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Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Sparklers: Sparkling Wine Recommendations for the Season!

Photo courtesy of Christopher Haugh
With Christmas and New Year's Eve right around the corner, it's prime time for sparkling wine! Last Thursday marked our second annual "Holiday Sparklers" wine tasting event at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Guests sampled sparkling wines from around the globe paired with delicious dishes created by Chef Lenore Nolan-Ryan.

I chose these sparklers because, while I enjoy pairing wine with food, I also like to consider the occasion as well. Whether it's a casual evening at home or a formal holiday dinner, these wines represent a variety of price points with a selection to suit just about any occasion. 

Caposaldo Prosecco VSAQ Brut NV:  Named for Emperor Nero's favorite racehorse, the Caposaldo Prosecco has lovely, fresh notes of citrus, green apple and white flowers. With its light body and crisp acidity, this sparkler makes a fabulous aperitif and pairs well with a variety of dishes including cheeses, antipasti and shellfish. Its reasonable price tag makes Prosecco a great choice for a casual evening at home and/or making festive, sparkling wine-based drinks such as Mimosas, Bellinis or Pomegranate-Rosemary Royales. Be sure to keep a few bottles on hand for entertaining impromptu guests or as a gift for a fabulous holiday hostess! $14
2007 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée: Established by Claude Taittinger in 1987, Domaine Carneros produces this tasty home grown sparkler, made using the time honored méthode champenoise. This selection is vintage dated each year, and the 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay aged in the bottle for three years before release. Produced in the Brut style, this dry sparkler is very versatile and can be enjoyed as an aperitif or paired with a variety of cuisines. This medium-bodied wine’s crisp acidity and flavors of citrus, bread dough and raspberry make it a delicious pairing with double or triple cream cheeses, oysters, shellfish, poultry or Asian cuisine. $26

Taittinger Brut La Française NV: This Champagne, hailing from the eponymous region in France, is produced from select Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes. Chardonnay approximates 40% of the finished wine, over twice the percentage used in the standard cuvées of most houses. This Champagne is aged for 3 to 4 years, well beyond the required minimum of 15 months in order to develop body and bouquet. With its fine, persistent strands of bubbles, pale golden color and notes of citrus, apple and toasted brioche, the elegant Taittinger Brut La Française can definitely be enjoyed as an aperitif, yet is very food friendly and pairs well with dishes ranging from cheeses, caviar, and shellfish to roasted meats. $40

I hope you find time to enjoy some sparkling wine this holiday season. Whether it's a low key evening at home, holiday dinner party or a New Year's Eve bash, there's always a sparkling wine to suit your needs (trust me, I've done the legwork!). Also, a big thank you to all who attended our "Holiday Sparklers" event at the Museum of Art. It was such a fun evening with lots of wonderful conversation; I always enjoy exploring the world of wine with you. Thank you for your continued support throughout the year and I look forward to seeing you for more food and wine fun in 2012!


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