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Not Your Mama’s Champagne: Fun bubbles for the New Year

Bellini & Rosa RegaleNew Years Eve is just around the corner and that means champagne! But if you are bored with the traditional champagne toast at midnight or looking for something a bit more interesting to sip all night here are a few of my favorite alternatives.

The Bellini:

Tradition in my family on New Years Eve has always been champagne with a splash of peach schnapps and a slice of peach for garnish. When I was little, my parents always had this on New Years Eve and they would make me the kiddy version with sparkling grape juice and the syrup from the can of peaches.

Until I spent time in Italy, I didn’t know that this was actually a play on a famous Venation sparkling cocktail called the Bellini. A traditional Bellini is made with Italian Prosecco and white peach Purée.  For those who don’t want the hassle of mixing drinks, Canella sells a bottled version of the traditional Bellini aptly named “Bellini”. It’s very good and perfect for New Years Eve. Read the rest of this entry

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Cheese Please: A Guide to Pairing Wine and Cheese

 

Wine and Cheese

Last Friday, Lissette and I went to In Fine Spirits to use a Groupon I had. We got a bottle of 2010 Chateau Mourgues Du Gres Les Galets Rose, Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates and a cheese flight that consisted of Fresh Ricotta with Truffle & Honey,Chatham Camembert (a sheep and cow blend) and aged Manchego Gran Valle. The dates and the cheese were amazing with the wine and it got me thinking about wine and cheese pairings.

A good wine paired with the perfect cheese is amazing, but with so many options, how do you choose the right kind of cheese to go with your wine? When it comes down to it, it is all about your own personal preference, but here are a few suggestions: Read the rest of this entry

America’s Wine Country: California

Ok now sing it with me-California here we come! If you haven’t made it to Northern California then you really need to book that flight and head to the Bay Area. Why? Because outside of being amazingly beautiful it has some of the greatest wineries. Most people think of Napa when you think of wine but there is a place called Sonoma. It’s actually right next to Napa but is home to small wineries, some that you have never even heard of and usually aren’t available in your hometown wine shop. Since many of these guys are small businesses their distribution isn’t as big as say Kendall Jackson (don’t act like you’ve never heard of them).

While I was in San Francisco, my friends and I went up north to do a little wine tasting. YUMMY! I was in the bay area to celebrate my best friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday again Alison!).  Four Chicagoans went up to do a little drinking with our favorite SF couple.  We hit up three wineries, one that you will know (surprise!). Read the rest of this entry

A Wine Filled Easter Weekend

My parents were in town this weekend for Easter. This means I had lots of good wine and good food!   They got in Thursday night and we started the weekend with a French Burgundy at the Red Rooster Wine Bar. The 2000 Laboure-Roi of the Gevrey Chambertin appellation was a very smooth wine. Being that the bottle was a 2000 the tannins had time to mellow. The wine was very balanced and had the old word characteristics you would expect from a French wine; dark fruit and hints of leather. You may be thinking leather? That’s kind of weird but leather is actually a common characteristic of wine. And can add some real complexity to a bottle of wine.

The second night my parent were here we ate in. my mother made an awesome rack of lamb and we started with a 2010 Villa Des Anges Rose from France. It’s important to note that a rose is NOT the same thing as a White Zinfandel. I repeat Rose is NOT the same as White Zinfandel. This rose run about $11 a bottle and is a perfect pre-dinner sipping wine.  It is very light and crisp. It is a dry rose (I’m not a fan of sweeter wines) and is great on its own, but would pair well with salads, seafood and other light dishes. Read the rest of this entry

Champagne is wine too…sort of

Is champagne wine? Let the great debate begin. Here’s the low down on Champagne. Its sparkling wine but champagne is not considered champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region of France. Everything  else is considered sparkling wine. Confusing right?

I know what you’re saying “What do you mean? I bought Barefoot Champagne. Does it mean what I was drinking was sparkling carbonated wine?” My answer to that is yes..you’re drinking sparkling wine. Its only considered champagne if it was made in the Champagne region of France. I think I just drove the point home. But what is considered Champagne. Here is a list of few real champagnes.

There are more of course and you can find a complete list by clicking here. And believe it or not there is an Office of Champagne, USA. Feel free to look over their site and if you have questions write in.

Most of the champagnes listed above are not cheap but they are all well worth it. Some places like Cost Plus World Market sell half bottles for about $30 dollars.

In the mean time drink your Barefoot Champagne and you can call it Sparkling Wine or Champagne. Lets face it you bought it and you’ll be the one enjoying it.

Cheers to champagne wishes and caviar dreams!

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