A year of great bubbly has to include Krug Champagne. In this video I got to taste their three signature expressions: Clos de Mesnil, 1989 Vintage, and Grande Cuvee. Pinch me.

While bubbly for the New Year is fresh on our minds, let’s talk favorite fizzes. I’ll tell you mine, and you must tell me yours. Here’s why: I got the best holiday gift ever from my husband John – “A Year of Great Bubbly.” It’s fifty-two bottles, so a great bottle of bubbles to look forward to every week. Coolest of all, John put 26 bottles–half the year–under the tree, leaving the rest for me to choose. That’s where you come in. What are your picks?

Of course I adore Champagne, and will definitely save my sentimental-favorite, monumental bottles–Krug Grande Cuvee and Krug 1989 vintage, Dom Perignon and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame for a special week (or a really, really a bad one!), and I’ll hope to add Krug Clos de Mesnil to the lineup if all goes well during tax season! Other Champagnes I’ll have in the mix are Piper-Heidsieck Rose Sauvage (fantastic with bacon), Bollinger RDCharles Heidsieck, and another sentimental favorite Gosset Rose, served at my first public wine seminar as the speaker rather than the worker-bee. John has also promised to tap into some of the great grower Champagnes selected by our Master Somm friend Ian Cauble for his SommSelect line of hand-chosen daily wine picks.

Some of the other great bubbles I have had this year are Ca’ del Bosco Franciacorta, which uses the traditional Champagne production method and Champagne grapes, but grown in the Lombardy district of Italy. Also from Italy is the rare and quite special Giulio Ferrari Collezione spumante from Trentino. Worth the search and the splurge!

Closer to home, I was blown away by the most recent release of Chandon Etoile, which is their prestige cuvee (and you can’t beat the Brut Classic for a value bubbly). I also loved the J Rose, which was new to me this year, and can never get enough of Schramsberg–especially the rare and expensive (but worth it) Reserve (little known fact – it ages! I recently tasted the 1996 and it was a stunner).

Speaking of which, I am showing my appreciation for this amazing gift by getting started on my stash right away with a bottle of Schramsberg Reserve 2007–TGIF! (The F is for “Fizz-day” so never a need to wait for the calendar to cooperate.)

I hope you are inspired to resolve to enjoy your own year of great bubbly, whether steal or splurge. I’ll share some of my own favorite steals in a future post. And I’d really love your picks to help fill out my Fizz-day lineup, so please share!

2017 Review – The Year in Wine

To reflect on the 2017 year in wine is to contemplate fires and fizz, roses and red blends, cans and consolidation.  As we dive into 2018, here’s my take on some of the most significant wine world happenings of 2017.

White Christmas: Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay with Lobster-Vanilla Pasta

Among the pulled corks of special bottles lining the path to our traditional Christmas dinner pairing of red Burgundy and duck breast, is always a decadent barrel-fermented Chardonnay to accompany one of my favorite date-night dishes: John’s Lobster Pasta with Vanilla Bean Beurre Blanc. Tonight’s the night! Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be dreaming of this white Christmas pairing any time you have access to lobster.

The First Date of Christmas – Labor-of-Love Black Beans and Pork Tenderloin

If a dish is a labor of love does that qualify it as date-night food? In my book, yes–and my husband John’s lovingly flavor-layered black beans are exactly that. And of course tenderloin is just plain sexy in both name, and in nummy-ness, when he prepares it this way: