Delinquente Wine Makes Fizzy Fresh Fun in a Bottle

After a comparative Australian Chardonnay tasting (stay tuned ) I shoveled in as many little sandwiches as I could and contemplated a walk-around tasting put on by Wine Australia. I was hovering near the Wine Dogs Imports table and, since they are a friendly lot, decided to check on a familiar label. I’ve had the rosé from Delinquente Wine Co. at Somm Time, a Midtown East (wine) oasis. I love a good pun but for this place I vacillate between groaning/embracing. (“We should go there…wait for it…Somm Time.” Ok, ok, I’m kinda into it.)

Anyway, Delinquente’s rosé is made with Nero d’Avola…from South Australia. You see, this winery has a thing for Southern Italian wine grapes. It’s kind of mad, but that’s how I like my winemakers. I tried the Montepulciano and Vermentino, but the Pet Nat that was my true love. It’s a wine that gets its sparkle by being bottled while fermentation is still happening. Pretty risky and crazy. But, again, that’s how I like my winemakers.

What’s the tip of the nutty iceberg is that the Pet Nat is made from a grape I’ve never heard of, and I’m guessing you are in the same boat. (Iceberg? Boat? Well I did go to TITANIC BELFAST recently, which was actually quite fascinating.)

2017 Delinquente Wine Co. “Tuff Nutt” Bianco d’Alessano (Riverland)

 

Label art by South Australian street artist Ankles.

Ok, hands up for Bianco d’Alessano? Anybody? Didn’t think so. It’s a grape from Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot. Delinquente sources fruit for this fizz from the Riverland wine region in South Australia. The winery web site instructs you to “pop the top and embrace the weirdness” and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Fruity, yet dry, and fizzy. At 10% alcohol, you can enjoy a lot of it. This is just a flat-out fun wine. Yours for $22.

Delinquente Wine Makes Fizzy Fresh Fun in a Bottle

Not my hand, but co-sign the thumbs-up.  / Facebook/Delinquente Wine Co.

 

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Murgo Brut Rosé is a Scintillating Sicilian Sparkler

It was my birthday and you know I was going to drink something sparkling so I headed to see my Seattle pal (we worked together at Bottlehouse for years) Carson at Scampi. He started me off with a glass of Murgo Brut Rosé (2015).

First let me begin by saying the wine list at Scampi is really fantastic. As a solo diner, I explored the by-the-glass selections. I took a mini-Sicilian tour starting with this rosé, diving into a white wine made from Carricante (Mt. Etna), and finishing up with a red blend.

Murgo Brut Rosé 2015

Yes, I know. I am not drinking this out of a Champagne flute. Rather a fancy Zalto glass. This sparkling rosé is 100% Nerello Mascalese, a grape you’ll find in reds from the Mount Etna region of Sicily. (The still red wines are fantastic, too.) The first thing to notice about this wine is the color. This is no pale pink sparkling rosé. It has some meat on the bone and is very savory and complex. But it doesn’t lack for refreshment. It was really great with the mackerel crudo, a rich, meaty fish. That is a pairing I suggest, any heartier seafood. But really, the Murgo Brut Rosé, can handle everything from grilled vegetables to a meaty burger.

Wine-Searcher has it listed for an average price of $19, which makes it a screaming deal.

_______

Murgo Brut Rosé is a Scintillating Sicilian Sparkler

Also a quick shout-out to the Mortellito Calaniuru. It’s a blend of Frappato and Nero d’Avola, like a Cerasuolo di Vittoria but not from that designated wine region. The label is killer and so was the wine.

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Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 24, 2017

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week marks another sparkling edition of my samples tasting just in time for your New Years's shopping!

Let's start this week with the most unusual bottle in the lineup which is a sparkling Pinot Blanc from the North Fork of Long Island that was held for a long time before release. Bright and airy, it's a lovely rendition of the Pinot Blanc grape and at $23, it's a steal.

Also a bit unusual, not in its grape or source, but in its flavor, is the latest sparkling wine from Rollin Michael Soles, a pioneer of sparkling winemaking in Oregon. This, from his new project, is quite distinct in character, and tasty in its own savory way.

Before we move on to the Champagne proper, let's not overlook the Adami single vineyard Prosecco from Col Credas which is grown on staggeringly steep vineyards in the Prosecco region. It's got much more personality than most Proseccos.

Let's start our Champagne focus with Franck Bonville, a producer from the town of Avize in the Cote de Blancs region of Champagne. Their prestige Blanc de Blancs of Chardonnay has a bright floral quality that is very compelling, and at only $44 is on the lower end of what you'll spend for a Grand Cru Champagne.

The Chassanay d'Arce bottling comes from the main cooperative winery in the Aube region of Champagne, where they buy grapes from all the local producers to make some pretty decent quality stuff. This "Confidence" bottling is among their top non-vintage wines.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 24, 2017Finally there are a couple of wines in here from the tiny producer Remy Massin, also from the Aube region. This family run outfit, recently taken over by the younger generation is making very high quality wines.

All these and more below. Enjoy.


2012 Domaine Carneros "Brut" Champagne Blend, Carneros, Sonoma, California
Pale gold in the glass with medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of apples, wet felt, and sea air. In the mouth, a coarse mousse delivers flavors of apple, pear, and bitter citrus across the palate, leaving a woody apple skin flavor in the finish. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $27. click to buy.

2011 Lieb Cellars "Reserve Blanc de Blancs" Pinot Blanc, North Fork of Long Island, New York
Light gold in the glass with medium bubbles, this wine smells of ripe and baked apples. In the mouth, a soft mousse delivers notes of yeasty, toasty bread that give way to apple and citrus pith brightness and an airy finish. Great acidity and nice delicacy. 13.2% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $23. click to buy.

2013 Roco Winery "Rollin Michael Soles Brut" Champagne Blend, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light blonde in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of toasted sesame and pickled seaweed. In the mouth, a soft mousse rolls across the palate tasting of wet leaves, apples, sarsaparilla, and a hint of citrus pith. Unusual. Good acidity. A blend of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay. 12.5% alcohol. 200 cases produced. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $53. click to buy.

2014 Adami "Col Credas" Glera, Valdobbiadene, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy
Pale gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of butterscotch candy and white flowers. In the mouth, a velvety, voluminous mousse delivers a unique combination of butterscotch, pear, and vanilla into a long finish scented with a touch of camphor. Good acidity. 11% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $23. click to buy.

NV Franck Bonville "Prestige" Blanc de Blancs, Avize Grand Cru, Champagne, France
Pale gold in the glass with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of honeysuckle and pears. In the mouth, bright apple and pear flavors have a nice nutty biscuit quality. Nice and balanced, with equal parts of fruit and biscuity quality. A blend of at least two vintages.12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $44. click to buy.

NV Gardet "Brut Tradition" Champagne Blend, Champagne, France
Pale gold in the glass with medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of apples and pears with a hint of vanilla. In the mouth a soft mousse delivers bright apple and pear flavors with a nice rounded quality to them and nice bright acidity and length with a slightly sweet finish. 45% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier, 10% Chardonnay. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $39 click to buy.

NV Chassanay d'Arce "Confidences" Blanc de Noirs, Champagne, France
Light blonde in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of freshly baked bread with honey, marzipan, and cold cream. In the mouth, flavors of honeysuckle, sea air, wet stones, and pink grapefruit have a nice saltine cracker savoriness to them. A lightly bitter chalkiness lingers in the finish. Made from 50+ year-old vines. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $82 click to buy.

NV Remy Massin "Brut Tradition" Champagne Blend, Champagne, France
Pale gold in the glass with medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of apples, pears, and wet stones. In the mouth, bright apple and asian pear flavors have a nice bright crispness to them. Round and bright. Juicy. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $55. click to buy.

NV Remy Massin "Brut Reserve" Champagne Blend, Champagne, France
Pale blonde in the glass with fine bubbles, this wine smells of asian pear, white flowers, and green apples. In the mouth, green apple crispness mixes with asian pear, wet stones and pink grapefruit citrus crispness. Juicy and bright and very clean. 70% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $62. click to buy.

NV Pol Roger "Brut Reserve" Champagne Blend, Champagne, France
Pale greenish gold in color with very fine bubbles, this wine smells of bright apples and pears with a hint of white peaches. In the mouth, flavors of white peaches, apples, and pears take on a citrus peel brightness in the finish mixed with green apples. Soft mousse. Contains one third each of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Ages for 4 years in bottle before release. 12.5% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $40. click to buy.



Why You Should Pay More for Champagne (And What to Buy When You Can’t)

Valentine's day. Easter. Halloween. New Year's Eve. What do all these holidays have in common? They each drive some of the highest yearly consumption of a single product. As we approach the end of the year, Champagne dominates the wine media headlines. Everyone wants to know what to drink at New Year's and heaven forbid us journalists leave our readers wanting for advice.

Why You Should Pay More for Champagne (And What to Buy When You Can't)Just as with the so-called "rosé season" annually proclaimed to exist somewhere between the end of May and the beginning of September, the intense interest in Champagne this time of year leaves me somewhat bemused. Like rosé, Champagne ought to be drunk year-round in copious quantities, simply because it is some of the most food-friendly, versatile wine on the planet.

Everyone is willing to make a toast on New Year's or at a wedding with a glass of bubbly, but a lot of people don't drink it much more often than that. One of the reasons that I believe more Champagne does not get consumed year-round is that many people don't like the way it tastes.

Nor should they. A lot of Champagne is bitter and nasty. In part, this (at least for me) explains the current boom in Cava and Prosecco consumption here in the United States, as these two sparkling wines from Spain and northern Italy historically tend towards the sweeter end of the spectrum, and are a lot easier on the American palate.

Like many consumers, it took a long time for me to enjoy Champagne. Not because it is particularly an acquired taste, but because more than with many other styles of wine, you really get what you pay for. For years in my early adulthood, I would confidently tell people that I didn't care for Champagne. To my amazement one day, I found out what I really meant was that I didn't care for cheap Champagne. You see, I had just never had any of the good stuff.

Generalizations are dangerous in any domain or discourse, but I've found few things in the wine world more reliably true than what I'm about to tell you. You need to pay at least $40 to get a good bottle of Champagne. Have I had good bottles that cost less? Absolutely. When I find them, like the stuff made by Ayala that you can find as cheap as $32 a bottle, I tend buy them by the dozen.

But if you're able to pay $50, $60, or even $70 a bottle for Champagne, you can put yourself onto an entirely different plane of taste, texture, and experience.

Why is good Champagne so expensive, and why would it be worth paying for? I'll do my best to answer this question, and if paying so much for a bottle of bubbly is a non-starter for you, just stick with me and I'll tell you where to go looking for decent bubbly that won't break the bank.

Any good wine, made with an artisan approach, won't be cheap, purely because to make good wine costs money. Leaving aside the cost of the land itself, which in some regions (such as Napa) all but guarantees wines will never fall below a certain price point, the labor and equipment required to make wine is expensive. Vineyards take a lot of skilled labor to maintain and keep healthy. From tractors to the buildings that house the barrels to the barrels themselves, the equipment used to make wine costs a lot of money. And then there's cash flow. If you're going to age your wine, as is helpful to make fine wine of all kinds, then you not only need to buy barrels and pay for vineyard labor for the year you're going to put into the bottle, but before you sell that wine, you may need to do the same for the next vintage, and the next. And of course, you need to pay rent on wherever you're going to keep those three years of barrels while you're waiting for the wine to be ready to go into the bottle.

And that's just for a nice bottle of Cabernet. Sparkling wine ends up being a bit more complicated.

Of course, you can just make some early-picked wine, stir in some sugar to cut the acidity and then carbonate it, which, if you'll forgive that description's brevity, is how most cheap sparkling wine is made. But this doesn't make for much more than a glass of bubbles that tastes vaguely like wine. If you want to make Champagne, or sparkling wine in the traditional method that region pioneered, you need to ferment the wine twice: first in barrels or tanks to turn your early-picked grapes into a highly acidic wine known as vin clair, and then a second time in individual bottles with a dollop of yeast that will create the bubbles under the seal of a crown cap like you'd use to close a soda bottle.

And then, according to your desire for flavor and quality, you may age that wine "on the lees" (in contact with that yeast residue) for many years. During that time, you'll also need to riddle each bottle, a process that involves (either by hand or machine) turning the bottle in special racks to accumulate that yeast residue into the neck so that when it comes time, you can disgorge the yeast, top up the bottle and put in the final cork. Some of the best Champagnes are aged in their bottles for more than a decade before they are released for sale. This extended aging (known as tirage) can turn a good wine into a transcendent one. Of course, there's more to Champagne than extended tirage. Some of the best wines being made today aren't, in fact, aged for very long in the bottle, but instead are the products of impeccable farming, masterful blending and increasingly, very specific sites.

But back to my point. The labor, storage space and time required to make a good Champagne simply costs more. And then in the case of Champagne (and other imported wines), the bottles need to be shipped across the Atlantic in temperature controlled shipping containers and then imported into the US after paying the requisite taxes.

And lets face it, when you're paying for Champagne, no matter which producer you're buying, you're also paying a brand premium. The word "Champagne" itself adds to the price of the wine, just as much as the word "Napa" does. That premium is reflected in the price of the land, housing, and the overall cost of doing business in the region.

Why You Should Pay More for Champagne (And What to Buy When You Can't)No wonder, then, that it's nearly impossible to find a Champagne that costs less than $20 and, in my opinion, few really good ones that cost less than $40. The Champagne that many people splurge on, Veuve Cliquot, represents an absolutely awful value at $50 or more per bottle. Instead try the NV Pierre Peters "Cuvee de Reserve" at $49 a bottle, or the NV Philipponat Brut Royal Reserve at $45.

If you can spend more, though, you can experience the magic of what Champagne truly has to offer, from the incredible minerality of a NV Frederic Savart "l'Accomplie Premier Cru" Brut ($60) or 2004 Pascal Douquet Mesnil sur Oger Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs ($80); to the freshly baked brioche richness that can only come from extended tirage in the likes of a Krug Grand Cuvee ($145) or a Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs ($114).

But if you (quite understandably) can't bring yourself to spend that much on a bottle of bubbles, I've got you covered. Of course, Champagne isn't the only place that makes great (and expensive) sparkling wines. Good sparkling wine gets made in many of the world's wine regions. Some of the best California sparkling wines and Italian sparkling wines now command the same kinds of prices as do Champagne. But even in these regions, as well as some other spots around the globe, decent bottles of bubbles can be found for less than $30. The reasons these places and producers can make less expensive sparkling wine range from the simple economic realities of lower land prices and cheaper grapes, to less rigorous aging regimens and simply less recognition on the world stage.

Whatever the reason, thankfully the wide world of wine, skillfully navigated, can make up for the lack of decent cheap Champagne.

Let's start with the far-ff corner of France known as the Savoie, where one of my favorite wine producers in the world, Dominique Belluard also happens to make a little bit of sparkling wine from the Gringet grape variety found in the region. His NV Belluard "Les Perles de Mont Blanc" will set you back a mere $25, and its a wonderful crushed stone and apple/pear mouthful that is unlike anything you've ever had before.

Chenin Blanc is one of the hot grapes right now amongst sommeliers and wine geeks, but the focus generally remains on the dry and off-dry versions produced in France's Loire Valley. Less well known are the sparkling wines made from the same grape, but all the better for anyone looking for a wine that drinks well above its weight. Benchmark producer Domaine Huet makes a positively stellar version that goes for a song. Find the NV Domaine Huet Petillant Brut for around $23.

Still in France, Alsace is known for its Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, but insiders know that it grows decent Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc as well, some of which gets made into a sparkling wine known as Cremant d'Alsace. In my experience the best examples of this wine are actually the rosés, such as the reasonably easy to find NV Pierre Sparr Cremant d'Alsace Rosé ($19).

Much of what Spain's Cava region produces is unremarkable, but quality producers have begun to make names for themselves, perhaps none more so than Raventos i Blanc, who produce some of the best Cavas I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. Their 2015 Raventos i Blanc "L'Hereu" Brut is an absolute steal at $19 a bottle.

Finally, while the best Italian sparkling wines are unfortunately just as expensive as the best Champagnes these days, a few producers are making really high quality sparking wines that trade at reasonable tariffs. Among my favorites is Ferrari, whose vintage Ferrari Perle Brut can be enjoyed for somewhere around $30 or $35.

And last, but certainly not least, there's the wine I recommend whenever anyone asks the nearly impossible question, "How can I drink decent sparkling wine for under $20 a bottle?" More than a few weddings have avoided bankruptcy by using the Roederer Estate Brut from Mendocino's Anderson Valley for their wedding toasts. It's hard to imagine how Roederer manages to produce such a consistently drinkable bottle for under $15, but they do, and very few California sparkling wines even twice the cost approach its quality.

I hope you enjoy your toasts at the end of the year, but more importantly, I hope you'll manage to discover some sparkling wines that will keep you drinking the bubbles long after the first of the year. If you haven't explored the charms of Champagne with your fried chicken, or sparkling wine with your popcorn, well then you've got some further resolutions to make.



Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 10, 2017

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I'm pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week was the sparkling edition of my samples tasting, because, well, it's that time of year isn't it. While I don't taste wines by seasonal schedule in any way shape or form, people have been asking for sparkling wine recommendations, so it was a good reminder to taste through the sparkling wines that have been piling up.

I've got a mix of bubblies from California and France this week, starting with a couple of Champagnes from Henriot, a very reliable producer in Reims. Their Blanc de Blancs bottling was quite tasty, and while not the highest scoring wine this week, one that I very much wanted to drink an entire glass of.

Closer to home Kathryn Kennedy winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains has been making tiny batches of sparkling wine in the traditional method and aging them on the lees for a long time. Their current release is merely their 2004 edition, the 27th year they've been making such wines. It's got all the things you want from an extended tirage bottling, namely rich yeasty saline goodness.

Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 10, 2017Domaine Carneros also offered a few options this week, with their Ultra Brut and their rosé wines being the most compelling.

And finally, Schramsberg continued to live up to its reputation as one of California's finest, with their Blanc de Noirs offering pitch-perfect balance and deliciousness from the get-go. With a few years, this vintage will be spectacular.

All these and more below. Enjoy.

2011 Domaine Carneros "Le Reve Blanc de Blancs" Chardonnay, Carneros, Sonoma, California
Pale greenish gold in color with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of white flowers and crushed nuts. In the mouth, a soft mousse delivers flavors of green apple and white flowers, tinged with a bit of saline and toasted sourdough flavors. Good acidity and length. 12% alcohol. Score: between 8.5 and 9. Cost: $110. click to buy.

2013 Domaine Carneros "Ultra Brut" Champagne Blend, Carneros, Sonoma, California
Light gold in the glass with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of green apple and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, green apple, wet chalkboard, saline and cucumber flavors have a wonderful sharp edge to them thanks to zingy acidity. Notes of citrus pith and green apple linger in the finish. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $44. click to buy.

NV Domaine Carneros "Cuvee de la Pompadour Brut Rosé" Champagne Blend, Carneros, Sonoma, California
A pale salmon color with medium-fine bubbles, this wine smells of strawberry jam and hibiscus. In the mouth, a voluminous mousse conveys flavors of strawberry, raspberry and watermelon rind across the palate with hints of citrus peel lingering in the finish. A tiny hint of sweetness, along with the excellent acidity makes the mouth water. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $35. click to buy.

2004 Kathryn Kennedy "Cuvee Twenty-Seven" Champagne Blend, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
A rich medium gold in the glass with fine bubbles, this wine smells of toasted sesame, baked apples and oak. In the mouth, a soft mousse delivers flavors of baked apples, roasted nuts, toasted bread and candied citrus rind. A saline character along with excellent acidity makes for a mouthwatering finish scented with citrus and baked apples. 12.5% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $50. click to buy.

2012 Sea Smoke "Sea Spray" Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
Medium gold with a hint of copper and medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of wet leaves and mashed berries. In the mouth, a voluminous mousse delivers flavors of burnt orange peels, dried apples and cherry, mixed with a touch of dried flowers and oak. Burnt citrus peel and a bitter woody note linger in the finish. Good acidity. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $100. click to buy.

2014 Schramsberg "Blanc De Blancs" Chardonnay, North Coast, California
Pale gold in the glass with fine bubbles and a hint of green, this wine smells of Asian pears, white flowers, and apples. In the mouth, a velvety mousse delivers flavors of white flowers, apples, and citrus pith tinged with a hint of saline across the palate. Very good acidity and a perfect balance. Mouthwatering. 12.8% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $30. click to buy.

NV Forget-Brimont "Brut Premier Cru" Champagne Blend, Champagne, France
Pale gold in the glass with medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of golden apples, custard, and lemon pith. In the mouth, citrusy lemon pith and apple flavors have a soft, velvety mousse texture and crisp brightness thanks to excellent acidity. The wine finishes clean and with the snap of fresh Fuji apples. 12% alcohol. Score: around 8.5. Cost: $45. click to buy.

2013 Schramsberg "Blanc de Noirs" Champagne Blend, North Coast, California
Bright gold in the glass with a hint of copper hue and fine bubbles, this wine smells of citrus peel and cherries. In the mouth, a velvety mousse delivers bright orange peel, cherry and berry flavors that mix with a hint of sea air and rosehips. Nicely balanced with a SweetTart finish. Delicious. 12.7% alcohol. Score: between 9 and 9.5. Cost: $39. click to buy.

NV Henriot "Blanc de Blancs" Chardonnay, Champagne, France
Light gold in the glass, with medium fine bubbles, this wine smells of green apples, pears, and wet chalkboard. In the mouth, a plush mousse lifts salty flavors of brioche, lemon, grapefruit and golden delicious apples across the palate. Great acidity and length, with just the right amount of toasty brioche note on the finish. 12% alcohol. Score: around 9. Cost: $52. click to buy.



Crémant is Your Sparkling Wine for the Holidays

Ok, sparkling wine is a year-round delight, but let’s not kid ourselves. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, it’s high season for bubbles.

So I want to highlight a range of French sparkling wines that, once you know the name, you’re going to get something good and not too expensive. So remember this: Crémant.

It’s a word denoting a set of sparklers, though not from Champagne, made in the same painstaking method. (That process being a still wine which goes through a second fermentation in the bottle, where it becomes bubble time.)

You’ll see “Crémant” on a label followed by the name of a place (with a “de” or “d'” in between.) A few places to look for:

  • Alsace
  • Bordeaux
  • Bourgogne (Burgundy)
  • Loire

I discuss this (and more, including the best food pairings for all sparkling wines, including Champagne) on my final Snacky Tunes segment for 2017. Huge thanks to the show for letting me run wild for five minutes every month.

Have a listen:

Also on this episode:

The chef-owner of Chicago’s Oriole, Noah Sandoval, talks about his restaurant, getting his career started in Richmond, VA, and having a father who is also a Navy SEAL.

THICK, a girlwave rock trio from Brooklyn, stop by for a chat and a live performance.

(And, yes, I do take a little time at the end of my Crémant talk to introduce listeners to my love for, and defense of, the Champagne flute.)

Champagne cork and cage photo by Peter Miller via Flickr.

The post Crémant is Your Sparkling Wine for the Holidays appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Crémant is Your Sparkling Wine for the Holidays

Ok, sparkling wine is a year-round delight, but let’s not kid ourselves. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, it’s high season for bubbles.

So I want to highlight a range of French sparkling wines that, once you know the name, you’re going to get something good and not too expensive. So remember this: Crémant.

It’s a word denoting a set of sparklers, though not from Champagne, made in the same painstaking method. (That process being a still wine which goes through a second fermentation in the bottle, where it becomes bubble time.)

You’ll see “Crémant” on a label followed by the name of a place (with a “de” or “d'” in between.) A few places to look for:

  • Alsace
  • Bordeaux
  • Bourgogne (Burgundy)
  • Loire

I discuss this (and more, including the best food pairings for all sparkling wines, including Champagne) on my final Snacky Tunes segment for 2017. Huge thanks to the show for letting me run wild for five minutes every month.

Have a listen:

Also on this episode:

The chef-owner of Chicago’s Oriole, Noah Sandoval, talks about his restaurant, getting his career started in Richmond, VA, and having a father who is also a Navy SEAL.

THICK, a girlwave rock trio from Brooklyn, stop by for a chat and a live performance.

(And, yes, I do take a little time at the end of my Crémant talk to introduce listeners to my love for, and defense of, the Champagne flute.)

Champagne cork and cage photo by Peter Miller via Flickr.

The post Crémant is Your Sparkling Wine for the Holidays appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Cold And Quiet (How To Open Sparkling Wine At PartSelect.com)

(image: partselect.com)

I’ve done a lot of fun work with the folks at Fix.com, and they have a couple of sister websites to which they asked me to contribute. My latest for them is available over at their PartSelect.com blog: a primer on how to properly chill and open sparkling wine.

Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this (I’m looking at you Kralik!), but I’ve frankly been aghast at how often I have seen professionals in the wine business f*ck this up. So this isn’t advice just for noobs; I know a lot of people in the biz who need a refresher on this, stat.

Seriously, there’s no excuse for messing up the chilling part, and yet I see this happen at least once at almost every single public wine tasting event that I’ve attend. Part of me wants to grab people by the collar, shake the boots off of them, and scream at them to JUST ADD SOME F*CKING WATER!!!

But, I don’t do that, because I am a man of peace (and because I don’t want to be incarcerated).

Anyway…

In this article, we also get into glassware tips for serving and drinking those bubbles once you do get them nice and cold (which won’t take long if you do it properly) and opened up. The infographic summary is embedded below after the jump. Enjoy (and pleeeeease pass along to someone you know who probably ought to know better)…

Cold And Quiet (How To Open Sparkling Wine At PartSelect.com)
Source: Partselect.com

Cheers!

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Copyright © 2016. Originally at Cold And Quiet (How To Open Sparkling Wine At PartSelect.com) from 1WineDude.com - for personal, non-commercial use only. Cheers!

Magnums for New Year’s Eve, Please

You don’t need that corkscrew and you could drink it out of that Charley Harper tumbler. Sharpie may come in handy at some point.

I put together a little roundup of New Year’s Eve sparkling wine suggestions for Wine Enthusiast. My pick? Naturally, rosé Champagne. But the selections run the gamut from fizzy to fancy.

One thing I forgot to mention when it comes to New Year’s Eve bottles is GO BIG. I was reminded of this when I went to my neighborhood wine shop, Dandelion Wine, to pick up a bottle for Christmas. I ended up taking home a 1.5L of this wine:

Lini 910 Labrusca Rosso Lambrusco 

A dry, fizzy delight. When opened, it did not last long. I paid $36 for it, a bargain. And though this is not a full-on sparkler, explosive with bubbles, Lambrusco is one of the most f00d-friendly wines out there. It loves cured meats, pizza, really almost anything you can throw at it. (And for a red wine, very low in alcohol: 11%.)

Have you done your NYE wine shopping yet? Here’s your last-minute guide:

14 Spectacular Sparklers for New Year’s Eve

Also Happy New Year! It’s been a crazy year first year in New York and I’m very happy to be settled in Greenpoint, where I hope to be for a while. Here’s a little scene of how charming my new neighborhood is during the holidays. Thank you all for reading.

Magnums for New Year’s Eve, Please

 

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