A Pinot Noir Lesson for Self with Tendril Cellars

This sounds like such a fabulously fun Pinot Noir tasting! Love Talk-A-Vino’s descriptions including ” Rutherford dust”. Cheers!

Talk-A-Vino

Tendril Cellars winesBack in May, we virtually met with Tony Rynders of Tendril Cellars and talked about … many things wine, of course – you can find this conversation here.

Tony is one of the few winemakers I know who teaches people about his wines by conducting organized tastings. As I didn’t have an opportunity to attend any of those events, I decided to run a lesson for myself on the same subject. How you ask? Easy – by tasting the wines blind.

I can literally see the surprised looks and raised eyebrows. How is it a blind tasting if I know already everything about those wines? You see, the lineup I had included 6 wines. Out of those six, four were different Pinot Noirs – different vineyards, different winemaking process, different price points. Obviously I was not planning to try to identify the exact wine, but still – will I…

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Learn About Do’s and Dont’s for Sabering a Champagne

Happy Sabering!

Champagne Sabres Blog

Great news, your friend just announced that you are invited to a party whereas, you are the one who is going to open a bottle of champagne. You have the chance of getting all the visitors to turn their heads on you and announce your plan to behead the bottle with a sword. This can be really exciting indeed. Perhaps you already know how to execute such art, but then again, here are the do’s and don’ts of champagne sabering or also known as sabrage.

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Philipponnat Royale Réserve Brut

King Louis XIV rarely drank anything other than champagne. I would have loved to participate in one of his evening meals, sitting at the King’s table laden with gold, silver and crystal dishes!

Vinthropology

Abundantly regal and intense. At once sharp, structured and refined.

An intriguing champagne expressing a clear predominance of Pinot Noir. Luminous straw yellow colour with gold hues, elegant perlage with fine, persistent bubbles. Warm aromas of citrus, mandarin, cranberry, orange blossom, magnolia, dried roses, dried apricot, vanilla, toasted and brioche. Subdued intensity on the nose turns into a powerful palate with high acidity and minerality, well balanced with a slight sweetness. Finishing with a long persistence with notes of pomegranate and plum.

Clos des Goisses, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne View of the vineyards in Clos des Goisses, Vallée de la Marne, Champagne

The Philipponnat family tradition runs over 5 generations of Champagne production in the heart of Champagne, in the region of Vallée de la Marne. Among their vineyards is Clos des Goisses, part of the family’s property for nearly 100 years. This “Clos” is noted for its steep 45 degree slant facing south in one of…

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Driving the Champagne Route in France

Do you know the way to Épernay? A happy bubbly road!

That One Point of View

Champagne Route by That One Point of View

Champagne is serious business in France and can only come from the very distinct Champagne region in the north of the country; everything else can be called sparkling wine, cava, prosecco, sekt, ect.  The most spectacular part of the harvest in this region is the 18th Century tradition of manually picking the crops and hand spinning the bottles still remains today. There are four different routes in the Champagne area to choose.  We did some research and decided to drive the Montagne de Reims route starting in the Champagne capital of Reims and heading towards Epernay as there was a nice mix of large and smaller champagne houses to explore.

2 – 3 DAYS

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at a glance…
Pick a home base city, it is easy to do any of the four routes in one day
Visit in May and June for those looking to skip the crowds
Visit in August and September for those looking for grapes ready to…

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Celebrating Cava at Parés Baltà Winery in Spain

It is a pleasure to co-host Fiesta Friday with my co-host Catherine today.  FiestaFriday.net. Please visit Catherine’s blog: https://kunstkitchen.wordpress.com. I’ll be sharing interesting tidbits from the Fiesta Friday link-up throughout the day on Pinterest, Instagram (bubblybeeboop), Facebook (bubblybee) and Twitter.  

“Bacchus opens the gate of the heart.” … Homer

While visiting the Catalonia region in Spain I couldn’t wait to visit the wineries that make Cava. One of my favorites is Freixenet.

The first bottle of Freixenet was released in 1914, the creation of a couple named Pedro Ferrer & Dolores Sala who were both from winemaking families.
In 1889, Pedro Ferrer married Dolores Sala, whose family had been making wine at their Casa Sala property since 1861. Pedro’s nickname was “El Freixenet”, named after his family’s ranch “La Freixeneda”, which means ash tree grove in Catalan. Dolores’ keen interest in the winemaking process was easily complemented by Pedro’s business savvy and sense of community.
Their marriage coincided with the arrival of the Phylloxera plague in Spain, which wiped out most of Europe’s vineyards. Far from being deterred, the couple replanted their decimated land with white varietals to make sparkling wine. In 1914, the first bottles were released with Pedro’s childhood nickname on the label. Freixenet had been born.
The Ferrer family continues to own and manage Freixenet today. Salut!

Motorcycle made in the shape of a Freixenet Cava bottle!

Driving towards Cava Heaven…Parés Baltà Winery

“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns to wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”  … P.J. O’Rourke

Parés Baltà Winery, Pacs del Penedes, Catalonia, Spain.

Since 2000 the winery has been managed by two grandsons of the original owner Joan and Josep Cusiné Carol.

The wives of Joan and Josep, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas are the winemakers and oenologists.  Parés Baltà has been certified organic since 2004.

All of their wines are certified as organic and their vineyards as biodynamic. They do not use herbicides, pesticides or any chemical fertilizer. They have sheep that fertilize the vines after the harvest and bees that pollinate the vines during the flowering season.

They use organic manure and special herbs in their compost (as well as cattle horns) but they also plant, and trim vines and harvest according to the phases of the moon.

“The juice of the grape is the liquid quintessence of concentrated sunbeams.” … Thomas Love Peacock

Cava is the Catalan word for “cellar.”

We asked about these moldy bottles in the wine cave. Our guide told us that they no longer use those bottles. They are just for show. They call them “cemetery bottles”. I call them creepy!

cava caves

Our guide explained about the “Mother” in the Cava:  This sparkling wine is made with the traditional method, an aging system similar to that of “Methode Champenoise” which is used when making champagne. As the bottle is turned upside-down and rotated, the “Mother” of the Cava, in small filaments, slides to the neck of the bottle. The “Mother” is expelled from the bottle at very high pressure, in a process known as “Desgorche”.

Rosa cava

Our winery tour included a chocolate and wine tasting. The first taste was Rosa Cusine (the last name of the winery owners is Cusiné!) (100% Garnatxa)  2013 with white chocolate with tiny bits of strawberry in it. The smooth creaminess of the white chocolate was perfect with the bubbles and the strawberry flavor made the rosé pop!

Our next taste was Hisenda Miret Garnatxa 2015. 100% Garnacha grapes. On the palate, there are flavors of cherries and blueberries with an accompaniment of spicy toast. It is a silky smooth wine with a lingering finish.

cava vineyard and olive oil

And for “dessert”…dark chocolate on baguette drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Served with  Gratavinum Dolç d’en Piqué. This wine is deep ruby in color,  soft and velvety. Intense aroma of dry fruits combined with vanilla and toasty notes from the barrel.

https://www.gratavinum.com/

b cava

When I returned home I purchased Parés Baltà b Brut Cava at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op.  $15 range.  Blend of 62% Parellada, 22% Macabeu, 16% Xarel·lo grapes. Creamy and elegant, with a bright mineral finish. Notes of fresh green apple with a hint of almond. Crisp and refreshing.

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Bollecine! An evening of wine tasting with three different sparkling wines

Bubbly and food pairings – my favorite pastime. Zucchini Flower Risotto with a reserve Brut champagne – fabulous!

Vinthropology

“Bollecine” means “bubbles” in Italian. It’s a word Italians use to talk about sparkling wine, like an English speaker would say “bubbly”, and for my first wine tasting event, I thought a bit of bubbly would only be appropriate. (As I’m based in Italy the event was in Italian).

Most of my guests were not very experienced wine drinkers, so I prepared a small booklet with some information about the wines to read at their own leisure. I was surprised to find that they were actually very curious and full of questions, making the evening all the more engaging. We eat and drink so often that we rarely take the time to think about and reflect on it, but it’s truly magical when you do because everything becomes exalted.

Here’s how the evening went…

Booklets for guests with evening’s menu and information about the wine Booklets for the guests with the evening’s menu and information about the wines

Information about the differences between the Martinotti method and the Champenoise method Information about…

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Million Dollar Cocktail

There’s lots to love about Rosé Cider.  Read about my favorites ciders with tasting notes in the Roanoker Magazine behind the page:

https://theroanoker.com/blogging/behind-the-page/the-romance-of-rose-cidre/

Million Dollar Cocktail

I love any recipe that is named “Million Dollar”. This Million Dollar Cocktail recipe is worth its weight in gold!  Absolutely divine!

Place Nick and Nora style cocktail glass in the freezer to chill while you prepare the cocktail.

For each cocktail:

2 fl ounces Gin (Sunset Hills Gin, made in Virginia, is my favorite gin of the moment.  Light and delightful, it does not have a strong juniper taste.)

1/2 fl ounce freshly pressed pineapple juice (I blended fresh pineapple in my blender to make “juice” which was more like a thin puree.)

1/4 fl ounce Grenadine syrup

1/2 fl ounce pasteurized egg whites (find these in the refrigerated egg section of the grocery store)

A few drops of Blood Orange Bitters

Pineapple chunk garnish

Shake the gin, pineapple juice, Grenadine syrup and egg whites with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass. Place a few drops of blood orange bitters on the top of the cocktail.  Garnish with a pineapple chunk.

bright bubble color flatlay

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