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Winemaker’s Roundtable: 5 Facts About Sparkling Wine

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Nothing says the holidays like a glass of bubbly, so this is the perfect month to explore what many of you will be toasting with while counting down to the New Year!

  1. Many wine historians believe the world’s first sparkling wine was produced in the Limoux region of southwestern France in 1531 by monks.
  2. The British were the first to see effervescence in wine as a desirable quality and investigated as to why the bubbles were formed.
  3. Grapes used for sparkling wine are harvested early, when their acid levels are still high.
  4. There are two different methods for the secondary fermentation of sparkling wine. The Méthode Champenoise (The Champagne Method) is where the base cuvee is combined with sugar and yeast in the bottle in which it is eventually sold, while The Charmat Method takes place in steel tanks in which the yeast and sugar are added to start the fermentation process.
  5. There are many kinds of sparkling wines- from France’s Crémant to Spain’s Cava; Italian Prosecco to Portuguese Espumante….the list goes on and on.

 

Some sparkling wines to enjoy for your holiday from Temecula Valley Wine Country:

Briar Rose Brut Champagne

Danza del Sol Espumosa

Maurice Car’rie VR Raspberry California Sparkling Wine

Lorimar Vineyards Grenache Sparkling

Oak Mountain Brut California Champagne

South Coast Winery’s Spumante Diamante

Thornton Winery’s 2004 Brut Reserve Natural

Wilson Creek Winery’s Grand Cuvee Champagne

 

 

 

 

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Values And Splurges: Wines For Every Thanksgiving Table

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

We’re officially past the halfway mark in October, which means Halloween will be here and gone in a flash. Before you can say “turkey,” you’ll find yourself staring face to face with the biggest food holiday of the year- Thanksgiving! There’s no need to panic- we’ve got the perfect wine pairings to go with each dish on your Thanksgiving table so you’ll be way ahead of the curve. Just follow this simple guide and your friends and family will be thanking YOU for making their holiday meal extra special no matter what your budget.

Light appetizers:

Value: Stuart Cellars 2008 Pinot Grigio- $16.00

Splurge: Briar Rose Winery 2010 Estate Viognier- $25.00

These bright yet mellow whites pair well with light dishes to kick off your Thanksgiving meal. A salad of pears, blue cheese and walnuts or a lemony crab salad in endive leaves would be complimented by the white peach and floral notes of both wines.

Herbacious side dishes:

Value: Mount Palomar 2006 Sangiovese- $26.00

Splurge: Doffo Vineyards 2009 Syrah- $46.00

The bold, black fruit flavors of these reds pair especially well with stuffings and gravies featuring herbs such as sage, thyme and rosemary. Having an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving? Both wines are perfect for earthy mushroom and winter squash dishes as well.

Poultry, meats and heat

Value: Hart Family Winery 2007 Driveway Red- $20.00

Mid-range: Monte De Oro Winery 2007 Merlot- $28.00

Splurge: Weins 2008 Reserve Tempranillo-Petite Sirah- $49.00

Putting a Southwestern spin on your turkey this year? The dark fruit-spice in these big reds will enhance similar flavors in your chile rubbed turkey or peppered roasts. Whether you’re serving poultry, lamb or beef- all three are bold enough to stand up to richer meat courses.

Dessert:

Value: Keyways Vineyard Winery 2010 Muscat Canelli- $19.00

Splurge: Oak Mountain Winery 2005 Vintners Reserve Port- $28.00

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert, and no dessert is complete without wine -at least we feel that way! Apple pies and pear tarts are practically made to pair with Keyways’ Muscat Canelli, in which red delicious apples, kiwi , pears, and apricots come together nicely with honeysuckle and jasmine undertones. Oak Mountain’s port has a nutty honeyed flavor to perfectly compliment the nutmeg and allspice flavors of pumpkin pie.

One Meal, One Wine:

Maurice Car’rie 2010 Chenin Blanc- $12.95

Palumbo Family Vineywards & Winery 2009 Rosato Secco Rose- $18.00

Falkner Winery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc- $18.95

South Coast Winery Ruby Cuvee- $22.00

You’ve spent the better part of Thanksgiving cooking, setting the table and cleaning the house for guests, so perhaps you’re looking to simplify and serve one wine from start to finish.  Any of these four, well-priced wines fit the bill. Each is lighter on the palate, with only subtle hints of sweetness making them suitable to drink with appetizers all the way to dessert.

 

 

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