Tag Archives: Italian wine

Champagne And Pizza!

Italy champagne jean

Jean Vesselle Oeil de Perdrix Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne.  A lovely sparkly to begin our weekend before we delved into the serious business of eating pizza.  Just a kiss of pink color in this rosé bubbly.  Notes of tangerine and red berry fruits.   $47 range.

pizza pepperoni

National Pizza Day was on Friday, February 9, 2018 so that gave us the perfect excuse to eat pizza all weekend!

One of my favorite bloggers Talk-A-Vino shared a new concept from Wines Til Sold Out (WTSO) that we’ve been enjoying at our house too ~ theme box of wine.  This month we chose the pizza pairing box to celebrate National Pizza Day. Here’s the link to Talk-A-Vino’s post that explains the theme box concept:

How To Expand Your Wine Horizon – With Wine Til Sold Out Weekly Tasting

Pippin Hill Vineyard Wood-Fired Pizza ~ red sauced thin crust topped with Tasso Ham, Artichokes, Bell Peppers, Cabbage, Arugula and Parmesan.

We recently visited Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden near Charlottesville, Virginia.  http://www.pippinhillfarm.com

italy entrance pippin hillitaly pippin hill outside

italy pippin hill vineyard

pippin hill wine bottle

This bottle of the Pippin Hill Viognier wine has a painting of their vineyard inside.

pippin hill menupippin hill red wine

The Pippin Hill Petite Verdot with notes of plum, black cherry and tobacco was the perfect accompaniment to the wood-fired pizza.

pizza-final

italian wine tasting

italy wine red wine

One of the wines from our WTSO pizza theme box:

Virna Barbera D’Alba San Giovanni 2013 Virna Barbera comes from the Piedmont region of Italy.  Red and garnet in color with a deeper hue and notes of red berries, cranberries, black plums, truffles, mushrooms, forest floor and black earth (think the same char flavor as when your pizza dough gets those little black spots and tastes so good). Medium body, fresh, bright acidity and subtle but fine tannins, this is a wine to pair alongside pizza with cheese, truffles, and mushrooms. Also enjoy with speck or prosciutto. 

pippinhill meats

We enjoyed a Charcuterie Board at Pippin Hill Vineyard. The grainy mustard and arugula pesto were delightful accompaniments to local and internationally cured meats. Tasso ham was my favorite…a south Louisiana favorite hot-smoked with cayenne pepper and garlic.

mostardo cookingmostardo

That delicious treat inspired me to create my own Charcuterie Board at home.  I love serving fun variations of condiments with cured meats.  I found this recipe for Mostarda ~ Northern Italian condiment made of candied fruit and a mustard-flavored syrup ~ in Food and Wine Magazine.  This recipe has crystallized ginger in it which gives it a little “zing”.  Locally crystallized ginger can be found at Tinnell’s Finer Foods on Crystal Spring Avenue in Roanoke, Virginia.  (Keep any leftover ginger in the freezer to use in other recipes.)  Don’t expect the Mostarda to be sweet, it most definitely has a mustard taste to it with fruity undertones.  Spicy Capicola Ham and Italian Soppressata Salami are two of my favorites on a Charcuterie Board.

Yield : makes 1 1/4 cups

How to Make It

In a small saucepan, combine the apricots, cherries, shallot, ginger, wine, vinegar, water and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the liquid is absorbed and the fruit is softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the dry mustard, Dijon mustard and butter. Simmer until the mostarda is jamlike, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve the mostardawarm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead

The mostarda can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Notes

Best Uses Serve the mostarda alongside charcuterie or cheese, or spread on a sandwich. The mostarda is also delicious with grilled chicken, steak, pork, lamb and sausages.

 

Italy champagne sign beer

Love the signs outside my favorite local wine shop… Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar http://mrbillswinecellar.com

italy champagne sign

Heart in sand

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Champagne + Truffles = Amazing Evening With Friends

This winter has been extraordinarily cold in Southwest Virginia so a warm fire in a cozy kitchen surrounded by good friends, truffles and champagne was especially welcoming. andre-champagne-and-bag

We toasted the evening with…

NV André Clouet Champagne 1911

Only 1911 bottles of this Champagne are made each year.

Each bottle is numbered by hand. My bottle number 224 and it was disgorged on April 4, 2016.

Produced in the Bouzy village in the Champagne region (the village name is pronounced “Boozy” which tickles me!) with 100% Grand Cru  Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir grapes by winemaker Jean-Francois Clouet.

Cuvée 1911 commemorates the year riots broke out in the Champagne region as the local farmers rebelled against the larger houses.  The bottle is wrapped in straw, the same way Jean-Francois Clouet’s great grandfather delivered the champagne to Maxim’s in Paris, France in 1911.

Bottle wrapped in straw makes for a fun conversation piece. We found this bubbly to be an “upside surprise”.  Consistent tiny bubbles that danced around my flute.   Elegant and smooth with a fine mousse.  Notes of hazelnuts, lightly toasted brioche and just a touch of ripe pear. This champagne is reminiscent of the Bollinger style.  André Clouet uses an old Champagne tradition which blends multiple vintages together, in this case 2005, 2002, 2000 vintages were blended together to create this fabulous champagne.  $100 range.

1911 champagne

…accompanied by Beef Tenderloin and Gratin Dauphinois Appetizer Spoons. (topped with horseradish cream sauce and fresh thyme sprigs) Gratin Dauphinois are classic French Potatoes Baked in  whipping cream with grated gruyere cheese. These fabulous potatoes remind me of a very rich variation of scalloped potatoes.  Here’s a link to Julia Child’s recipe for Gratin Dauphinois:

http://www.recipetineats.com/julia-childs-potato-dauphinois-gratin-potato-bake/

beef

White Truffle Imported From Italy

pasta truffle shaver

Truffle Shaver

pasta with truffles

pasta truffles and porcini mushroomspasta

Perfect Pasta ~  Porcini Mushroom And White Truffle Fettucine

pasta wine

Azelia Barolo Bricco Fiasco 2004. Italian Barolo.   Earthy spices, smoky tobacco, chocolate, orange peel, black cherries, sweet prunes, slight vanilla oak.  Great balance and terrific acidity that paired perfectly with the pasta.

And to top off the evening…

champagne top 1-18champagne turgy

Michel Turgy Champagne ~ Blanc de Blancs ~ 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru of Mesnil, the same village that brought us Salon, Krug Clos de Mesnil and Launois. Well balanced with citrus and pastry aromas.

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Think Pink! Watermelon Radish Pickles

radishwatermelon-radish

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.

amaryllis-blushing-bride

Blushing Bride Amaryllis

pink-flower

Pink Hyacinth

 tulips

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

virginiabloggers11fiesta-friday-2016

Weekend Surprises With Dom Pérignon Vintage1992 and Franciacorta!

start-celebrating-signdom-perignon-champagne-2dom-perignon-champagne

Our very bubbly, very special friends shared a bottle of vintage 1992 Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon champagne with us.  A super special treat and a fabulous surprise!  45% pinot noir, 15% pinot meunier, 40% chardonnay grapes this champagne is everything one would expect from a fine wine and more! Richard Juhlin rates this champagne with 91 points.  The price point is $215.

This is one time I wish I had a bottomless glass! This bubbly is superb. Buttery, toasty, smooth, perfect little bubbles. Thank you sweet bubbly friends!

https://www.domperignon.com/ww-en/

franciacorta

The next evening we tasted Franciacorta Barone Pizzini Nature for the very first time.  Italy’s best-kept secret from the Lombardy region of northern Italy.  Franciacorta Barone Pizzini Nature is made with the methodo classico,  just like champagne and cava has a second fermentation in the bottle which results in fine consistent bubbles in the glass. 70% chardonnay and 30% pinot nero grapes. 2012 singular vintage. $43 range.

Lots of lemon notes. A bit of grassy notes on the finish not unpleasant. We paired this sparkling with an avocado salad and it was delicious!
http://www.baronepizzini.it/en/

oatcakes

My bubbly sister-in-law introduced me to these FABULOUS oatcakes.  Oh my goodness!  They are delicious with soft spreadable cheese such as Saint Angel triple-creme cheese or spreadable Brie.  Make sure the cheese is very spreadable because the oatcakes are delicate. Top the cheese with a big of fig chutney or your favorite preserves.  Enjoy with a glass of bubbly or a cup of hot tea.

happy-refrigerator

Happy Refrigerator at the beach! Bye-bye summer, we will miss you!

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Sealed With A Kiss…Enjoy These End Of The Summer Wines

pepper 2” Pepperzilla” Cayenne pepper fresh from the garden! 12 inches long.  I always know that summer is in full bloom when the peppers start to ripen.

Summer, 2016 ends on September 22.

Though we’ve got to say, Goodbye for the summer, Baby, I promise you this, I’ll send you all my love
Every day in a letter, Sealed with a kiss

Sealed With A Kiss… teen love song was composed by Gary Geld and lyricist Peter Udell.

tavel

The summer of 2016  has been a fabulous wine experience. All of the wines listed here can be found in our local wine shops in Roanoke, Virginia.

As Autumn approaches I will remember fondly Alain Jaume 2015 Le Crétacé Tavel.  I adore this wine!  Alain Jaume Tavel Crétacé  Rose Le  is made from 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre grapes. $20 range Beautiful ruby-red, velvety smooth with bright red berry flavors. Perfect wine to share with friends when dining al fresco.

memories rose 2

Memoires Rosé de Provence 2015.  The name of this wine is perhaps a bit fortuitous ~ ah…the memories of summer…precious pink color in a sweet dimpled bottle. $12 range. Crisp peach aromas. Great acidity.

grapefruit 2

Rosé with Grapefruit.  An upside surprise! A lovely light grapefruit flavor with a tee-tiny bit of sweetness. $12 range.

vinho verde gato

Gatao Vinho Verde.  A blend of trajadura, loureiro, azal tinto and avesso grapes.  Just a tiny bit of sweetness, perfect for summer sippin’.  Citrus notes with a touch of pineapple and a nice little bit of effervescence. $11 range.

Two of my favorite rosé summer sparklers:

Royal Provence Rivarose Brut Rosé, from France, a nice summer sparkler, Syrah and Grenache grapes. $14 range.

rose-strawberry-3

 Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé.  $14 range. 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.

champagne aivery

From the Serious Eats article: Ask A Sommelier What’s Your Favorite Sparkling Wine:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/12/sommelier-recommended-non-champagne-sparkling-wine-cremant-franciacorta-vouvray-sekt-cava-best-budget-sparkling-wine.html

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

Aimery Crement Brut Rosé is one of my favorites. 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.

Just heard this…

Real Simple magazine’s weblog recommends dropping a raisin into a bottle of champagne that’s lost its effervescence and give it a couple of minutes before pouring. The last gasps of carbon dioxide left in the wine will stick to the raisin’s ridged surface and release as bubbles.

My suggestion…drink the whole bottle of champagne and that way it won’t go flat (I personally do not like raisins so I cannot imagine plunking one of them in my champagne!)

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