Gloria Ferrer ‘ Blanc de Noir’ NV

I can’t remember when I started drinking Gloria Ferrer. Gloria Ferrer was one of the first domestic sparkling wines that my friends in the industry took seriously. It was delicious and affordable and so it ended up at a lot of our parties and celebrations. Gloria became so ubiquitous that we ended up on a first name basis. Gloria was our de facto bubbly and our lives were made better because of it.

Gloria Ferrer was founded in 1982 by the Ferrer family as their primary venture into California winemaking. Owners of Freixenet, one of the big Cava producers in Spain, the family’s lifelong dream was of producing wine in the United States. The winery was named after José Ferrer’s wife, Gloria. The couple continue to run the winery together to this day.

Gloria Ferrer’s wine making mission is: To capture the full expression of the distinctive Carneros terroir in wines made to pair perfectly with food.

Gloria Ferrer ‘Blanc De Noirs’ NV is just about a perfect food wine as you can Gloria Ferrer ‘ Blanc de Noir’ NVfind. This is delicious and elegant sparkling wine made from Carneros Pinot Noir. Its sweet, sunny fruit and gentle precision feels properly Californian. The texture is soft and polished, lasting on a clean chamomile scent that will keep you coming back for more. “Vibrantly floral strawberry and gingerbread aromas pair with crisp red apple and spice flavors that bounce along the finish.” 90 pts Wine Spectator

Which brings me to food. This wine is delicate enough for lighter fare but has the ability to pair with Steak (Surf and Turf anyone?) The richness of the Pinot Noir makes it perfect for richer seafood dishes. Crab Ravioli, Coquilles St Jacques, Seafood Fettucine.

A lovely and elegant dish that will liven up any dinner party is Crab Bisque. It is relatively easy to make and can stretch one crab a long way. You can find Dungeness Crab from around $9.99 a pound for 1 to 2 pound crab. Paired with a Sparkling Blanc de Noir you have a perfect night.

Gloria Ferrer ‘ Blanc de Noir’ NV

Dungeness Crab Bisque

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large crab cooked and meat removed, shells roughly chopped

*** Mire Poix

2 onion, finely chopped

2 small carrot, finely chopped

2celery stalk, finely chopped

1 medium fennel bulb, chopped

4 cups water

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cup dry white wine

¼ cup medium-grain rice

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ cup Pernod

Pinch of saffron threads

1 cup heavy cream

water, as needed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chives

 

  1. In a large sauce pan combine half of the mire poix and crab shells add bay leaf and garlic. Cover with water (4 cups). Simmer for 20 minutes, strain and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, fennel and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until soft
  3. Add the stock, wine, rice, tomato paste, Pernod and saffron. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the rice and vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Puree the mixture in a blender until very smooth. Add cream. Thin with water if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through sieve into a clean sauce pan.
  5. Return to heat and bring to a simmer.
  6. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cooked crab and chives

Serves 8.

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Weekend Wine Pairing Mother’s Day Edition

It’s Mothers Day weekend! If you haven’t made reservations yet, you should start putting together plan B. A late lunch or brunch is a casual and easy way to give mom her day without too much stress. A casual spread with cinnamon rolls and croissants purchased from a local bakery, some fresh fruit cut and displayed nicely, smoked salmon or lox and schmear and maybe bagels. A spiral sliced ham, bacon and/or sausages provide some protein. A nice salad – Classic Cobb is a winner. Add a Quiche or Tart at the center will round out the spread.  See my Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart Recipe Below.

Oh, and bubbles. You have to have Bubbles!

Champagne is always a perfect answer. If you are on a budget there are plenty of excellent options for bubbly out there. A nice Cava, Crémant or domestic Sparklers can be a good gift. But, I will always default to Prosecco for a party or brunch. Prosecco has a softer edge than Champagne, and lends itself to a wide variety of foods quite nicely. Also, you can’t beat the price! You can get 3 or 4 bottles of great Prosecco for the price a bottle of Marque Champagne.

The Prosecco house of Ruggeri is an excellent example. The Ruggeri Winery was established in 1950 by Giustino Bisol, whose family boasts a deeply rooted, centuries-old tradition in viticulture in the Valdobbiadene area. The Bisol family has been cultivating vines in the heart of Valdobbiadine for centuries. Today the winery is run by Paolo Bisol, who is assisted by his children Giustino and Isabella.

Today, Ruggeri is one of the most respected producers in Valdobbiadene winning the coveted Tre Biccheri from the Italian wine guide of record, The Gambero Rosso. In the prestigious World Encyclopedia of Champagne and Sparkling wine, which is published every ten years by the famous auction house Christie’s, Ruggeri has the highest rating of all the producers from the Prosecco D.O.C.

“I hold the wines of Ruggeri & C. S.r.l in the highest regard. Paolo Bisol and his team run an immaculate operation that extends from the vineyard to his high tech winery.” Robert Parker

Today, we have an unbeatable deal on one of Paolo’s wines.

Weekend Wine Pairing Mother’s Day Edition

Ruggeri NV Argeo, Prosecco DOC $13.99

“Brilliant silvery straw color. Delicate aromas of honeycomb, spiced melon and apple, and pink peppercorn with a silky, tangy, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a tingling, distinctive, long tangerine, delicate herbs, and pickled kumquat finish with fine, fruit tannins. A delicious, mouthwatering Prosecco with a savory twist.” – 92 Points BTI

It’s absolutely delicious as an aperitif, but like virtually all wines from Italy it is made to go with food. From Venice to Milan you will see Prosecco sipped everywhere from sidewalk cafes to white linen restaurants to garden veranda.

So, set out the spread put on your Mom’s favorite record and Pop some Bubbles. Don’t forget to take some pictures and don’t let mom do the dishes!

Arugula, Goat Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Prosciutto Tart recipe

Weekend Wine Pairing Mother’s Day Edition

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Stunning Bubbles Excellent for Mother’s Day

A selection of stunning bubbles excellent for the special Moms in your life this Mother’s Day Stunning Bubbles Excellent for Mother’s DayStunning Bubbles Excellent for Mother’s DayStunning Bubbles Excellent for Mother’s Day

Stunning Bubbles Excellent for Mother’s Day

Bisol Desiderio Jeio Prosecco Brut (Italy) $12.99 btl / save $7
A rich, complex Prosecco that is amazing for the price! Brilliant straw yellow color with extremely fine and lively perlage. Intense and fresh nose of citrus fruits and saline sensations. Perfect for Bellini’s in the Spring, or on its own!

Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV (South Africa) $12.99 btl / save $7
The Graham Beck Cap Classique Brut Rosé delights with a pink color and a vivid character. Fine pearls adorn the palate, notes of cherries and raspberries entice the tongue. Perfect for Spring – and beyond!

Champagne Maillart Marie Hanze Brut NV (France) $37.99 btl / save $12
90 Wine Spectator
“Steely acidity frames this austere style, but the spiced flavors of guava, fresh-cut apple, spring blossom and kumquat are sufficiently expressive and fleshy for balance. Tightly knit in texture and lightly creamy on the finish.”

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Spring is brunch time!

Spring is Brunch time! There is something about the little extra bit of sunshine, the warmer weather and those first blossoms of color that makes me want to sit and lazily enjoy what sunshine we might receive. Brunch can be an excellent way to gather a larger group for a meal that can be a lot less stressful, on both budget and time. Whether dining out at a restaurant or on your back deck, Brunch is one of my favorite ways to dine.

Call me old fashioned, but one of my favorite brunch dishes is a Classic Eggs Benedict. This is something I love to make for company because with proper preparation and a little practice, it can truly be a show stopper of a dish. That said I almost enjoy it even more when someone else makes it for me. I was reminded of this when recently I had brunch at Urbane at Olive 8.

Of course I ordered the Benedict, and it was sublime. The eggs perfectly poached, the ham was superior quality and the Hollandaise was perfect. Executive Chef Brian Pusztai has assembled a team of fantastic chefs that sets this restaurant above and beyond your average hotel restaurant. Chef Pusztai treats his restaurant like it was a small Farm-to-table bistro. Pusztai works with farmers across the Pacific Northwest who are dedicated to sustainable growing and bringing the best product to market. He says, “Good food depends on good ingredients.” I feel like Urbane is one of the best kept secrets in town.

At Urbane I had a Mimosa with Bene’s, always a favorite if you were throwing a party you could easily serve them by the pitcher. The Classic is just equal parts Orange juice and Sparkling wine, I like to use a good quality Cava like Dibon.  DIBON CAVA NV $8.99 “This is a light-framed Cava with a clean, fast, tasty profile and finish. Light apple aromas are elegant and not over the top, while the tangerine and orange flavors are lean and focused. Not yeasty or heavy at all. Made from organically grown grapes.”

My go to Sparkling wine for any party is Treveri Blanc de Blancs Brut Columbia Valley $12.99.

Made in the traditional method using only Chardonnay grapes this sparkling is hard to beat. Bright and stylish, this lively wine offers toasty, floral pear and spice flavors on a refined frame, lingering nicely on the mouthwatering finish. This everything one could want in a sparkling wine.  Quality good enough to be served at the White House; at price ‘we the people’ can afford.

Treveri Cellars is a family-owned and operated sparkling wine house that produces some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States. A relative newcomer to the Washington wine scene, (2010) Treveri has already made its mark on the world stage being served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York. Quickly they rose to the attention of sommeliers, aficionados and the press being voted one of the nation’s Top Ten Hottest Brands of 2014 by Wine Business Monthly. But this is no flash in the pan.

Juergen Grieb founded Treveri Cellars in 2010 after 3 decades of experience of winemaking in Washington State.  Juergen was born and raised in Trier, Germany, where he received his formal winemaking and sparkling winemaking degrees. After earning his formal degrees and finishing his apprenticeships in Germany, Juergen came to Washington State in 1982.

Juergen’s passion and enthusiasm is contagious, infecting everyone he meets and even his own son Christian. Christian partnered with his father in 2010 after receiving Business degree from Seattle University to start Treveri. Treveri is a family affair with Juergen and Christian being joined by Julie Grieb and Katie Grieb.

Treveri produces a wide variety of styles at their facility in Wapato, including non-traditional varieties such as sparkling Syrah, Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau.

Download Lenny’s Eggs Benedict and Hollandaise recipe and ingredients

 

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Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy

It’s been a long journey to get here, but this is my first-ever cider review. In a few ways, it’s only fitting that it’s Eve’s Cidery 2014 Northern Spy ($17/750ml). First, it was a bottle of Eve’s Cidery Perry Pear — a gift from a friend — that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that lay beyond the commercial-style ciders and perrys that I’d had in the past. Second, Eve Cidery’s Autumn Stoscheck then nudged me along toward this moment by suggesting that the New York cider community needed someone like me to start paying attention to it. She then sent me…

Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Blanc de Noir

Hermann J. Wiemer and winemaker Fred Merwarth get a lot of attention for their rieslings — and rightly so. Those wines can be incredible. Some of the best in America. I’ll tell you what though, the rest of the portfolio is pretty outstanding too. I recently reviewed Merwarth’s 2013 Cabernet Franc which has become a favorite, but will never challenge the rieslings for supremacy at the winery. The sparkling wines though? They rival the rieslings in terms of quality. They are that good. In fact, this Hermann J. Wiemer 2011 Blanc de Noir ($39) is among the best domestic sparkling wines…

Weekly New York Wine News — January 4, 2016

This week’s featured photo is from co-owner and winemaker of Red Tail Ridge Winery, Nancy Irelan’s Facebook page. NEWS Syracuse.com – 12/23/2016 Locals look back at their favorite Finger Lakes wines of 2015. Syracuse New Times – 12/23/2015 The Cayuga Lake Wine Trail encourages consumers to try bubbly from the region at the holidays, but their are plenty to enjoy them year round. Finger Lakes Times – 12/29/2015 Dr. Frank prepares to release a new line of wines honoring the important women of the family, who have been crucial to the winery’s success. TODAY Show – 12/30/2015 New York gets some love…

Lieb Cellars 2013 Reserve Dry Rose

When a winery adds a new wine to its portfolio, I’m always curious how that happens. What’s the thought process? Is it to meet a real or perceived customer demand? Is it because there is some extra fruit that isn’t accounted for? So I asked Lieb Cellars general manager Ami Opisso how Lieb Cellars 2013 Reserve Sparkling Rose ($35) made its way into the winery’s portfolio. She told me “The simple answer is that we’ve been making what we like to drink.” It’s hard to argue with that thought process. Each summer, the Lieb management team gets together — before…

Leonard Oakes Estate Winery 2014 Petillant Naturel Riesling

Pet nat — shorthand for Pétillant Naturel — wines are all the rage these days, particularly in New York City. These are lightly sparkling wines made in a style that, while new to the New York wine industry, is far from trendy or new. In fact, the method is as rustic and old as the wines are fun to drink. Unlike sparkling wines made using methode champenoise (as with Champagne), where yeast and sugar are added to a fully fermented base wine for a secondary carbonation in the bottle, pet nat is made via méthode ancestral, where the wine is bottled before primary fermentation —…

Tuna and Prosecco: A Delightful Lunch

Tuna and Prosecco: A Delightful Lunch
I’ve always been a big fan of Prosecco, the charming and thirst-slaking Italian sparkling wine, for festive and casual bubbles imbibing. At a recent lunch at Serafina, I was reminded what a great food wine it is as well. Prosecco belongs on your lunch (and dinner) table!

The Proseccos we enjoyed were from Valdo, a shop favorite. Their Brut DOC is a machine here at Esquin. The staff loves it and so do our customers. They also make an excellent Rosé Brut, though don’t call it Prosecco! The Italian wine laws in the region have recently changed to protect the good name of true Prosecco; it has to be made from the Glera grape and in a specific geographic area. The Rosé is made from the Nerello Mascalese grape (surely you’ve heard of it) and is a joy to drink. Ultra-fun! It was perfection with the Calamari, especially with the touch of chile flake giving a little heat. (The Brut DOC was no slouch with it, either. I was alternating back and forth between the two.)

Tuna and Prosecco: A Delightful Lunch

Most unexpectedly, the Prosecco even worked with a sweet pea and ricotta ravioli (with taragon butter and sauteed pea vines, to boot) The sweetness of the peas was a nice match with the DOC Brut, which has a whisper of sweetness.

Tuna and Prosecco: A Delightful Lunch

But my favorite pairing was with the tuna at the top of the post. I devoured it with two special Proseccos from Valdo: The “Cuvee di Boj” and “Cuvee Fondatore”. Both have DOCG status, which denotes the highest quality in the Prosecco region. These Proseccos were drier, more elegant, and most harmonious with the tuna and its melted leeks, fingerling potatoes, and frisee salad with a basil-grapefruit vinaigrette.

It was a wonderful lunch made even more wonderful by convivial dining companions and and special guest Dr. Pierluigi Bolla, the President of Valdo. Hard to think of a more personable and genuine ambassador for the region and the wines. Bravo!

Full disclosure: I was a guest of the importer and distributor who provided the food and wine.


Tuna and Prosecco: A Delightful Lunch