The Glamorous Gourmet About Events Recipes Wine Reviews Contact

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sparkling Selections for your New Year's Eve Soirée & Toasts for the Holiday Host!

Well, the countdown to 2013 is on and it's time for the big reveal: The Wine Atelier's Sparkling Selections for your New Year's Eve Soiree! No matter what your price range, there's an option to suit your toasting needs as well as a few fabulous New Year's Eve toasts that make the perfect accessory for the Holiday Host or Hostess. All wines are available for purchase through The Wine Atelier, and without further ado, here they are:

Caposaldo Prosecco DOC: Hailing from the rolling hills of the Veneto, this sparkler is named for Emperor Nero's favorite racehorse of the Circus Maximus. Made from the Glera grape, it is light bodied with a crisp acidity and lovely, fresh notes of citrus, green apple and white flowers. This sparkler makes a fabulous aperitif and pairs well with a variety of dishes including cheeses, antipasti and shellfish. While fabulous for sipping on its own, this wine's reasonable price makes it a great choice for making festive, sparkling wine-based drinks such as Mimosas, Bellinis or Pomegranate-Rosemary Royales. Price: $14

Toast: "In the New Year may your right hand be stretched out in friendship but never in want." ~ Traditional Irish Toast

J Vineyards Brut Rosé NV: While the beautiful bottle makes a fabulous presentation the gorgeous pink bubbly inside certainly lives up to its inviting appearance. This holiday sparkler is a blend of 64% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 2% Pinot Meunier and hails from the cool climate of California's world renowned Russian River Valley. Delicate aromas and flavors of strawberry, raspberry and citrus precede a crisp, refreshing effervescence on the palate. While perfect on its own, this bubbly is also a wonderful pairing for dishes including charcuterie, shellfish or even roasted chicken. Price: $38

Toast: "May we live to learn well, and learn to live well. May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live." ~ Anonymous 

Schramsberg Vineyards Blanc de Noirs 2008: Blanc de Noirs means "white from black" and as the name implies this sparkler from "America's House of Sparkling Wine" is predominantly Pinot Noir, made from 91% Pinot Noir and 9% Chardonnay. Schramsberg pioneered the Blanc de Noirs style in the United States, producing the first such American sparkler in 1967. This luxurious sparkling wine has a creamy texture of toasted brioche, vanilla, baked apple and hazelnut. While perfect for enjoying on its own it has ample body to stand up to dishes including macadamia-crusted halibut or roasted pork tenderloin.  Price: $38

Toast: "Here's a toast to the future; a toast to the past, and a toast to our friends, far and near. May the future be pleasant, the past a bright dream. May our friends remain faithful and dear." ~ Anonymous 

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV: Known as the Champagne that seduced the Royal Courts, Charles Heidsieck is definitely one of Champagne's best kept secrets. This House's non vintage offering is one of my personal favorites, representing a decadent blend of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. The fact that it includes 40% reserve wine in the blend with an average age of 10 years, with some going back as far as 15 years, really sets this cuvée apart. The result is a toasty, rich, complex style of Champagne with notes of apricot, dried fruit and almonds that is ideal for ringing in the New Year. Price: $50

Toast: "May you never lie, cheat or drink. But if you must lie, lie in each other's arms. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink with all of us because we love you!" ~ Anonymous 

Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV: Winemaker Francis Egly's wines are counted among the most well-respected "Grower Champagnes" and are made with the utmost of care from vines located in the Grand Cru villages of Bouzy, Verzenay and Ambonnay. This bright and refreshing Brut is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay that is not fined or filtered, allowing the terroir to shine through. Notes of warmed crepes drizzled with fruit compote; pink and white flowers; and a touch of vanilla are evident on the nose of this Champagne followed by flavors of black and red cherries, fresh ginger and white pepper. A special bottle for a special evening! Price: $75

Toast: "For last year's words belong to last year's language, and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning." ~ T.S. Elliot
Champagne Krug Grande Cuvée: Krug is known for its unrelenting attention to detail in producing one of the finest Champagnes in the world. Krug President Maggie Henriquez likens their portfolio of cuvées to haute couture due to the meticulous attention to detail involved in their production, and rightly so: the Krug Grande Cuvée, the house's flagship multi-vintage bottling, is a blend of 120 hand-crafted reserve wines from over ten different vintages. The full-bodied, opulent Grande Cuvée delights with enticing aromas of toasted brioche, marzipan, and complex flavors of citrus peel, hazelnuts and spice. An exceptionally elegant cuvée! Price: $160

Toast: "Be at war with your voices, at peace with your neighbors and let every New Year find you a better man." ~ Benjamin Franklin

To purchase any of the above selections, please call 561-317-6663 or email No matter which sparkler you select for your New Year's Celebration I wish you a truly magical evening and all the best in 2013!  



Sunday, December 16, 2012

From the Christmas Kitchen: Host Your Own Holiday Wine Tasting!

Our festive table!
The spirit of the holidays lends itself to catching up with family and friends, old and new. What better way to celebrate this festive time of year than enjoying each other's company over a Holiday Wine Tasting? 

Recently, I had some friends over to kick off the holiday season as well as celebrate the opening of my retail wine boutique, The Wine Atelier. We enjoyed catching up and getting to know each other over a menu of light bites paired with some wonderful wines at a variety of price points. I based my menu on the preferences of my friend Christina Price, proprietor of the Linen Closet, whose birthday we were (unofficially) also celebrating that night. We had lots of fun discussing each pairing and which dishes and wines were everyone's favorites. This menu allows for preparing some of the dishes in advance as well as purchasing some of the items in order to ease the load on the host or hostess. Alternatively you could have each couple or guest bring a pairing to the party. No matter how you choose to do it, I hope you enjoy this menu as much as we did!

Holiday Wine Tasting Menu

Gruyere Cheese Straws
Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut NV Champagne

Lobster Mac & Cheese
2010 Concha y Toro Marques de Concha Casa Chardonnay

Gaucho Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
2010 Alta Vista Premium Malbec

Meatballs with Marinara Sauce & Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
2010 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto IGT

Chocolate Birthday Cake
Quady Red Electra 

Helene, Moi, Christina & Ana
Tips for the Holiday Hostess!
- It's good to have some help the evening of your party so you too can enjoy your friends. Either arrange with a friend in advance to help out or hire someone to have on hand.
- Plan your serving ware in advance so you're not caught off guard when plating each dish. The Mac & Cheese can be served in porcelain ramekins (I like Williams Sonomas Apilco line), while the steak can be served on  small hors d'oeuvres plates (I like these 6" white ones from Crate and Barrel) and the meatballs can be served in small white bowls. 
- Because it is a tasting, guests can use the same glass for each wine, or you may want to give them one for red and one for white depending on how many you have. Just be sure to put out buckets and pitchers of water so your guests can rinse their glasses between wines. I do recommend having flutes on hand for the bubbly which are easy to rent from a local party rental store.
- When hosting a wine tasting it's always nice to print out the menu with wine pairings for your guests so they can follow along and make notes to take home.
- Keep floral arrangements simple and low in height so that you can enjoy the company of your guests. I like to use flowers from my local market and use versatile silver julep cups as vases.
The Recipes
Cheese Straws
1st Course: For the Gruyere Cheese Straws, I absolutely love the Barefoot Contessa's recipe! It's from her delightful cookbook Barefoot in Paris (also a favorite!) and if you pick one thing to make the day of your party, let this recipe be it. For the link to her recipe, click here! While they are a bit time consuming, they are entirely worth it! We have come to call them simply "Champagne Sticks" because I think they pair perfectly with the toasty, yeasty nature of Champagne. They pair particularly well with the delicious Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut ($38) which is made predominantly of Pinot Noir grapes and has aromas and flavors of apple tarte tatin, ginger and toasted brioche with a bright acidity and lovely minerality. The red and gold bottle also looks so festive for the holidays!

Lobster Mac & Cheese
2nd Course: For the Lobster Mac and Cheese I tried a recipe I had not tried before. It had gotten so many positive reviews on the Food Network website I had to see what all the hype was about. It turned out to be delicious and it had the perfect level of creamy decadence I was looking for to pair with the 2010 Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay ($18). I would caution you to make sure you season the dish with enough salt otherwise it might be a bit bland, which brings to light an important tenet of cooking - always taste as you cook. Also, because you are serving smaller portions, don't worry about skimping on the heavy cream - go ahead, it's the holidays after all, so the calories don't count! The Chardonnay had lovely notes of citrus, hazelnut and spice as well as a food friendly acidity and creamy texture. This year the wine also became the first Chilean Chardonnay to ever appear in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year and represents a deliciously great value!

Piper, Puppy & Hubby!
3rd Course: Our next course beautifully demonstrated the concept, "if it grows together it goes together." Argentine style skirt steak is a natural match for the country's signature grape variety, Malbec. For the recipe, I went with Tyler Florence's rendition of Gaucho Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce. In addition to  being adorable, his recipes are always really amazing! Skirt steak has such fabulous texture and flavor and the Chimichurri sauce is delicious and also makes a nice dressing the next day for some freshly sliced heirloom tomatoes. As far as cooking the steaks, you can grill them off up to 2 hours before your party and keep them wrapped in foil in a warming drawer or in your oven on a low, low temp. Luckily I don't always have to head outside into the elements to grill them thanks to my handy Calphalon Nonstick Grill Pan from Williams Sonoma! It is so convenient and does such a great job everyone thought I had grilled them on the outdoor grill! The 2010 Alta Vista Premium Malbec was delicious with notes of blackberry, plum, pepper and spice and very well-integrated tannins; it complemented the skirt steak beautifully. For amazing Argentine, grass-fed beef which has remarkable texture and incredible flavor, please visit Pablo, at Gaucho Ranch in Miami.

These Ann Taintor Napkins are so cheeky!
4th Course: For the next course I must confess I purchased the meatballs to save myself some time. Lucky for me Marianne's Gourmet Shop in Delray Beach does a fabulous job! I just heated then up, spooned some extra marinara sauce over them along with some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped parsley and they were good to go. They were a lovely pairing with our fabulous Super Tuscan, the 2010 Tenuta San Guido Guidalberto ($49), the second label from the makers of the legendary Sassicaia. This wine's first vintage was in 2000 and is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 10% Sangiovese aged in both French and American oak barrels. Unlike Sassicaia which generally requires substantial bottle aging prior to drinking, Guidalberto is crafted to be approachable at a much younger ago. Based on the reactions of our guests, I think they definitely agreed! The 2010 was remarkably approachable with complex notes of black currant, plum and spice with layers and layers of flavor. This elegant wine had beautifully silky tannins and was definitely a hit with our crowd!

The Lineup!
For dessert, Christina's husband Eric brought a delicious chocolate cake which I paired with the quirky and tasty Quady Red Electra ($14). Located in Madera in California's San Joaquin Valley, Quady Winery was founded by Andrew and Laurel Quady in 1977. They specialize in making dessert wines crafted from the Muscat grape variety. Their Red Electra is a blend of Black and Orange Muscat which has a beautiful raspberry-tinged color, delightful effervescence, as well as fruity flavors of raspberry, cranberry and a hint of orange zest. The interesting bottle features an angel in a red dress framed in gold against a black background and the narrative on the Quady website states, "there's an angel soaring in a red dress and it is after dark. She could be going to a party. There is something exciting about an angel wearing a red dress going to a party after dark. This will be a very good party. [Red Electra] is a good wine for angels to drink when they party." With only 5% alcohol, it also can't do too much damage! The wine's ripe, fruity flavors paired nicely with the delicious chocolate cake.

To purchase any of the wines mentioned in this or a previous post please call us at 561-317-6663 or send us an e-mail at  You can either pick up locally or we deliver orders over $150. We can also ship in case you need to send any gifts to the wine lover(s) in your life - don't forget about The Wine Atelier Monthly Wine Club! Thanks again and we greatly appreciate your support.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Wine Atelier's 2012 Holiday Wine Picks & a Very Special Offer!

"It is well to remember there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one's present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason." ~ Latin Proverb

The holidays are here and for those of us who love wine it's the prime time of year to indulge! On that note I am very happy to announce the 2012 Wine Atelier Holiday Wine Picks which I've selected with your vinous needs and desires in mind. Whether you're entertaining friends, neighbors and family; looking for the perfect gift; or just looking to explore the world of wine, this list has you covered, featuring wines from around the globe that suit many tastes at a variety of price points. As a special offer, the first five shoppers who spend $100 or more will receive one month of the Wine Atelier Club free - a $50 value!

In addition to the wines listed here, please feel free to inquire about any other favorites you enjoy. I have a wide selection of wine in my virtual boutique which you will be able to see shortly once my website is complete! Also, if you are looking for a fabulous gift for the wine lover in your life (or looking to treat yourself!) please consider The Wine Atelier Club which delivers a monthly wine experience right to your doorstep. For more information on The Club please click here and if you'd like to purchase any of the wines in this post, there is a shopping cart located at the bottom of the page. So without further ado, my fellow oenophiles, here are The Wine Atelier's 2012 Holiday picks:

 2012 Holiday Wines

Pfaffl Grüner Veltliner Austrian Pepper 2008: The home of Mozart, Edelweiss and Lederhosen has a long rich tradition of winemaking. The vine has been cultivated in Austria since at least 700BC and nowadays Austria is considered a very dynamic wine producing region. Known for its wonderful whites, Grüner Veltliner is the region' s signature grape and this incarnation of 100% Grüner exhibits lovely aromas and flavors of citrus, minerals and herbs with a distinctive touch of white pepper, the calling card of this grape variety. Price: $16

King Estate Domaine Pinot Gris 2011: Founded in 1991 by the King family, King Estate is committed to producing Oregon wines of exceptional quality using organic and sustainable farming methods and time proven winemaking techniques. The King Estate Domaine wines represent the highest level of their portfolio and are made exclusively with organically grown grapes from their estate vineyard. This lovely incarnation of Pinot Gris is 100% stainless steel fermented and sur lie aged to produce a wine with lovely freshness and texture. Enticing notes of nectarine, white peach, citrus and star fruit accompany a delightful freshness and balance. Price: $24

Bodegas Palacio Cosme Palacio 1894 Blanco 2008: Bodegas Palacio was founded in 1864 by Don Cosme Palacio y Bermejillo and is located in the heart of Spain's Rioja Alavesa. This wine is a blend of 92% Viura and 8% Malvasia from 80 year old vines grown at high elevation on limestone based soils. The wine is then aged in new French oak barrels (50% new) for 14 days and the result is a very intriguing wine with a lot of personality! Notes of lime, stone fruit, almond and spice are accompanied by a lovely minerality and food friendly acidity. If you are looking for something a little off the beaten path, look no further! Price: $30

Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru 2010:The Moulin de Vaudon, a property of Joseph Drouhin, is an 18th century watermill close to the Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis. Because of its unique location at the heart of their 38 hectare vineyard estate (95 acres), this historic mill is the headquarters of the Drouhin Domaine in Chablis. Here, the Kimmeridgian limestone soil of Chablis contains millions of tiny marine fossils once located at the bottom of a Jurassic seabed hundreds of millions of years ago. The marine origin of the soil gives the wines their unique flavor profile and brings to life the true concept of "terroir". This elegant wine has notes of apple, melon and grapefruit with a lovely minerality and food friendly acidity. Price: $37

De Bortoli Deen Vat 4 Petit Verdot 2010: Deen De Bortoli created his Vat Series to highlight traditional varietal wines and also wines made from interesting, newer varieties to Australia. He personally selected the blends and chalked the numbers on the vats to identify them. Petit Verdot is one of Bordeaux’s classic grape varieties which is enjoying a revival in Australia. This late-ripening varietal performs exceptionally well in Australia's warm climate which allows it to achieve heightened levels of ripeness compared to the cooler climates of France. This juicy, delicious wine has aromas of blackberries, cherries, and violets as well as flavors of rich dark fruit, chocolate and spice. Chewy but approachable tannins are imparted by oak ageing. Price: $12

Renato Ratti Barbera d'Alba 2010: Renato Ratti entered the world of winemaking free of ancestral ties or responsibilities and was able to face Barolo with unfettered freedom. He was a true pioneer in the region creating the first single-vineyard Barolos produced in the same tradition as Burgundy, France. Following his untimely passing, his unique wine making philosophy is able to live on through the passion and commitment of his son Pietro. This 100% Barbera is crafted from 20 year old vines located in the Torriglione vineyards in La Morra. The Tortonian soil creates wines that are approachable with marked fragrance, softness and elegance. This wine spent six months in French oak barriques creating a wine with an intense, ruby red color and aromas and flavors of ripe plum, cassis, violets and spice. Price: $20

Chateau Mont-Redon Chateauneuf du Pape 2010: Chateau Mont-Redon is the largest single-vineyard estate of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and one of only two in the entire appellation. It supports plantings of all 22 grape varieties authorized for this well known wine from the Southern Rhone. This particular offering is a blend of 7 of the 22 allowable grapes (60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 2% Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin and Vaccarèse) and each variety is fermented separately before blending occurs. Half of the wine is then transferred to barrels for 10-12 months after malolactic fermentation while the other half remains in vats. The result is a wine with elegant ripe black fruit offset by notes of spice, leather and pepper with a firm tannic structure and delightfully complex finish. Price: $44

Domaine Drouhin Dundee Hills Pinot Noir Laurène 2009: Véronique Drouhin is the "guardian" of the Drouhin style serving as Head Winemaker for Domaine Drouhin since its inception in Oregon in 1988 as well as Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy. This very special wine is named after her elder daughter, Laurène and is the estate's flagship wine, produced entirely from Pinot Noir grown on the family's estate in the Dundee Hills. It is vibrant in color with aromatics of sweet red fruit, cherry and a hint of toast. On the palate, fresh red fruit flavors of cherry and cranberry mix easily with notes of vanilla and smoke. This elegant wine has soft, well-integrated tannins, a lovely minerality, and lengthy finish. It beautifully represents the Drouhin style applied in the New World. Price: $59

If you'd like to purchase wines from "The List" you can use the PayPal Shopping Cart and drop down list below to do so. If you have any difficulty using it, please call 561-317-6663 to place your order over the phone or e-mail If you live in South Florida please call or e-mail to arrange pickup or shipping and, as always, please feel free to call with any questions. For shipment outside of South Florida, please call us to make arrangements. Also, don't forget: the first five shoppers who spend $100 or more will receive one month of The Wine Atelier Club free - a $50 value. Thank you again for your continued interest and support and stay tuned for my next post: Holiday Sparklers!

2012 Holiday Wines

Related Posts with Thumbnails