Countdown to 2016: Ferrari Trento

Next up, we celebrate Sunday, and the arrival of my dear friend from another continent, by traveling to Italy in our glass.

While many people know about Proscecco, and perhaps the magic of Franciacorta, Lombardy’s sparkling wine, Ferrarri Trento has been making sparkling wines in the Italian Alps since 1902.

At ony $25, the Brut, which is 100% Chardonnay, is a steal, and will leave your guests wondering – “Is it Champagne, or is it Ferrari!”  Unlike Prosecco, which is typically fermented in bulk, Ferrari bottle ferments (just like Champagne), and is aged for at least 24 months.

Delicate and lively, with bright citrus and apple notes, enveloping the bouquet of white flowers.  Slight hints of freshly baked bread, this is a wonderful way to end the evening, or just get it started, Ferrari Trento is one of the best values in sparkling wine outside of France.

This is the base level for Ferrari, but if you want to explore more, try this European Winery of the Year’s delicious reserve wines.  Still affordable luxury, and oh so delicious.

Thank you to my friends at Gregory White PR for this scrumptious way to ring in the New Year!

 

 

Countdown to 2016

At laLaurent-Perrier Brut Champagnest, Christmas has come and gone, the beacon that is the end of 2015 is drawing near.  To count down in style, I have decided to enjoy a different sparkling wine every day!

Pop goes the cork on 2016.

Today, on December 26th, Boxing Day, or the day after Christmas – what ever you call it – I am enjoying Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut.  This family owned Champagne house has been in operation since 1812, and is a fantastic last minute or host/hostess gift.  Readily available and priced at a user friendly $45, it’s a great way to say Happy Holidays with classic Champagne.

Classic flavors of citrus and brioche, with a nutty finish.  Beautiful dusting of nutmeg on the chalky finish.  A great entry point in to Champagne, particularly if you are trying to impress your friends and visiting family.

 

Thanks to the lovely ladies at Teuwen Communications for the sparkling party in a glass!

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide: Last Minute Holiday Gifts

It’s hard to believe that next week is Christmas, and we just finished Hanukah festivities.  Whether you celebrate one of these holidays, another one, or just the time of year, you probably have a list of people that you want to a little something special for.

Don’t panic!  Here are a few last minute gifts that are sure to please the wine lovers in your life!

Wine bottle totes – I love these cute little neoprene bottle holders.  They make a great gift in of themselves, but you can put your favorite bottle of wine inside and make even more special.  I love these soft, cushioned totes for parties, and they even keep those whites chilled!

  • CBreeze design will monogram them for you, which makes a great custom gift.Monogram Wine Tote Bag Set/5 - Can be Personalized Monogrammed  Choose from a variety of designs and accents, and your monogram.  They also have wine tote bags and other designs. ($28)
  • Built New York has a large selection of wine accessories, including the City Tote, which is the perfect light weight reusable bag for your your shopping needs. ($40).  They also have wine totes, which come in a IMG_003320201 or 2 bottle version.  Slightly taller than the CBreeze version, the Built wine tote is great for larger bottles and those odd shaped sparkling bottles. ($15-18).

Tattinger & Dita Von Teese – Who doesn’t like bubbles at this time of year?  If you are celebrating something, on consoling yourself, sparkling wine makes everyone happy.  To celebrate the launch of Dita Von Teese’s new book, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, from famed Burlesque star Von Teese, Champagne Taittinger has worked with Dita to envision the perfect DIY Beauty & Bubbles Bash to host at home!  With the glitzy holiday packaging, even the box is a party, not to mention the nectar inside.   ($50 champagne)

With instructions on how to build your own Champagne Tower, pirating advice, and more fun, this is a great party starter.  The book is fabulous too, and makes an awesome gift for someone who want to learn more about how Dita empowered herself, and broke all the rules, while defining a new style at the same time.  ($30 book)IMG_0034

IMG_0029VinoMaster Wine Opener – similar to the Orignial Rabbit, this wine opener is a great tool to have in your bar.  The VinoMaster makes opening one, or many, bottles, super easy!  The simple lever action is fantastic for any one with manual dexterity issues, with arthritis, or just opens tons of wine.  $45

Joyeaux Noel, and Happy New Year!

Sparkling Stars on a budget

It’s that time of the month again!  Time for Wine Blogging Wednesday, when a particular theme is used to inspire bloggers to post on a single subject all over the blogging world.

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day (hurl), Tim Elliot of WineCast asks us to think about sparkling wines on a budget.  In this case, budget means anything under US$25.  Well I can do that!  There are literally dozens of sparkling wines from all over the world that match this price point.  I am spoiled living here int he Bay Area, as I have access to many local wineries – at least 10 sparkling houses among them, as well as excellent retail locations that offer wines of all types and cost levels.

Sparkling wine is used to celebrate all around the world.  Sparkling wine is known for toasting at weddings, or romantic dinners.  Well, I’m having none of it I tell you!  Sparkling wine is for every day!  It’s for potato chips and picnics.  Why save something so delightful for a few times a year?  With a few budget selections, you can make it an everyday wine.

I have been hard at work … um…researching this for you.  What did I discover?  There are so many to choose from, it’s difficult to walk down the wine isle at the grocery store and not find an excellent wine under US$25.  For my picks, I am going to go for three

specific wines:

 

1.  A house “genertic” from Trader Joes.  TJ’s has realy upped the game from Two Buck Chuck.  Trader Joe’s North Coast NV Sparkling Wine.  For $10, you really can’t go wrong.  TJ’s has been consistantly improving thier house labels over the years; this wine is no exception.  It was very well balanced, and had a roundness of body that I particularly enjoy.  Lots of pear, Asian pear, and apple flaors, with a touch of brioche.  This north coast fruit is 60% Chard, 40% Pinot Noir, from somewhere in the vast North Coast catch all AVA.  It’s hard to tell where it’s really from,but given the cooler growing climate up there, it’s prime for bubby.

This will make a frequent appearance at my house!

2.  A favorite of mine, is the Roederer Estate NV.  Typically under $20, and often much lower (like at Safeway, when it’s on sale for $16.99) this is an outstanding example of a domestic sparkler, and one I never get tired of.  Roederer Estate, located in the cooler climate of Anderson Valley, is the US arm of the French house Louis Roederer.   Surprisingly, the NV is a low alcohol wine, so yes, at 12% ABV by all means!  Drink more!  I love the bright green apple, pear, and creamy flavors in this wine.  Bight with citrus, it tastes like it cost a lot more than it does.

For a splurge, try the L’hermitage!

3.  A surprise guest appearance of a NEw Zealand sparkling wine, Quartz Reef Method Traditionalle NV, from Central Otago.  Quartz Reef is known as “The House of Pinot Noir”, and this bubbly kicked off our #nzwineday celebration wonderfully.  A slightly fuller bodied bubbly, there was wonderful stone fruit and lemon curd.  At $22 (JJ Buckley) this is another one to seek out if you can find it locally.  I haven’t had much sparkling wine from New Zealand and was really pleased with this.  I plan to harass my friends at JJ Buckley to ensure I can get some of this!

Other honorable mentions:

  • Mumm – the value tier of wine is generally ~$15 at retail and there are several good picks.
  • Gruett – an oddball hailing from New Mexico, actually offers a great Rose and Brut.
  • Gloria Ferrer – The Brut and Carneros Cuvee are personal faves, and are best enjoyed from tehir terrace in Carneros!

Happy Sparking Wine Blogging Wednesday!  And remember, bubbles are for every day, a celebration, a consolation, or just because.  Why hide them away when they are so affordable?

There were many more wines that I tried, and some of them are still in my fridge.  Never fear, I will post about them all, just over time as I continue my…research!  I have tasted sparklers from South Africa, Burgundy, and Spain and I vow to continue my quest as long as my champagne stopper keeps working!

Happy drinking!

 

Drinking for a cause!

It’s that time of the year again!  Yep, Holiday in Carneros is this weekend, when 20 wineries throw thier doors open and celebrate the season with wine and food pairings!

Featured wineries this weekend include:

  • Tin Barn
  • Adastra,
  • Anaba Wines
  • Bonneau Wines
  • Ceja Vineyards
  • Cline Cellars
  • Enkidu Wine
  • Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
  •  Homewood Winery
  • Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
  • Keating Wines
  • Larson Family Winery
  • McKenzie-Mueller Vineyards & Winery
  • Meadowcroft Wines
  • Parmelee-Hill Wines & Vineyards
  • Robledo Family Winery
  • Schug Carneros Estate
  • Talisman Wines
  • Tin Barn Vineyards
  • Ty Caton Vineyards

Tickets are $39 for the weekend, and include a souvineer glass.  You can purchase them in advance HERE or on the spot.  Proceeds from this event benefit scholarships for both Santa Rosa Jr. College, as well as Napa Valley College.

This year, there is a special additoin to this event.  Tin Barn Vineyards, which is located in the Eighth Street East wine garage district, will be hosting an art exhibition to benefit a local veteran’s recovery program.

Thanks Any / Way: A Photographic Exploration of Gratitude will be on display during the Holiday in Carneros weekend, Saturday and Sunday, November 19th & 20th from 10am – 4pm.  On Saturday, a Thanksgiving Feast will be served as you gaze at 25 images from both professional and emerging photogrphaers.  Proceeds from art sales will go to The Pathway HOme, a local facility that assits veterans with Post Tramatic Stress Syndrome.

There is also a section of the exhibit featuring work by the veterans who have been helped by The Pathway Home, which offers therapeutic photography as a part of it’s treatment program.

 Can’t make it to the event?  Don’t worry!  The images will be on display and up for auction at Bidding for Good, as well as on and on display at Tin Barn Vineyards during tasting room hours  through the end of the year.  

Happy 4th of July!

Normally, I refrain from posting anything that is particular patriotic, political, or US centric because hey – you never know who is reading my blog these days.  Today however, I feel like I have a lot to celebrate:

  1. It’s over 60 degrees in San Francisco and there is no fog on the 4th, which has happened maybe 3 times in the 36 years that I have lived here
  2. I don’t have to work today horray!  Any time I get an extra day off to drink, eat, and play is fine by me!
  3. There are great tunes playing on KFOG, my local passion radio station.  You can listen online too – and I highly recommend it!

So, here I am, making cookies for home made Its Its (if you don’t know what an Its It is, I feel sorry for you!  A Bay Area institution, this ice cream sandwich concoction is heaven in a freezer) and I popped open the Domaine Carneros Brut Rose.  Domaine Carneros makes some of my favorite domestic bubbly, and I never say no when there is some in the fridge

 

chilling.

A pale salmon copper color, this bubbly is 58% pinot noir and 42% chardonnay, where traditionally blanc de noir is all pinot.   Crisp and  refreshing, there are dry wild strawberries and white peaches.  A touch of shale and mineral gives this a nice refreshing body with hints of orange juice (no i did NOT make a mimosa first!) and spicy back notes on the finish.  It really is the perfect brunch beverage and I am enjoying it on my lazy summer day.

For $35, this is a MUST BUY if you love bubbly!

Happy drinking!

Thank you Tattinger (parent of Domaine Carneros) for providing me this yummy treat for today!

 

 

 

 

In Celebration of no more Shrubbery!

Yes yes I’m a day late, and a dollar short. That said, this month, we have a special theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday #49.

In light on the current political climate and the impending election, David Honig of 2 Days Per Bottle has asked us to toast to the end of this madness we call the Bush era.

What will I drink to toast this momentous occasion? It certainly will not be something to honor the President, although I will be celebrating his demise.

If Obama wins the election, as I hope he does, I will be toasting with a lovely bottle of Champagne. The current candidate is Perrier-Jouët NV Brut, which my friend Liza the Brix Chick brought over to my house before an event on Sunday. In this tasty sparkler, I found creamy toast, hazelnuts, and a lemony backnote. Ahhh refreshign!

IF however, my worst nightmare comes true and McLame & Caribou Barbie win this freak show, I will be drowning my sorrows in some good single malt scotch as I drive up to the border to escape. My favorite single malt thse days is Glenmorangie Sherry Cask, but that, is another blog post me thinks!

Happy drinking!

 

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