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Category Archives: sparkling wine

Everything Happens For A Riesling…German Wine Tasting

Napkin Riesling

Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany.

german prost

CHEERS!

German wine

I recently had the pleasure of attending a German wine tasting at my favorite local wine shop “Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar”…mrbillswinecellar.com

When we think of German Riesling,  don’t automatically think “sweet”…think “apples and peaches and freshness” instead.  And definitely think wine and food pairing because these wines are fabulous with food ~ especially the spicy cuisines of Thailand and India. Fabulous with German fare too…spicy sausages, hearty pork dishes…

german sparkling

I purchased this bottle to take home…2013 Hansen-Lauer Reisling Brut SEKT b. A.  $20 range.  Fresh apple and peach notes with Mosel minerality. Dry yet fruity,  refreshingly effervescent. I found this sparkling to be a better food pairing wine than a sipping wine.   Pair with shrimp, tempura or Thai food.

shrimp

My favorite sips from the wine tasting:

2013 Heinz Eifel Riesling Auslese.  $18 range.  Sun-riped grapes resulting in a “buttery touch of sweetness” that reminded me of chardonnay. Luscious with a long finish.  This wine would be lovely paired with Thai food.

german wine seebrich

2014 Seebrich Riesling Spatlese.  Notes of apricot. Rich with minerality that is high enough that it gives the impression that the wine has a little effervescent spritz. Smooth finish.  $19 range.

german dessert wine

2015 Heinz Eifel Beerenauslese.  $25 range. Nice dessert wine with peach and nectarine notes. Not too syrupy.  made from hand-selected individual grapes that have been affected by ‘noble rot’, a fungus that dehydrates the grapes  and adds a rich honey flavor to the wines. Pair with stone fruit desserts or blue cheese. 

german snacks

Here’s a link to Food and Wine 15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairings:

http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/15-rules-great-wine-and-food-pairings?xid=NL_WINELIST081517&utm_source=foodandwine.com&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wine-list&utm_content=2017081512PM

Food and Wine recommends pairing off-dry Riesling with sweet and spicy dishes:  The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes.

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These potatoes are on FIRE! Sparkling Wine Quenches The Heat

This morning I decided to include Potatoes Picante on my Sunday brunch menu.  This spicy Spanish red sauce on top of crispy potatoes is on FIRE with the addition of cayenne pepper.  It can be as spicy as you like it depending on how much cayenne pepper you add…and a tiny pinch of this spice goes a long way! 

Potatoes Picante

For the Picante Sauce:

2 large tomatoes (preferably fresh out of the garden for the best flavor)

12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped into very small pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 pinches cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika

2 tablespoons butter

For the potatoes:

3 Russet potatoes, peeled.

2 cups Vegetable oil

To prepare the sauce:  Cut the tomatoes in half.  Place a box grater in a bowl.  Grate the cut side of each tomato so that the tomato pulp falls into the bowl.   Discard the tomato skin.

Place the olive oil in a pan and warm it gently over low heat. Add the tomato pulp, chopped red peppers, sugar, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper to the olive oil.  Stir to combine all ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until butter is melted. Return sauce to heat and keep warm over very low heat while preparing the potatoes.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then cut each half in half again, making 4 strips of potato. Cut each strip into 4 pieces which will make cubes of approximately one inch.  Put the vegetable oil in a deep frypan and heat until sizzling. Carefully add potatoes in one layer and fry over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Check to make sure the potatoes are tender and continue to fry for 5 more minutes until potatoes are crispy and lightly browned.  Remove potatoes from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the oil off the potatoes.  Sprinkle with a little salt if desired.

Serve warm potatoes on small plates drizzled with the picante sauce. Buen Provecho!

bubbly

I paired the potatoes with Charles Bove Sparkling Wine…tiny bubbles dancing in the flute, the pairing tasted “buttery” to me which was quite pleasing to the palate. The bubbles are created by  long-aging on its yeast via methode traditionnelle practice of secondary fermentation in the bottle.  This dry and festive wine is made from grapes primarily grown in he superb white chalk soils of the central Loire Valley.  Nothing fancy, just light and refreshing. $15 range.

Later I will quench the summer heat at Blue Cow Ice Cream Shop. Homemade ice cream in Roanoke Virginia! bluecowicecream.com

Blue Cow Ice Cream Flight…flavors (front to back) Chocolate Cayenne, Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl, Peach Ginger, Banana Pudding.

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Make Summer Sparkle With Sparkling Wine!

summer sign.jpg

Summer Sparkles!

Wolfberger cremant d alsace

NV Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Rose Brut

Pale salmon color with lots of tiny bubbles and a fine mousse.   100% Pinot Noir grapes. Hints of red cherry and raspberry.  A Crémant Rosé bubbly that is fun to sip with a fun price… $17 range.

bugey champagneBugsey champange

Montagnieu NV Bugey, France

Montagnieu is a beautiful village of Bugey dominating the Rhône River in the eastern Alpine mountains.

Montagnieu sparkling is made using the traditional method (like Champagne) ; wine after a first fermentation is kept almost 12 month on its lees before final corking of the bottle.

This lovely bubbly is made from a minimum of 70% of Altesse, Chardonnay and Mondeuse Noire grapes, with Jacquère, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Molette allowed as accessory grapes. Balanced with notes of toasted almond and brioche.  $50 range (restaurant price).

My bubbly friend and I enjoyed a bottle of Montagnieu Bugey with a local cheese plate at River and Rail Restaurant.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com  I love the little pickled mushrooms, carrot jam and honey that they serve with the Farmstead Cheese Selection.

mushrooms

cheese

prosecco butterfly

Tocco Prosecco D.O.C.

Tocco Prosecco has nice little bubbles…Tocco has more effervescence than other Prosecco  I’ve tasted recently. Notes of baked apple, a touch of citrus and a creamy finish.  $14 range.

cider

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

So pretty in the glass…cider made from red-fleshed French cider apples which gives it a delicate rosy color.   Just enough effervescence to tickle your nose.   This cider is fairly sweet with lots of fruit (notes of raspberry and red currant) and just a hint of ginger.  I found it to be a delightful sippin’ cider on a hot summer day. $10 range (750 ml bottle).   Here’s a link to an interesting article about rosé ciders and red flesh apples:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/rose-cider-how-it-gets-pink-what-to-try-uncle-johns-lukeluk-traditions.html

rose sign

peaches 1

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Celebrating Spring In Roanoke, Virginia

11 Week Old Baby Goats

Our friends have a farm and are introducing goats into their farm animal family.  We enjoyed visiting them and watching the baby goats eat everything in sight while they butted  heads.

We love to sip rosé wine at one of our favorite local restaurants River and Rail.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com

Recently we were delighted to find a Virginia rosé on their wine list:   Blenheim Vineyards Rosé. $17 range.  Aromatic nose of pink grapefruit, green strawberry, and apricot.

Established in 2000 by owner Dave Matthews, Blenheim Vineyards is located 20 minutes southeast of Charlottesville. With three vineyard sites growing seven varieties, the goal at Blenheim Vineyards is to make high quality wines that reflect the climate, soil, and beauty of the surrounding piedmont landscape.  http://blenheimvineyards.com

Love the “boards” at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia…housemade pimento cheese garnished with R&R’s pickled vegetables served with grilled bâtard; housemade charcuterie served with whole grain mustard.

One of my favorite local farms is Thornfield Farm. They offer fresh fruits and vegetables including adorable baby turnips (pictured on left above) that are crunchy like radishes but just a little sweeter than red radishes:

April-Thanksgiving THURSDAYS 3pm-6pm: Sweet Donkey Coffee, 2108 Broadway Ave SW, Roanoke, Virginia 24014

April 22-Oct 28th SATURDAYS 8am-12pm: Grandin Village Community Market, 2080 Westover Ave SW, Roanoke VA 24015

http://www.thornfieldfarm.com

I chopped the baby turnips and put them underneath fresh spinach along with fresh mushrooms and hard boiled quail eggs to make this lovely spinach salad garnished with a chive blossom fresh out of my garden (and a couple of pieces of Smoked Gouda Cheese that complimented the crispy bacon on the salad), drizzeled with poppy seed dressing.

One of my favorite Virginia wines is this delightful bubbly…(accompanied above by fresh edible flowers from our local farmer’s market)

Thibaut – Janisson Virginia sparkling wine. 100% chardonnay with crisp apple and pear notes.  The wine’s creator has the experience to make a fabulous wine…so glad he chose Virginia as his home (from The Washington Post):

The wine’s creator, Claude Thibaut, is a blunt-speaking, 57-year-old Frenchman of modest build and a wide-eyed expression that suggests surprise or anticipation, as though he just heard a champagne cork pop. A native of the Champagne region and graduate of the University of Reims, he has made sparkling wine in Australia and in California, where he worked for J, Iron Horse and Kendall-Jackson. Thibaut   came to Virginia in 2003 to create the sparkling wine program for Kluge Estate (now Trump winery) near Charlottesville. He started his own label two years later, partnering with his friend Manuel Janisson, proprietor of Champagne Janisson & Fils.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/a-sparkling-wine-that-has-shed-locavore-light-on-some-of-virginias-finest-vineyards/2014/12/11/fa8c7fe8-802c-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

Lavender Latte with housemade lavender syrup!

Summer Specialty Coffee, Sweet Donkey Coffee, Roanoke, Virginia

http://www.sweetdonkeycoffee.com

Working on the final touches of our kitchen remodel including unpacking all of the boxes of kitchenwares!  Love cooking on my new Kitchen Aid induction stove.

 

 

Sunshine In A Flute! Enjoy This Mimosa Bar Guide From Shari’s Berries!

Happy Mimosa Season!

Champagne is always a great idea. But, sometimes you need it for an extra special day, whether it be a bridal shower, birthday, Easter gathering or even just a get-together with the girls. Cue the mimosa bar!

If you want to know how to get one started, check out this guide from Shari’s Berries. It has everything you need to know about a mimosa bar — essential ingredients needed,  unique recipes, set-up tips and a super easy backdrop idea, perfect for any occasion.

This classic cocktail dates back to the early 1920’s when a drink called “Buck’s Fizz”  (two parts champagne to one part orange juice) was invented at the Buck’s Club in London.   Later in 1925, a bartender at the Ritz Hotel in Paris named Frank Meier invented the classic half champagne half orange juice Mimosa that we’ve grown to love.
Looking forward to lots of occasions to serve Shari’s Berries sparkly sugar-shimmered champagne berries this Spring!  Perfect with strawberry mimosas!
In-season fresh strawberries from the local farmer’s market make the perfect Strawberry Mimosa!  Simply puree fresh strawberries (about 5 fresh berries per mimosa), add 1/2 teaspoon simple syrup (make your own syrup or several bottled versions are readily available at the supermarket), stir well.  Pour the strawberry puree mixture into a champagne flute, slowly add champagne or sparkling wine (Cava and Prosecco are delicious too!) to fill the flute. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Fresh rosemary complements many the flavor of many fresh fruits.  I consider rosemary to be a very special garnish because my mother, an avid herb gardener always said “Rosemary for remembrance” . The rosemary in my garden makes me smile thinking about my mom.
Champagne is an excellent choice when making mimosas, but if you are having an informal gathering or serving a large crowd you may want to find a less expensive alternative. I’ve listed some bubbly alternatives here:
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut is a Spanish Cava.  Crisp and dry with fine consistent bubbles which make a very happy mimosa!  $9 range.
 Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut. This is my “go to” sparkling wine that is always in my refrigerator. Nice and bubbly, fresh with a bit of fruitiness that complements the fruit juice in the mimosas. $26 range.
If you prefer a sparkling wine that is a little more fruit forward  MASfi Cava is delightful…100% Trepat grapes.  Bright and clean. Cherry and strawberry are the predominant flavors in this Cava.  Lively pink color. $12 range.
Cheers!
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Happiness Is A Weekend Of Bubbles…Wine Flies When You’re Having Fun!

Kitchen Remodel Update:  We added a new window to the back wall of our kitchen. When we looked out the new window we were delighted to find 4 little blue Robin’s eggs tucked into a nest in the Rhododendron tree.  Fortunately Mama Robin has not been disturbed by the construction.

Happy Weekend!

One of the nicest things about remodeling our kitchen is the way our family and friends have been taking care of us…treating us to dinner in their homes or taking us out to dinner.  So thoughtful!

Our fun weekend began on Thursday evening when our bubbly friends welcomed us to their beautiful apartment overlooking downtown Roanoke with glasses of  Mumm Napa Cuvée with a fresh raspberry in the bottom of each flute.  The Cuvée was a very pleasant bubbly surprise with aromas and flavors of toast, pear, apple and citrus.  Rich body, smooth with a creamy mousse.  $26 range.

Our bubbly friend made the most wonderful cheese crackers served with fig jam.  I can’t wait to make these when my kitchen is back up and running, but until then here’s a couple of links to Ina Garten’s cheese crackers recipes ~ delicious!

http://www.food.com/recipe/barefoot-contessas-parmesan-black-pepper-crackers-ina-garten-215143

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/blue-cheese-and-walnut-crackers-recipe/

On Saturday evening we enjoyed this lovely pink bottle of Broadbent Vinho Verde Rosé that looked so pretty on my bubbly friend’s tablescape. $10 range. Vibrant aromas and flavors of fresh strawberry, pomegranate and orange zest with a little spritz of effervescence. We enjoyed every sip.

So excited that the Grandin Road Farmer’s Market is now open on Saturday mornings!  These baby turnips were a fabulous find…eat them whole (with butter and sea salt to dip them in if you prefer…just like radishes) or slice them to add to salads. Delicious and a little more sweet than radishes.

Edible Flowers!

Finished the weekend with MASfi Cava…100% Trepat grapes.  Bright and clean. Cherry and strawberry are the the predominant flavors in this Cava.  Lively pink color. $12 range.  And since it is “Mimosa Season”, this cava made a nice strawberry mimosa!  I will have some yummy seasonal mimosa ideas in my next blog post…stay tuned!

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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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