Grateful for Exciting Sparkling Wine From Franciacorta Italy

Today is the second Franciacorta twitter tasting that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in, thanks to Balzac Communications.

Before September, I don’t think I’d ever tasted this sparkling wine from Italy that rivals Champagne in quality, but is much lesser known. You’d be amazed at the quality that you can get for the money–I know I was!

Tune in to twitter #Franciacorta to see what we think about today’s line-up. Post to follow soon with more tasting notes.1474638_10151785497985924_997366342_n

I’m also planning on spending some time with that massive map they sent to learn more about this region that I hope to visit one day soon!

PS And no, I am NOT going to let my son saber the bottles with his new Minecraft sword because Rusty Ginger fought him off!

Today (especially!) is Champagne Day!

Cheers!

In my book, every day is Champagne Day! But last Saturday was a super special occasion, my husband’s birthday, and Ima Zin’s, so we opened up this grand lady–a 1983 Cristal! (A report on that later!)5829_10151709885625924_913664121_n

Today, Friday,  October 25, 2013 marks the fourth annual Champagne Day, where wine lovers around the globe raise a flute to the quintessential wine of celebration, good cheer and toasts everywhere: Champagne. There will be terrific opportunities for Champagne lovers to celebrate in wine stores, restaurants, bars and in spontaneous gatherings with friends.

Share the love! Post about your experience celebrating with the #ChampagneDay hashtag.

In 2011 and 2012, I organized Champagne Day events where we paired sparkling wine with oysters at the Ventura State Beach. In 2011 we raised over $500 to contribute to reopen McGrath State Beach. At least 50 people came to the beach with picnics and bottles of sparkling wine to share and pair with oysters. 

In 2012, in addition to celebrating Champagne Day at the beach with oysters, we also held a twitter tasting for #PlanetBordeaux of a group of stellar Sauvignon Blancs and roses. This year we are taking our Champagne and heading to some hot springs!

Initially created by Vintuba wine blog to recognize and appreciate the sparkling wine that comes exclusively from Champagne, France, “Champagne Day offers the perfect opportunity to pop open a bottle, explore the beauty these wines have to offer and turn a moment into a 1378573_10151721292520924_320235983_ncelebration while remembering that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France,”  stated Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA

Today, Champagne Day brings millions of wine lovers worldwide together to celebrate in a host of events, retail opportunities and a large-scale online celebration of all aspects of this unique bubbly. Consumers across the U.S. will have many special opportunities to enjoy Champagne today with a host of Champagne Day-only deals at retailers, tastings and menu pairings at restaurants and other spontaneous celebrations.  To find some of the events happening around the world and learn more about how to participate in the online celebrations, visit the official Champagne Day event page: http://bit.ly/19EIh4L.

For more information about #ChampagneDay or the worldwide effort to protect the Champagne name, please visit http://bit.ly/19EIh4L or www.champagne.us. Remember, if it doesn’t come from the Champagne region of France, it’s not Champagne!

PS If you love sparkling wines like I do, and you live in the Ventura/Santa Barbara/LA area, be sure to watch for the Tasting at the Ventura Wine Company and Cave! That afternoon, you can taste real Champagne from France as well as local sparkling wines and sparklers from other parts of the world too! (I hopet eh get in some wines from Franciacorta Italy! Those sparklers ROCK!)  If you can’t wait until Sunday, December 8, they’re doing a Holiday tasting on Novembe993413_10151725546708434_1673351765_nr 10. Get your tickets now–it will sell out!

What wine pairs with Thanksgiving?

This is the time of year where everyone wants to know which wine they should have with Thanksgiving dinner. Since most people don’t want to break the bank, what follows are a numbe rof recommendations that land squarely on the less expensive side of a $20 bill.

Personally, my go to wine for turkey OR ham is zinfandel. There is alchemical magic in that combination!

How do I know? Many years ago, I worked the tasting room at Ridge and so of course I brought a bottle of zin to that Thanksgiving table.

Last year, during the weekend before Thanksgiving, I convinced my husband to make a turkey AND then a ham so I could try a bunch of wines with these classic holiday meals.  I came up with these three blog posts:

white and rose wines with Turkey

red wines with Turkey

wines for Ham

Since holiday meals usually gather many people, it’s a great excuse to splurge and have different wines to enjoy with each course. In general, I would recommend Continue reading

WBW #74: Get Your Sparkle On!

After January’s “Spark” Wine Blogging Wednesday #73 comes a “sparkling” wine prompt just in time for Valentine’s Day write-ups. Hosted by Wine Cast aka Tim Elliot, he instructs participants to “pick a sparkling wine from any appellation, made from any grape but make sure it sells for $25 or less a bottle (€20, £16). This should open up a lot of interesting selections, from Crémant de Bourgogne, to Cava, to California & New Mexico sparkling, sparkling Shiraz, to even well chosen grower Champagne. Just post your notes by February 15th and ping me @winecast on Twitter or email me with your link at winecast (at) gmail (dot) com.”

I’ll toast to that! But there is so much more to sparkling wine than a wedding toast or Valentine’s ritual. I’d love to see the day where sparkling wines are as common a beverage with a party as beer!

These days, you can find a wide range of prices for sparkling wines just about anywhere, but it does seem like there’s been an explosion of quality sparklers for under $25–especially if you shop the sales, you can find some super wonderful wines that fit into any budget.

This has been a great few months for me for discovering and tasting sparkling wines: I hosted Champagne Day event in October, attended a big sparkling wine tasting at the Cave in Ventura, then had a big birthday celebration in January with more bubbly! Some of the highlights were beyond the price point of this prompt, however, (Sigh…can you say Bollinger?) so I will save that conversation for another time, AND I want to focus not so much on sparklers to toast with or for special occasions but those to enjoy with a meal.

One of our favorite easy quick satisfying dinners is clams sauteed in white wine, butter, and garlic. We can get fresh clams easily from the Jolly Oyster’s stand at the Ventura State Beach–so we do! But there are a number of frozen clam dinners out there or you can buy tinned clams. These options don’t compare with the fresh one but are still yummy and delightfully simple. We usually serve them over pasta but rice is good too.

I’ve paired this meal with a number of different wines but for Wine Blogging Wednesday #74, Continue reading