty in the flute. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grape blend.
  3. “Sex” costs less than $20 per bottle.
  4. Although this sparkling is made using the cuve close method, also known as the Tank Method or Charmat Method it still has lots of baby fine bubbles consistently racing to the top of the glass.
  5. There is a website dedicated to Michigan Wines:  http://www.michiganbythebottle.com.  Written by Shannon and Cortney Casey, certified sommeliers and suburban Detroiters who adore Michigan wine. Their website includes information about L. Mawby, the winery that makes the M. Lawrence “Sex” Dry Rosé: http://lmawby.com.
  6. L. Mawby winery,located on Leelanau Peninsula,  produces sparkling wines exclusively. The winemaker describes the wine making process as:

Our wines are living things, raised with care, giving voice to our joie de vivre 

(translated from French “joy of living”).

     7.  This bubbly reminds me of Michigan State cherries…a hint of cherry in the wine, but not so              much as to make it sweet or overly cherry tasting, just a touch to make it pretty pink, fresh and          lively along with the crisp apple notes.

     8.  The bottles are numbered, adding a little fun to the wine drinking experience.

     9.  Here’s the link to the story of how “Sex” got it’s name:        http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-sexy-sparkling-wine-has-interesting-history.

    10. “Sex” is light and fresh… more of a sippin’ sparkling wine than a food pairing wine.   Bubbly for a frolicking fun time…

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Chocolate And Sparkling Wine Pairings For Valentine’s Day!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

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Valentine table on set of WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge Television…

Chocolate and Champagne Pairing

All sparkling wines listed in this post are under $20 per bottle!

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RIVAROSE in Salon de Provence …  The lacy label is so pretty! Produced in the southern Rhône Valley, fresh with notes of strawberry and raspberry made from Syrah and Grenache grapes.

Love pink sparkly wine for Valentine’s Day!

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Duc d’O White Chocolate Truffles with Strawberry ~ perfect pairing with RIVAROSE!

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 Pierre Sparr Crémant Brut Réserve

Cremant is where it’s at! The word refers to sparkling wines made in France that come from specific regions; specifically NOT from Champagne. Cremants are a great way to start to learn the rules of which grapes grow in which regions: Cremant d’Alsace (Pinot Blanc), Cremant de Bourgogne (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Cremant de Loire (Chenin Blanc), Cremant de Limoux (Mauzac!), and on and on and on. Oftentimes, you’re getting similar quality and on-par deliciousness without the scary price tags that come with Champagne.” —Theresa Paopao (Ribelle) Boston, MA

Notes of biscotti, almond, lemon make this sparkling wine a perfect pairing with Baylee’s Best Lemonade Chocolates (tastes like you are biting into a fresh lemon dipped in rich dark chocolate).

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Chandon Rosé

The strawberry and ripe cherry flavors in this California sparkling wine pair perfectly with Fine Champagne Truffles and Milk Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries.

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valentine

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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:

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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:

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 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)

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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

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 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:

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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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Think Pink! Watermelon Radish Pickles

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Watermelon Radish Pickles!

These pickles take 3 days in the refrigerator to “pickle”. Serve them as an accompaniment to salads and sandwiches. I served them with roasted vegetables for an extra “pop” of sweet and sour flavor. Love these pickles on Avocado Toast (toasted baguette slices topped with a smear of  ripe avocado, chopped tomato, minced red onion, chopped watermelon pickles – and any other topping you like…drizzle of balsamic vinegar, sautéed red bell peppers, grilled corn off the cob, feta cheese, crumbled ricotta salata…)

2 large watermelon radishes, washed, brown spots and any tough parts of rind trimmed off then sliced thin on a mandolin

1/2 red onion, sliced thin on mandolin

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons super fine sugar

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon mixed pickling spice

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons raspberry balsamic vinegar

Place watermelon radish and red onion slices in non-metal container (metal container will give pickles a metal taste) with tight-fitting lid.

Mix together super fine sugar, red wine vinegar, salt, mixed pickling spice,  whole black peppercorns, garlic and raspberry balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over the watermelon radish and red onion slices. Cover tightly and shake container to disperse the vinegar mixture over the radish and onion slices.  Place in the refrigerator, shaking the container once a day, for three days. Note: sugar, garlic and black peppercorn amounts can be adjusted according to taste.  If you like a sweeter pickle, add more sugar; if you like a less spicy pickle add less garlic and black peppercorns.

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Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé

Rosé Vino Spumante Brut

  Pretty pink in the glass. This sparkling is a wonderful value and a very enjoyable rosé.

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.

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Blushing Bride Amaryllis

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Pink Hyacinth

 tulips

I love receiving beautiful Spring flowers in the middle of winter, like these gorgeous pink tulips, from my bubbly friends!

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