Posts Tagged ‘champagne’

If I had $100…I would buy these wines at Vintages

Posted by Julie

Friday, December 5th, 2014
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes, with friends, festivities, and family get togethers.  Vintages in the LCBO never disappoints.  In this weekend’s release (December 6) I wanted to buy one of everything….but remembering that I only have $100 and several dinner parties ahead of me I’m looking for value – for you and me.

LCBO Vintages magazine Dec 6First, there’s all kinds of divine “fizz” out there to tickle your tastebuds and reasonably priced sparklers such as the two new Cava’s in this release.  They are dry, snappy and the genesis to any dinner or party. To me, December is all about sparkling wine.  Served in a beautiful flute with 2 or 3 pomegranate seeds for panache, it’s as elegant as any champagne and no one knows or even cares if you spent $15 or $50. Bottom line, sparkling wine is festive and fun and everyone enjoys it. You can never have too much fizz!

When you are shopping for others, don’t forget about yourself. There’s one beautiful wine that I would recommend to everyone including the Queen: “Ladies Who Shoot Their Lunch Shiraz 2012”  (LCBO #243592 $35.95) is the pinnacle of Shiraz’s. I have tasted hundreds of wines in 2014 and this one always rises to any occasion.

I love to showcase Canadian wines and this release offered so many great ones. Have fun shopping and don’t forget, if you find something delicious, go back and get a few bottles. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Sometimes even I forget my own advice!

It’s Christmas time, share your cheer and goodwill.

My best to you for the season,
Julie 

If I had $100, I would buy these wines at LCBO Vintages…

December 6, 2014

 

Summarroca Gran Reserva Brut Cava

Sumarroca Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2009

DO, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages # 393504) 11.5% alcohol

Ever wonder what that “DO” means?  DO  stands for “Denominacion de Origen” similar to our VQA in Ontario.  It’s part of a regulatory classification system for the country’s highest quality products. It can be applied to everything from olive oil to honey to fruit.  This Cava is delicate, pale in colour, light bodied and totally refreshing. Reminiscent of toasted almonds and apricots with a little herbaceous-ness on the finish not often detected in a sparkling white.  I would recommend light or-d’oeuvres so not to crowd the tastes; perhaps some delicious little crackers, you don’t have to break the bank to be elegant. That old expression, “less is more”.

 

Featherstone ChardonnayFeatherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$21.95 (Vintages # 149302) 13.5% alcohol

I hadn’t planned to feature a Chardonnay however I could not waste the opportunity to taste something new. This Chard. really wowed me. I can’t wait for the release. Aromas of creme caramel and layers upon layers of tropical fruits, soft, not overwhelming in oak so don’t let the “oak” in the name scare you off.  As you whirl it around the tongue this white wine is so soft in the mouthfeel, medium to full bodied and there are some wines, I can only describe as yummy.   A great sipper on its own but I think it would marry well with chicken in parmesan crust with a little white sauce, green beans, now its getting “yummier”.

 

De Sousa Seasons MeritageDe Sousa Seasons Reserve Meritage 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$15.95  (Vintages #315911) 13% alcohol

Unbelievable to find a Meritage at that price point that tasted so delicious. Once again I am wowed by a Canadian winery. Red Meritage must be a blend of two or more of the five traditional Bordeaux grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot or Malbec. Historically, Meritage wines are considered to be highly rated and the winery must be a member of the Meritage Alliance and adhere to the above regulation. Rich red fruits on the palate, medium bodied, light tannins with a little leather and dust on the finish. Layered with lots of berry flavours, a great sipper on its own but pot roast comes to mind, with lots of root veggies and don’t forget the “jus”.

 

Vineland Pinot MeunierVineland Pinot Meunier 2012

VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula
$17.95 (Vintages# 225508) 12% alcohol

Juicy, juicy, juicy….the aromas were almost like sticking your head in a bouquet of ripe cherries. Pinot Meunier is often used in blends such as Champagne, however it is an incredible grape just on its own and grown in our own backyard. Medium bodied with soft tannins with a fruity red berry finish, it is a red wine that would be agreeable to everyone. It is also versatile enough to marry with chicken to a beef stew and it’s just great on its own with a varietal cheese plate.

 

Alma Negra BlendAlma Negra Blend 2011

Mendoza , Argentina
$19.95 (Vintages #384297)  13.5% alcohol

This new to Vintages product is a blend of the Bonarda and Malbec grapes. Aromas of dark ripe plums and cherries carry through to the palate and make for a huge mouthfeel of lusciousness. Good acidity with soft tannins, beautifully balanced and a great new find. It’s dark and rich, served with any grilled meat from ribs to steak (not to mention its packaged in one sexy black bottle) I promise the folks around the table will comment.  It’s a gem of a red wine.

 

Grand Total: $ 94.75

 

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Festive fizz & must buy holiday wines

Posted by Susan

Friday, December 6th, 2013
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Corks are popping as the festive season kicks into full swing.  Appropriately, the focus in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (Saturday December 7) is ‘Making Merry’ with a selection of  wines for the holidays…along with a truckload of fabulous fizz…you know sparkling wines!

When shopping for sparkling wines, it is best to know the ABCs…

 

What is Méthode Traditionelle?

Champagne is of course, at the top of Santa’s list, each Champagne House creates a unique blend of wines that reflects its signature flavours and texture. If your palate wants that creamy crispness but your wallet is calling ‘Halt!’, try some of the unique sparkling wines featured in this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release. Many of these sparkling wines are made in the classic ‘Méthode Traditionelle’, that is to say, with the second fermentation in the bottle, as in French Champagne, an approach that creates fine, persistent bubbles. 

Try the Peller Estates ‘Ice Cuvee’ Rose and the versatile Megalomaniac Bubblehead from Niagara, Chandon Rosé and Roederer Estate Sparkling Brut from California, Simonsig ‘Kaapse Vonkel’ Brut Cap Classique from South Africa, Juvé y Camps ‘Cinta Purpura Reserva’ Cava from Spain, Pfaffenheim ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Brut Crèmant d’Alsace and Charles Duret Brut Crémant de Bourgogne.

Or what about Méthode Charmat?

The ‘Charmat’ method, which sees the second fermentation in tank, is known for preserving fresh fruit flavours.  Good & tasty examples are the Perlage Canah Brut Prosecco also available this Vintages release. 

If you’re confused about some of these designations, remember that sparkling wines can be made from white or red grapes (in France, these would be Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Chardonnay).  When the bubbly is made using only white grapes, it will state on the label ‘Blanc de Blancs’.  If made from red grapes, it will be state ‘Blanc de Noirs’. Now there is a tidbit to float during small talk at your next holiday party!

The Ho Ho Ho of White Wines…

In the Vintage release there’s a great selection excellent value wines.  Try such white wines as Trapiche ‘Finca las Palmas’ Chardonnay, Seresin Sauvignon Blanc (an organic product), Pierre Sparr Altenbourg Riesling or the concentrated Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio.

…and Red Wines

LCBO Vintages release December 7 2013In terms for red wines, I would recommend Belle Glos ‘Meiomi’ Pinot Noir, Irony Small Lot Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Château Bertinerie Merlot/Cabernet, Domaine Beau Mistral ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Rasteau, Villa Medoro ‘Rosso del Luca’ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Luigi Righetti ‘Campolietti’ Ripasso.

Unfortunately, there were few Canadian wines at this release tasting, but I would recommend both the Pillitteri Antagonist (a tasty, easy-drinking blend of the Cabs and Merlot) as well as the biodynamic wine from Southbrook, Triomphe Cabernet-Merlot, showing lots of character and balance, despite the difficult 2008 vintage.

…. and a Truly special finish

Finally, if you like a touch of fizz with a dessert tart, enjoy the off-dry Nova 7 from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge, a unique, absolutely delightful low-alcohol sparkler that offers lovely floral, fresh fruit and citrus aromas.

Buy it now, drink it later

If you want a holiday treat for your sweetie or to stash away in your cellar, here are my picks to pick up: Decoy Cabernet Sauvignon or the Burrowing Owl Meritage. For those who like a touch of sweetness, you can choose from the unctuous de Bortoli ‘Noble One’ Botrytis Semillon or the richly textured Burmester 10 Year Old Tawny Port.

Happy and Safe Holidays to all!

Susan

If I had $100, I would buy at LCBO Vintages…

 

Juvé y Camps ‘Cinta Purpura Reserva’ Brut Cava 2009

Penedes, Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #352864) 12.0% alcohol

Generally produced from the indigenous Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo grapes in the traditional method,  Cava sparkling wines tend to offer great quality and value – this sparkling wine is no exception!

Classic notes of white flower, ripe apple, pear, citrus and toast pop from the glass. It is clean and fresh, the mousse is fine, mouth-filling and long-lasting, framing tangy notes of citrus, green apple and yeast that persist through the tasty, refreshing finish. Offering poise and refinement, this is an excellent choice for any holiday gathering.

 

Vignobles Guilheim Le Viognier 2012

Pays d’Oc, France
$15.95 (Vintages #358507) 13.5% alcohol

A golden gem, this Viognier delivers! From the lifted aromas of tropical fruit, white flowers, sweet citrus and honey to the clean fresh texture and depth of flavour—mango, peach and lemon zest jump to the fore. Dry, medium-full bodied, this white wine offers a wonderful fullness and that characteristic pleasing touch of tangy bitterness on the finish. An excellent value, enjoy it with roast pork loin or lemon-herb chicken.

 

Château Bertinerie Cru Réserve 2009

Côtes de Bordeaux-Blaye, France
$18.95 (Vintages #244640) 13.5% alcohol

From one of the lesser-known Bordeaux appellation, this blend of Merlot and Cabernets is a remarkable value red wine. Cherries, plum and berries are layered with spice, cedar and vanilla. Dry, medium-full bodied, the fruit and spice replays, a sweet note of toasty oak and a hint of chocolate mingling with a whiff of dried herbs. Well structured and balanced, appealingly accessible and fruity, this is a great wine to cellar or serve with herb-crusted leg of lamb or with your favorite roast of beef.

 

Les Vignerons de Visan ‘Visan’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2011

Côtes du Rhône-Villages, France
$15.95 (Vintages #179234) 14.5% alcohol

There’s finesse to the structure of this intensely fruity medium-full bodied red wine. The nose offers lashings of sweet fruit, vanilla, spice and garigue. The palate is dry yet smooth, showcasing loads of luscious clean, ripe fruit, balance assured by well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity. The spice and herbs replay on the dry, tasty finish. An excellent value that will pair with roast beef au jus. 

 

Luigi Righetti ‘Campolieti’ Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2011

Valpolicella, Italy
$17.95 (Vintages #695890) 13.5% alcohol

I recommended the 2010 vintage of this wine earlier this year, and definitely feel the new vintage is worth purchasing as well! Crafted from fruit harvested in the original Valpolicella viticultural area, this dry, medium-full bodied wine displays added intensity and depth from the use of dried grapes in the winemaking process. There’s complexity of aromas and flavours—floral notes, berry, vanilla, notions of dried cherries, herbs and spice—on a subtle structure. Clean, fresh acidity frames bright tasty fruit, the lasting aftertaste offering notions of chocolate and pleasantly toasty oak. Cellar or serve this wine with beef tenderloin with a pinenut and sun-dried tomato stuffing.

Grand Total: $86.75

 

 

 

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It’s a boy! Time to pop open the bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 22nd, 2013
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The news about the arrival of Kate & William’s baby boy is spreading like wild fire.  There are bottles of bubbly being popped all around the world – especially in London!

A royal occasion such as this deserves the finest Champagne, yet all of us in the Savvy Team love to showcase Canadian wines….so to celebrate the baby’s arrival, we are uncorking the most popular sparkling wine that we have featured in Savvy Bin Ends: Romeo Blanc de Noir made by Palatine Hills of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The good news is that this sparkling wine is as good as Champagne at half the price.  The bad news though is that it is almost gone!  We have heard from the winemaker that there are only 15 cases left at the winery…and it’s a steal at $22.95 (that is $7 off each bottle.)

Stock up to have this bubbly in the fridge for whenever the moment strikes – like the Royal’s news today – or for any occasion to pop the cork!

To order this fantastic bubbly click here >>

Hurry as this bubbly will sell out quickly…and when it is gone, it is gone for good!

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Change of season – time to shop for different wines

Posted by Julie

Friday, April 26th, 2013
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During my recent trip to Shanghai I tasted some “Great Wall” wines which really did not inspire me to climb the wall despite the fact that China is the fifth world’s wine producing country. I’m so glad to be back in Ottawa in time for signs of Spring which to me include all the great wines in the LCBO Vintages release on Saturday April 27.

Although we’re all ready for a change in temperature and switching lighter style wines,  this release focuses on Italy’s Veneto, Appassimento and organic wines all perfect for hearty pastas. 

 What are Veneto wines?

No need for translation here…however Apassimento style wine is an ancient wine technique where the grapes are laid out on straw mats to allow them to dry. Depending on humidity and temperature, the grapes shrivel and develop high sugar concentration levels. After being crushed they produce concentrated rich wines such as Amarone and desert ones like “vin santo”.

The real splurge…

Although I cannot fathom anyone tiring of ice or late harvest wine, for something different, this release offers a wonderful Italian desert wine and a myriad of really big reds for those who are biting to grill some meat. There are also some fabulous new white wines from our Niagara region.

The real splurge however, would be the Veuve Clicquot Pondsardin Vintage Rose Champagne 2004 at $97.95, oh the mousse in this is divine and it does comes with a gift box.

So all this to say, if you are planning a special lunch or dinner, this release offers quite a selection of new beverages to help dress up any occasion.

Spring Cheers!

Julie

The Good Earth the Good Wine Betty’s Blend 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$17.95 (Vintages #327791) 11.6% alcohol

Winery owner Nicolette Novak isn’t kidding when she includes the word ‘good’ in the name of her winery – there’s nothing but good wine at Good Earth. This blend is pale in colour with aromas of white blossoms and a bit of wet stone. Deliciously delicate in taste with a lovely mix of tree fruits like apricot and a pinch of tart apple. It’s dry fresh and light and a wine that I would call a crowd pleaser – no one could not like this wine!  It is a perfect afternoon drink on its own or with some soft cheese or light lunch.

 

La Cappuccina Soave 2012  (Organic)

DOC, Veneto, Italy
$14.95 (Vintages #081489) 12% alcohol

Perhaps it is because the grapes are grown at the site of an ancient chapel housed by Franciscan friars who, for over a century really knew how to grow grapes. The pale straw coloured wine is fresh and crisp with tastes of lemon-lime on the palate. It is clean tasting, fruity but bone dry & the wine is sulphur free with lively acidity.  It’s a fabulous sipper or would be perfect with some shellfish or other seafood. I can practically imagine an Italian piazza, some brilliant sunshine, nibbles of grilled calamari and of course having a glass of this cool zesty delicious Soave.

 

EOS Estate Petite Sirah 2009

Paso Robles, California, U.S.A.
$19.95 (Vintages #317677) 13.9% alcohol

It is coincidental that on 5 April 2013, in Ottawa, I poured for the EOS Estate Winery at the California Wine Show. There were not many Petite Sirah’s at the show so this wine was a popular novelty.  EOS, named after the Greek Goddess of dawn, is the largest winery on California’s Central Coast to run completely on alternative energy. Layered with dark fruits and a peppery pinch of coffee on the finish; a great sipper on its own or with a lamb/feta burger.

 

Chateau Haut-Plaisance 2010

Ac Montagne Saint Emilion, France
$17.00 (Vintages 326587) 15% alcohol

A rich garnet red Bordeaux blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabnert Franc – a classic full bodied Meritage. Heady aromas of ripe dark fruit and violets that follow through with a little leather and pepper on the medium long finish. It is positively mouthcoating and delcious with firm medium tannins that would match a prime rib any day. It also won Gold Medals at the Concours General Agricole de Paris and Concours des Grands Vins de France in 2012- need I say more?

 

Antolini Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico 2009  (Dessert Wine)

DOC, Italy
$28.95 (Vintages #135533) 13.5% alcohol

Valpolicella ranks just after Chianti in total Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) wine production. This rich, luscious desert wine, made with Corvina and Rondinella grapes, derives part of its name (recioto) from ancient Greek dialect “recie” meaning ears. This refers to the lobes of a grape cluster that appear as “ears” becoming very ripe with direct sun exposure which in turn allows the natural sugars to concentrate. Following harvest, DOC Regulations dictate that Reciotos cannot be pressed before January 1. The grapes in this wine matured a year before bottling. Aromas and tastes of rich dark fruit, roasted almonds with chocolate overtones and spices reminiscent of Christmas cake. With a piece of dark chocolate or unsweetened chocolate cake, it would be heaven

 

Grand Total: $98.80

 

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‘Tis the Season for Snazzy Sparkling wines

Posted by Julie

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
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Holiday season is upon us, so it’s no wonder that one theme for this next release on December 8 at the LCBO Vintages features is “Fabulous Fizz”, also known as sparkling wine.

There is nothing more celebratory or inviting than being given a glass of sparkling wine when you go into someone’s home and this release offers all kinds of festive fizz. Of course if you are in for the big splurge there are some new Champagne releases starting at $44.95 going to $299.95 for a rare Dom Perignon Rosé Champagne. My features however show that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy great bubbly.

Sparkling wine is generally lower in alcohol than many table wines with more delicate flavours to entice the palate. This makes it a great aperitif to serve with hors d’oeuvres, especially salty ones. The bubbles act as palate cleansers which send you reaching for one more nibble. For this reason sparkling wine is also known to be incredibly food friendly from appetizers through to desert. During the Christmas season, I add pomegranate seeds to the sparkling wine which, in a tall flute, makes for a very festive presentation.

So don’t neglect to have a few sparklers on hand. What is not enjoyed before Christmas, can provide some “pop” at New Year’s. There are some new, some old and I am sure you will find one to suit your budget.

Since this will be my last “If I had a $100” blog until next year, I wish you a fabulously, fizzy season.

Cheers, Santé, Salute, Aplausos to my readers!

 Julie

Oyster Bay Brut Sparkling Cuvée

New Zealand
$21.95 (Vintages #163634) 12% alcohol

Some of you may be familiar with the Oyster Bay Chardonnay on the LCBO general list so it was a real treat to see that the winemakers made a sparkler just in time for the Christmas season. Produced with the same finesse that is given to their Chard., this does not disappoint and tastes similar to Champagne, done in the Charmat style. (This is when the wine undergoes a secondary fermention in bulk tanks and is bottled under pressure.) A lovely nose of lemon-lime, fine moussy bubbles with a creamy texture in the mouth feel. It is a lovely sipper on its own with hors d’oeuvres and could easily go to the table to serve with salad and seafood.

Jackson Triggs Entourage Grand Reserve Brut 2008

VQA Niagara Peninsula
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12% alcohol

The wine was fermented first in stainless steel tanks and like the above Traditional Méthode or Méthode Classique, it was then aged in the bottle for 3 years before being disgorged (removing the sediment). A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay 30%) how could it not be anything but elegant and refined? It has a generous mousse (wine speak for lots of tiny bubbles) aromas of white blossoms and almonds, with creamy tastes of apples, citrus and apricots. It’s one classy wine!

Domaine Du Clos De L’Epinay Tete De Cuvée Brut Vouvray 2007

AC, Loire Valley, France
$19.95 (Vintages #298398) 12% alcohol

The Chenin Blanc grape varietal initially hails from the Loire valley of France. It is known for its’ great acidity which means it can be blended, or produced on it’s own in everything from sparkling to still wine to luscious desert wine. This sparkler has lots of “nose” giant flavours of yellow apples, almost a little sweet spice reminiscent of baked coconut pie but dry and a pinch vegetal. All these fabulous flavours dance on the palate with a delicious hazel-nutty finish. Another great partner for seafood appetizers or a fish course.

Masottina Brut Prosecco

DOC, Treviso, Veneto, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #297838) 11.5% alcohol

I can’t count the number of times I have served Prosecco (and Cava, below) to start a dinner party and this is the new kid on the block. Very pale in colour with a slightly greenish hue, delightfully aromatic; white blossoms and fresh scents of apple and pear, with a slightly edgy taste of citrus on the palate. It sure gets those taste buds moving before sitting down to the main course and is a great all year round sparkler. This would be a fabulous prior to a creamy hot or cold soup, depending on the season. It also goes without saying it’s a splendid beginning to some Italian food.

Naveran Dama Extra Brut Cava 2010

DOC, Spain $17.95 (Vintages #223602) 12% alcohol

Fresh and lively with aromas of tropical fruit and a little spice. A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada grapes gives it a fairly weighty mouth feel for a sparkling wine with lots of bubbles to create lingering fruit flavours on the finish. A great start to a paella dinner or with tapas or just on its own. Lots of flavours and interest, a great value wine.

Grand Total: $ 99.75

(maybe in the New Year I will hit $100.00 spot on)

 

 

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Savvy Sommelier Debbie sheds some lights on bubbly

Posted by Debbie

Thursday, May 12th, 2011
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Spring is bursting forth with much to celebrate! That hazy green glow around the trees, the flirty chirping of birds & the return of BBQ parties. Let’s celebrate the shedding of winter with the excitement of spring by popping open a bottle of bubbly!

Think that sparkling wine is too sweet, too expensive or too much of an affair for any day of the week? Think again! Have you ever had a sparkling shiraz? Or a sparkling dry rosé? They exist, and Savvy Company’s Debbie Trenholm loves how the mousse (winespeak: bubbles) cleanses your palate and refreshes the senses readying for delicious dishes of spring like risotto or BBQed plank salmon.

Bubblies are made using various methods, and available at several price points. No need to wait for a special occasion, after all, spring has arrived.

Pop a bottle open & cheers!

Taltarni Brut Taché 2008, Australia $20.40 (on sale – regular $24)
Crafted using the same grape varieties used in French champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier, this crisp & dry sparkling has elegant aromas of rose petals, pear & apricots. The persistent mousse leaves a refreshing taste with every sip.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Serve chilled on its own, pack for a picnic or serve with sushi.

Hardy’s Oomoo Sparkling Shiraz 2004, Australia $19.95
This sparkling red wine has an oooh ahhh factor. This wine is striking with its racing car red colour concentrated aromas of plums, boysenberry, red licorice combined with a juicy texture & refreshing acidity.

Food Pairing Suggestions: I recommend to chill it in the fridge for 10 minutes then serve on its own, or with a meal of BBQed meats. Last weekend, I popped it open to enjoy with a Sunday meal of prime rib & all the trimmings. Save a splash to enjoy with dark chocolate cake!

Enrico Serafino Moscato d’Asti, Italy $15.95
Now here is a wine that definitely smells & tastes like spring! Swirl the glass to enjoy the concentrated aromas of apricot, orange blossom, marmalade that continues into the taste.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Light in alcohol (5.5%) this is a great wine to serve at a springtime brunch or with fresh fruit.

Nicolas Feuillate Brut Champagne, France $42.50
It’s impossible to write about bubblies without including French champagne. If you’re going to splurge then get this gorgeous Champagne as it is priced less than its competitors. The fine mousse is a surefire sign of premium quality. This champagne has yeasty aromas of biscuit (think shortbreads or Arrowroot cookies) with a touch of citrus & crunchy apple.

Food Pairing Suggestions: Steamed lobster is a classic match with champagne, grilled chicken brochettes & oysters.

Let’s toast to the arrival of spring!

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