Menu for december
Henri Maire Vin Fou Brut 11.99
I’m an avid reader of bumper stickers. You can size someone up pretty quickly by the statements they would never say publicly, but unabashedly put on their bumper for the whole world to see. I mean, would you say to a group of strangers on the highway, “What would Jesus do?” What are you asking? Would Jesus drive 65 mph and stay in the right lane? Would Jesus tailgate, weave in and out of traffic and flip you off as he left you in the dust? When thinking of the prince of peace, this budgetminded man who turned water into wine, I suspect he’d approve of Vin Fou. It’s a delightful sparkling quaffer comprised of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Ugni Blanc from the Jura region of France. What would Jesus do? He’d recommend Vin Fou Brut. For the price you cannot do better.
Cavas El Cep Marquis de Gelida Cava 13.99
For a large portion of my wine loving life, I didn’t like Champagne or sparkling wine. On my first visit to Spain I had a sip of Cava. Maybe it was the company or the delicious tapas or the lovely setting, but from then on, I’ve loved Cava. It’s crisp, clean and refreshing. You can break out a bottle at a moments notice to celebrate a beautiful day or the end of a long, hard week. By the way, did I mention, this Marquis de Gelida is less than fifteen dollars and is typically one of the highest rated Cavas?
Lengs and Cooter Sparkling Red 21.99
Every time I recommend sparkling red wine, Shiraz, Lambrusco or this one from Lengs and Cooter, I get the same “You’ve got to be kidding, I’m a serious wine connoisseur” look. Well, call me crazy (and believe me I’ve been called worse), but if you pass on this delicious sparkler you’ll be missing one of life’s sparkling pleasures. It’s perfect with red wine inspired small plates. It’s the prettiest little wine you can imagine with a dark garnet color and a lovely, frothy lavender mousse. It’s full of red cherry fruit and baking spice aromas but make no mistake, this is a dry wine. I don’t know what else to say to convince you. Let the rest be snobs, you and I will just enjoy ourselves with this lovely sparkling red.
La Spinetta 2005 Moscato d’ Asti Bricco Quaglia 17.99
Last month we offered a small intimate tasting of the La Spinetta wines. La Spinetta had just been awarded a winery Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) from the venerable Gambero Rosso, only the second winery to receive the honor, Gaja being the other recipient. Needless to say the wines were awe inspiring. After all those beautiful Italian reds we served this delicate, slightly effervescent Moscato d’ Asti. It’s a beautiful little aperitif or as an ending to a large meal. I also find it a perfect accompaniment with brunch. Might I suggest bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese?
Rene Geoffroy Brut NV Empreinte 49.99
This blend of 25% Meunier, 65% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay just blew me away when I tasted it at the “Champagne Road Show” in November. Empreinte or “Imprint”, the Champagne formerly known as Prestige, is a blockbuster red wine based Champagne. There are flavors of black currant and a meaty, almost floral character reminiscent of Jamon Serrano.
Jöel Falmet Brut Tradition 29.99
It seems unfathom-able that you can buy authentic Champagne for thirty dollars. This little gem may not be as elegant as some of the other offerings, but it really does taste like Champagne, not sparkling wine. A blend of 70% Pinot Noir, 20% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay this is a great value and a wonderful alternative for those of us who love the best of everything, but can’t always afford it.
L. Aubry Brut NV 39.99
You might remember Aubry’s unusual and esoteric La Nombre d’Or Campanae Veteres Vites from previous newsletters and the Winds wine list. The Brut is another standout in its category. This is a heavy hitter among the group with large, expansive flavors of roasted grain and rich, ripe apples. It is a very powerful wine with the texture of heavy cream and a full luscious mouth feel.
Maison Alain Soutiran Grand Cru Brut NV 49.99
Maison Alain Soutiran Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV 59.99
In 1970 young Alain Soutiran took a daring step and stopped selling his grapes to inferior coops and decided to make his own Champagne. The results are astonishing. The Grand Cru Brut is a powerful blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay.
As in all of Champagne, Rosé is typically in short supply, highly coveted and expensive. Soutiran is a lovely version, again very full-bodied with flavors of bitter cherry and tart red currant. A lovely pink frothy mousse makes this one of the sexiest Champagnes around. Obviously, don’t forget the oysters, but don’t forget the main course as well…roast pork or a smoky grilled salmon. Ohh baby.
Marc Hébrart Cuvée de Réserve Brut NV 29.99
This premier cru cuvee is again a red wine based Champagne with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Often people say, “All wine tastes the same.” or “I never buy expensive Champagne because I can’t tell the difference.” I believe that’s true for some people, but if this beautifully crafted Champagne from Hébrart were tasted side by side with an inexpensive California sparkler beginning with K, there is no doubt in my mind, most would pick up on the Hébrart. Why? Well, it tastes more expensive than thirty dollars. It smells of baking bread and fresh berries. On the palate it’s rich and full-bodied. This is New Year’s Eve with your closest friends, it’s the celebration of an anniversary after a trying year in your relationship, it’s for your 50th birthday (lookout Kim). What I’m trying to say is…it’s very special.
A. Margaine Cuvée Traditionelle Demi-Sec NV 39.99
Don’t let the demi-sec categorization scare you off. This is the same cuvee as the Brut NV with higher dosage. It’s full of sweet spring flower aromas and an indescribable elegance I just love. If you love Riesling this Champagne will accompany many of the same dishes… beautiful salmon, salads with fruit or toasted nuts. As with any of these Champagnes, please don’t relegate them to aperitifs or celebratory toasts. They are suitable for the main event as well.