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Recent Posts

  1. Laugh of the Day
    Tuesday, June 19, 2012
  2. Laugh of the Day
    Saturday, April 21, 2012
  3. Fun Champagne Quotes
    Monday, March 05, 2012
  4. Champagne Review: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé Brut
    Wednesday, February 15, 2012
  5. Champagne Review: Agrapart et Fils Terriors Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut
    Wednesday, January 25, 2012
  6. New Zealand Bubbly
    Saturday, January 14, 2012
  7. Happy New Year!
    Saturday, December 31, 2011
  8. Wine and Cheese? Yes. Wine and Cookies? Hmmmm.
    Monday, December 19, 2011
  9. 12 Days of Christmas
    Tuesday, December 13, 2011
  10. 3 Sparkling Wines make Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2011
    Wednesday, December 07, 2011

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  1. The Sparkling Queen on Sparkling Mint Julep to Toast the Kentucky Derby
    5/7/2012
  2. wadE on Sparkling Mint Julep to Toast the Kentucky Derby
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  3. The Sparkling Queen on Mexican Bubbly
    2/15/2012
  4. Kim on Mexican Bubbly
    12/9/2011
  5. Toni on Sparkling Wine Tasting
    11/18/2011
  6. Bruce on Quote of the Day
    7/7/2011
  7. tabletki na odchudzanie on New Year’s Eve Bubbly
    5/7/2011
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    4/27/2011
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Laugh of the Day

THE BOTTLE OF WINE

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride.

With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.  Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

What in bag?' asked the old woman.

Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, 'It's a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.'

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said.........



'Good trade.'


Laugh of the Day

I got this joke from my Mom with a note that said "you wouldn't dare!"

MY LIVING WILL:

Last night, my kids stopped by and were sitting in the living room when I said to them, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine, and fluids from a bottle.  If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'


They got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.





Fun Champagne Quotes

Here are a couple of my favorite Champagne quotes that I wanted to share with you.


"Champagne, the great civilizer." – Talleyrand

"Champagne is bottled sunlight." - Lord Thomson of Cardington

"Three be the things I shall never attain: envy, content, and sufficient Champagne." - Dorothy Parker

"A man must not dream of dying until he has drunk five thousand bottles of Champagne and smoked one hundred thousand cigars."    Otto von Bismarck

"Champagne is the one thing that gives me zest when I am tired." - Brigitte Bardot

"Champagne, the only true feminine and becoming of viands."  - Lord Byron

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." - John Maynard Keynes

"Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends." - Francis Bacon

"In victory you deserve Champagne, in defeat you need it." - Napoleon Bonaparte

"Gentlemen, in the little moment that remains between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of Champagne." - Paul Claudel

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.” - Mark Twain

“I drink champagne when I'm happy and when I'm sad. Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it - unless I'm thirsty.” - Madame Lilly Bollinger

“Champagne and orange juice is a great drink. The orange improves the champagne. The champagne definitely improves the orange.” - Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

“No government could survive without champagne. Champagne in the throats of our diplomatic people is like oil in the wheels of an engine.” - Joseph Dargent

“In a perfect world, everyone would have a glass of Champagne every evening.” - Willie Gluckstern

“I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate…and I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.” - Napoleon Bonaparte

“A cause may be inconvenient, but it's magnificent.  It's like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it.” - Arnold Bennett

“ After all, what is your host's purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent Champagne and women over to your place by taxi.” - P. J. O'Rourke

“Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.”  - Graham Greene

“For a while we had trouble trying to get the sound of a champagne cork exploding out of the bottle. I solved the problem by sticking my finger in my mouth and popping it out.” - Lawrence Welk

“ Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.” - Honore de Balzac

“I left Guiding Light so many times, they ran out of champagne.” - Michael Zaslow

“ I think getting drunk is the key to flying comfortably. A couple of bloody Mary’s or several glasses of Champagne, and suddenly it's like you're on a roller coaster.” - Amanda Peet

“ The feeling of friendship is like that of being comfortably filled with roast beef; love, like being enlivened with champagne.” - Samuel Johnson

“Champagne makes you feel like it is Sunday and better days are just around the corner." - Marlene Dietrich

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."  - John Meynard Keynes

"Champagne is the only wine that leaves a woman beautiful after drinking it." - Madame De Pompadour

"One holds a bottle of red wine by the neck, a woman by the waist, and a bottle of Champagne by the derriere."  - Mark Twain

Do you have a favorite Champagne quote?  Either from the list above or elsewhere?   I'd love to hear it.

Cheers!





 

 

 

 

 


Champagne Review: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé Brut

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to open the Veuve Rosé.    Gotta have pink bubbly for Valentine’s Day, right?    

It’s no secret that Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut is one of my favorites, and I really like rosé sparkling wine.   Therefore, I was expecting to love this Veuve rosé.  

Well…..

Here are my thoughts….

Color:  Beautiful rosy, pink color.

Scent:  A dusty, yeasty smell, with a significant undercurrent of fresh raspberries.

Taste:  Dry and tart.  The aftertaste was that of a tart cherry, which made me pucker a little bit.  

Overall impression:  I did not particularly like this bubbly for just sipping.  It needs food to balance out the tart aftertaste.  It definitely smelled better than it tasted.  I was expecting it to be much more lush.

Would I buy it again?  No.  For the price there are other Rosé Champagnes that I enjoy more.  Sadly, it just didn’t meet my expectations (which were high).  

Facts:  Purchased this through at Hennepin/Lake Liquors in Minneapolis for $56 (it came in an adorable, insulated bag).

Have you tried Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé Brut?  I'd love to hear your thoughts?  

Cheers!

Champagne Review: Agrapart et Fils Terriors Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut

Last Friday night, I decided to pop open one of the bottles from the D&M Champagne club.    I opened Agrapart et Fils Terriors Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut.   I picked it specifically because I thought the Blanc de Blancs would go well with the shrimp risotto I was making for dinner.  

Agrapart et Fils is a small grower Champagne house in the village of Avize in the heart of Cote de Blancs.

Here are my thoughts….

Scent:  A dusty smell, with a hint of lemon and dried cherries.

Taste:  Dry and a little thin.   It was very citrusy with a strong taste of lemon.  I didn’t feel like it had a lot of character or depth.   

Overall impression:  I did not like this bubbly for just sipping; the risotto pairing saved it.    It went well with the risotto, which made sense because I used lemon zest in the risotto and the lemon in the bubbly played off of that and helped compliment the food.

Pairings:  This bubbly needs food.    I think it would be good with French fries or something that has lemon zest or light citrus notes.  For my Goat Cheese Risotto, with Asparagus and Shrimp recipe, click here: http://www.penelopethefoodie.com/2012/01/goat-cheese-risotto-with-asparagus-and.html

Would I buy it again?  No.   For the price there are other Champagnes that I enjoy more.  But it is always fun to try new sparkling wines, so no regrets here.

Cheers!

Facts:  I purchased this through the D&M Champagne Society for $36 + S&H.

New Zealand Bubbly

I recently tried my first sparkling wine from New Zealand: Huia 2001 Marlborough Brut.   I came across it at a wine store in Minneapolis; and because I had never seen a bubbly from New Zealand before, I snapped it up right away.   I wasn’t sure what to expect; but I was pretty confident I would like it as I tend to enjoy still wines from New Zealand and bubbles could only make it better, right?

Right.  All I can say is WOW!  I was really impressed. 

Here are my thoughts….

Looks:  It had a beautiful gold color, due to its age (2001 vintage).  The bubbles were tiny and persistent (my favorite kind of bubbles).  

Scent:  This is a very aromatic bubbly.   It had creamy and nutty notes with a major dominance of fresh caramel.   

Taste:  It is dry with medium body and a very flavorful intensity.   I tasted a hint of citrus and again the caramel.   It had a really rich flavor with the right amount of complexity, where the flavor just builds.   

Overall impression:  I was really impressed and blown away by this sparkling wine.   I think it will go down as a favorite.  It certainly was memorable.  

Pairings:  I think this would pair well with nuts and cheeses and even some creamy pasta or chicken dishes.  

Would I buy it again?  Yes!   Definitely.  Ideally, I’d love to book a trip to New Zealand and visit the Huia vineyard in person and travel around to try some other bubbly from New Zealand.  A girl can dream, can’t she? 

I don’t think much sparkling wine from New Zealand gets imported to the U.S. so if you see a bottle be sure to snap it up.   Meanwhile, I need to run back to where I found this and see if they have any more bottles.

Let me know if you’ve tried any bubbly from New Zealand, I’d love to hear your impressions?

Cheers!

Facts:  Purchased this bottle for $32 (+ tax) at Sorella in Minneapolis, MN.

Happy New Year!


Despite New Year’s Eve being “THE” night for Champagne and Sparkling Wine, for some reason I’ve been dragging my feet on writing a New Year’s bubbly blog.    I think part of it is because I blame New Year’s Eve for the lack of bubbly drinkers out there.   Too many people have had a bad experience with bubbly on New Year’s Eve.  Usually the morning headache gets blamed on the midnight bubbly toast.  (No one considers everything that was consumed before midnight being to blame).   In addition, most of the “free” bubbly poured at midnight in mass quantities is cheap and bad.    Nothing is free baby, most people pay for those couple chugs out of the plastic saucer-shaped glasses.  

This is what saddens me.   I don’t want this experience to be the first impression people have of bubbly.    A couple sips of the bad stuff and waking up to a hangover will make people avoid sparkling wine altogether.   And we can’t have that.   So, if you are going to have sparkling wine for New Year’s Eve – which you should – make sure it is a decent one to help you ring in the New Year on a good note and with a pain-free start to the New Year.   To clarify decent, I mean at least a $12 bottle; I’ve not been able to find anything good for less than $12 and there are plenty of good ones in the $15-20 range.

I want to see more bubbly drinkers emerge in 2012.   That is my goal – to increase the number of sparkling wine fans and consumers out there.    While New Year’s is a good occasion to break open some bubbly and toast to the past and the future, bubbly is really good anytime throughout the year; no special ocassion necessary.  

Tonight, for New Year’s Eve, I am going to stay in and cook and open a bottle of J Rose Brut.   And in the morning I’m sure some bubbly will find its way in to my OJ. 

I’m curious what bubbly you will be drinking to toast the New Year?   Talk to me…….   

Cheers and Happy New Year to you all!


Wine and Cheese? Yes. Wine and Cookies? Hmmmm.

There are many magical pairings out there in the world of wine and a new one has emerged: cookies & wine!    I like cookies and I like wine, so this could be good.  

This past weekend I opened a box of “Cookies & Corks: 15 Sweet & Savory cookies for Sparkling Wine Pairing.”  



The box included three different types of cookies: 1) Zesty Lemon, 2) Parmesan Thyme, and 3) Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal.  The side of the box lists specific suggestions for which cookie to pair with Brut; Prosecco; Demi-Sec or Sekt; or Brut Rosé.  It shows that all three cookies pair well with Brut or Prosecco.  Therefore, I chose to pair my cookies with Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne; which is a favorite bubbly of mine that I find to be very versatile.  


My favorite of the three cookies was the Zesty Lemon.   “Zesty” is definitely an appropriate term for this cookie and it is the first word that popped into my head on my first bite.   This cookie is a great palate cleanser.  The Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal was a close second as the salt played really well with the bubbly.   I did not, however, care for the third cookie in the group – the Parmesan Thyme.   It was kind of dry and all I could taste was thyme for the next 20 minutes.   Even slamming my glass of bubbly and having a bite of the Zesty Lemon cookie couldn’t help me rid my mouth of the taste.   I think this particular cookie might go better with some Prosecco (and some cheese and nuts) to help temper the flavor a bit.  

I think pairing wine with cookies is a very clever idea.  I love seeing new twists in the world of wine and this definitely fits the bill.   Kudos to Leah Kuo and Laura Englander, co-owners of Cookies & Corks, for thinking outside of the traditional cookie box.  My curiosity got the best of me and I got in touch with the owners to ask them a couple of questions.  Here are their responses:

How many different recipes did you try before deciding on the three for the sparkling wine pairings?

The Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal cookie in the box is our twist on the classic Chocolate Chip cookie with its play on the sweet and salty combination.  Of the three cookies in the Sparkling Wine Pairing Box it was the easiest to develop--only five or so versions!  The Zesty Lemon cookie probably went through at least ten versions.  It was really important to perfect the balance of sweet and sour. The Parmesan Thyme cookie was definitely the trickiest formula.  Anytime you work with cheese products there are shelf-life considerations that come into play.  However we knew the nutty flavor in this cookie as well as the salty finish were perfect complements to sparkling wine and really wanted a savory cheese cookie in the line-up, so we persevered!  All three recipes were tweaked several times with the help of Amy Reiley, who made suggestions as to how to make the cookies more wine pairing friendly.  You'll notice the sugar content is lower in the cookies and that the addition of Kosher and sea salt allows for the savory finish to linger. 

What is the shelf life of the cookies?

Our cookies have a six-month shelf life.  We pride ourselves in the fact that our cookies contain no artificial preservatives, flavorings, or colors and are trans fat/hydrogenated oil free.

What is your personal favorite cookie?   

This changes all the time!  At the moment we are huge fans of the Zesty Lemon cookie.  It really makes so many sparkling wines pop with its citrus burst but also pairs wonderfully with a classic Pinot Noir or Merlot--two festive favorites during the holidays.  

Do you have a favorite sparkling wine to pair with the cookies?

This holiday season we love Prosecco!

You mentioned Amy helped with the pairings, what is her background/experience? 

Amy Reiley is a part-time consultant with us and has the envious task of eating our cookies and coming up with specific pairing recommendations which we then share with our fans.  The suggestions on our comprehensive wine and cookie pairing matrix were created by Reiley who has an extensive background in both the wine industry and the culinary arts.  She became the second American to earn the title Master of Gastronomy awarded by France's culinary temple, Le Cordon Bleu and is the author of several cookbooks.

What has been the biggest lesson throughout all of this (launching a business)? 

One of our biggest lessons has been learning how to market a product that is consumer friendly, sophisticated, and educational while at the same time not overburdening or intimidating the customer.  Each of the pairing boxes has a cookie and wine pairing guide on the side to help customers in the wine buying process.  Food and wine pairing can be intimidating for a lot of people, and we realized we needed to make our packaging as intuitive and interesting as possible.  We also have pairing recommendations and party planning tips on our website www.cookiesandcorks.com       

What's next?   

Our next goal is to continue to spread the word about using Cookies & Corks at events--weddings, corporate receptions, tasting room plates, book clubs, bridal showers... it's a perfect gift but it's also so much more than that.  These days many people are slowing down and taking the time to really appreciate their food and wine and making conscience decisions about what they eat.  We think our product is perfect for showcasing how flavorful food can really complement and enhance a glass of wine.          

What has the response been to the cookies?

The response has been tremendous.  We are so appreciative of the support we've received from customers, industry experts, wine educators and the media.  We believe our sweet and savory cookies are changing the way people approach food and wine pairing.  People love our classic cookie flavors and are excited to share them with others.  It's incredibly validating to see someone take a bite of our Sea Salt Chocolate Oatmeal or Parmesan Thyme cookie and then have that "ah ha" moment after taking a sip of wine.  The response is so genuine because the flavor combinations are amazing.     

 
Now, how can I get Amy's job?   Sorry, just daydreaming about drinking wine and eating cookies all day and getting paid for it.   Back to the cookies...... Overall, I think this would be a fun host gift to bring along with a bottle of wine to the next party that you are invited to.   It is fun to have something unique, rather than just showing up with a bottle of wine.   Heck, you could even gift yourself with a box and sit down with the cookies and a bottle of wine.  In addition to sparkling wine, they have cookie pairings for white and red wine too.

If you live in Minneapolis, you can get them at Surdyks Cheese Shop (303 East Hennepin Ave.)   If you don’t, you can look for stores in your area on the store locator:  https://www.cookiesandcorks.com/StoreLocation.aspx

Sidebar:  I shared the cookie and sparkling wine pairing experiment with my husband and he brought up an interesting point by asking me if I pick out my food first and then my wine to go with it, or my wine first and then my food to go with it.   Instinctively, I said I pick the food first.  For example, if I’m at a restaurant I almost always pick my food first and then find a wine to match.   If I order a steak, then I will then find a wine to go with the it.  I rarely order the wine and then pick food to match.    Fortunately for me, if I did do that, I’m lucky that I love sparkling wine and it happens to pair with most foods well. On the other hand, if I’m at home I might pick a bottle out of my cellar that I want to open and then plan my meal around that.  It can be a fun challenge to plan a meal around a bottle of wine.  So I guess my answer varies depending on the situation. 

I’d be curious your take on it?   

I’m also curious what your favorite food and wine pairing of the moment is?

Talk to me……

Cheers!

12 Days of Christmas

I rewrote the 12 Days of Christmas from a sparkling wine perspective.    I definitely think you need to add this version to your Christmas Carols.  Of course it should be sung while drinking sparkling wine; and heck, maybe you should go door to door to spread your cheer!   Tis the season to be buzzed and jolly!  

 

12 Bubbly Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
 a flute filled with bubbly. 

On the second day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 

On the third day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the fourth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the fifth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the sixth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the seventh day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
Two tickets to Épernay, 
And a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the eighth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
eight vintages a-waiting, 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the ninth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
nine fools dancing, 
eight vintages a-waiting, 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the tenth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
ten Astis a-fizzing, 
nine fools dancing, 
eight vintages a-waiting, 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the eleventh day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
eleven perfect pairings, 
ten Astis a-fizzing, 
nine fools dancing, 
eight vintages a-waiting, 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly. 


On the twelfth day of Christmas, 
my true love sent to me 
twelve magnums for drinking, 
eleven perfect pairings, 
ten Astis a-fizzing, 
nine fools dancing, 
eight vintages a-waiting, 
seven Proseccos a-chilling, 
six corks a-popping, 
five sparkling wines, 
four crisp Cavas, 
three French Champagnes, 
two tickets to Épernay, 
and a flute filled with bubbly! 

 

Well, what do you think?   Kind of catchy ain’t it?   I hope it gets stuck in your head and you sing it out loud for the next 12 days with "a flute filled with bubbly” in hand; I will be doing the same.   

FYI  - Épernay is a small town in north-east France known for its Champagne production. A number of the most famous brands are produced and cellared in the miles of tunnels which exist beneath the town.

Cheers!

3 Sparkling Wines make Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2011

This list was released today and I’ve been waiting in anticipation.   I’m always curious how many sparkling wines are going to make it on the list.  There were three.   

 
Here is how the wines are chosen…… “This year, Wine Enthusiast’s tasting panel reviewed more than 16,000 wines. The Enthusiast 100 are not the wines we drink on a daily basis, nor do they represent a single annual splurge. Instead, they are the solid middle ground: weekend wines, restaurant purchases, special occasion wines. In short, wines we wish we could drink more often. To arrive at this list, we look at a myriad of factors, including rating, price, drinkability and uniqueness. Then we factor in availability, diversity and a healthy portion of subjectivity. Within the constraints of what we’ve tasted during the past 12 months, we try to include wines made in different regions, from various grape varieties and in many different styles. The end result? A list of 100 wines we’d be happy to drink any night of the week.”

 

#17

Roederer Estate 2003 L'Ermitage Sparkling Blend (Anderson Valley)

Anderson Valley , Mendocino/Lake Counties, California, US

 

#48

Jacquesson et Fils NV Cuvée 734 Brut Champagne Blend (Champagne)

Appellation: Champagne, Champagne, France

Based on the 2006 vintage, this current release of Jacquesson’s nonvintage wine has richness and power, while tight acidity surrounds the core of pear and pineapple fruits. The touch of steel gives a great final bite.  — R.V.  (12/1/2011)  — 94 points; Average Price: $70

 
#59


Bailly-Lapierre 2005 Egarade Brut Champagne Blend (Crémant de Bourgogne)

Appellation: Crémant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France

Egarade means a “mysterious evening stroll,” according to the producer. Perhaps the idea is that you lose track of time in this wine. A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is rich and full-bodied with a good weight of white and green fruits and a final nervy texture and acidity.  — R.V.  (5/1/2011)  — 92 Points; Average Price:  $26

I have not tried these three and am intrigued that two of them are vintage dated.  I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them.    Let me know if you’ve tried any of these three; I’d be curious what you thought of them and if you’d recommend them.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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