Tuesday, January 27, 2009

everything's better with bubbles!

So new year's eve has come and gone, but why not enjoy sparkling wine during the whole month of January? In fact, why not enjoy it all year long, like I do? For some wine lovers, the bubbly stuff is not their thing. For others, it is a love affair. It's not so much about the luxury or undeniable cache' of fine Champagne, although that certainly adds to the mystique. For me it's that sparkling wine is impressive to look at, from its pale golden color to the stream of tiny bubbles floating purposefully towards the surface. In an elegant Champagne flute, it is nothing short of beautiful. Let's not forget it's also fun to drink. The bubbles dance on my tongue, and how could that not make me happy? All around, sparkling wine just gives me a feel-good feeling.

Nothing compares to real Champagne, but we all know there's more to this category than just that. A lucky thing considering our current economic climate. Face it, times is tough! Just in case we have forgotten the bevy of bubbly alternatives out there, let's review.

Prosecco -- this is a classic accompaniment to mimosas, bellinis, and any other cocktail you would otherwise use Champagne for. A very refreshing sipper from Italy's Veneto region.

Cava -- Spain's answer to Champagne, at a mere fraction of the price. Lots of nice apple and pear and a touch of biscuity aroma. Very versatile and also comes in a lovely rose'. Literally a $10 purchase and you cannot go wrong.

Moscato d'Asti -- only faintly sparkling, this is a pleasantly sweet wine from the Piedmont region in Italy. It won't threaten your sobriety with its low alcohol content, and it goes swimmingly with those pretty fruit tarts you find in food store cases.

France isn't only in the business of producing the fancy stuff, mind you. Other regions also offer some attractive bubbles at even more attractive prices. Here are two examples:

Cremant d'Alsace -- Alsace is a fine white wine-producing region, and these wines are so yummy. How could you not love something with Riesling in the blend? If you run across one at the store, please buy it. If you buy more than one bottle but find you do not like it, please feel free to send one to me.

Blanquette de Limoux -- bubbly from a blend of Champagne and Chenin Blanc made in southern France. Those two grapes together = double the pleasure! Also buy if you find it, and also send to me if you have extras you're willing to part with.

I don't know about you, but all this talk about the fizzy stuff is making me wish it was Sunday morning with an entire day of very little to do stretching out ahead.

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