Posts Tagged ‘Champagne’
Wine Portfolio Bloggers, Mike and Jeff, interviewed Martha Stewart on behalf of Wine Enthusiast:
Wine Enthusiast sat down recently with the entertaining icon and discussed her passion for the perfect pie and more.
Wine Enthusiast: If you had to pick a favorite dessert, what would it be? Any pairing suggestions?
Martha Stewart: Anything lemon. Lemon provides sort of a challenge, but I would do an Italian sparkling wine. A nice dense lemon tart, or lemon meringue, or anything lemon— with Prosecco.
WE: What are some of your favorite wine regions that you have visited?
MS: My first trip to France was to Burgundy. We spent the most wonderful time there, drinking delicious white Burgundies. I’ve also visited all the Champagne houses, and their caves. I had the great fortune, in England, to drink wine at Waddesdon Manor with Jacob Rothschild. At lunch, every course was accompanied by a Mouton Rothschild from a different year, and they were all very old and very delicious. That was terrific! And I had a fantastic trip to South Africa—I got to visit quite a few vineyards. The wines there are tasty!
WE: Which wines are your favorites?
MS: I love Bordeaux. I inherited a Bordeaux wine cellar in Maine, with a lot of large bottles— Jeroboam’s, Nebuchadnezzar’s and other sizes. They are all ’82s, and to open one is a great pleasure. I had a lot of vintage Burgundies up there too, and so we had a Burgundy dinner that will be displayed in my new book, Martha Entertains, which comes out this November. I might serve French wines, or American, or even wines from Australia or New Zealand. I like not terribly well-known wines. My daughter and my friend Kevin Sharkey like me to choose the wines when we go out, because they say I always choose something good—I might like a Chassagne-Montrachet, but I will also drink an Aligoté. I talk to sommeliers and look at the list, and try to have something I haven’t had before.
WE: You are known for your strong aesthetic sense in regard to decorating, cooking and entertaining. How does that sense carry over into wine?
MS: [Laughing] I have a huge collection of glasses, as you can imagine, and I do take care to pick out a good glass, one that would go with the wine. I have a collection of old 19th-century French hand-blown bistro glasses, which are very nice, and they’re not large.
WE: With regard to your kitchen line for Home Depot: How important is kitchen design in organizing and preparing for a party?
MS: It’s terribly important—you have to have enough counter space to prepare and serve. People forget when they’re designing or building a kitchen, Thanksgiving does come, Christmas does come and you might want to have a lot of people. I think it’s very important to think about your life and your lifestyle, and then design from there.
WE: What’s next for you?
MS: I am very involved in digital publishing right now. Our magazine, Martha Stewart Living, is also available digitally now, which enhances it greatly. It’s a beautiful magazine, but it comes to life on the iPad. Besides that, I am very involved with the retail initiatives with Home Depot and Macy’s. The kitchens we’ve designed for Home Depot are really extraordinary. And we’re publishing a lot of books— we just did Power Foods. Pies & Tarts is up next, and Martha Entertains is my first entertaining book since 1982. You’re going to love it!
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
Food, Wine and Travel Writers
Periodistas Gastronomia, Vinos y Viajes
World Wine Guys LLC
An article or more importantly, a quote, in an article titled “Bubbles and Bling” in the May 8, 2006 Economist. When asked if an association between Cristal and the hip-hop lifestyle could actually hurt the brand Louis Roederer’s managing director, Frédéric Rouzaud said, “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.”
When Jay-Z got wind of this his very public response was, “It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud views the hip-hop culture as unwelcome attention,” Jay-Z said. “I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club nor in my personal life.”
New Years is here and the best way to celebrate is by popping a bottle of bubbly and enjoying a wine that sparkles likes the stars in the heavens. For most of us this is a once a year chance to uncork a crisp and refreshing bottle of Champagne, a light and fizzy Prosecco, or a sophisticated yet value packed bottle of Cava. For the rest of us “bubbly lovers” it is just another excuse to pull the best bottles out of our cellars and pop the corks.
Because many people have questions about sparkling wines let me offer some suggestions on how to celebrate in style.
On the sweeter note:
The Asti region of Piemonte in Northwest Italy is a home to some amazing wines like Barolo and Barbaresco, but not everyone knows that the region also produces some amazing sparkling wines. Moscato d’Asti would be it’s sweetest version, known as frizzante (semi-sparkling). With low levels of alcohol (4-6%) and a honeysuckle and orange blossom floral characteristic this is a very unique and tasty bubbly. Look for producers like Batasiolo or Michaele Chiarlo. The drier and more widely known version Asti Spumante (fully sparkling) is a cheaper alternative. It is still sweet and delicious with the most-widely recognized labels coming from the Martini company.
Wine in this category would be preferably made by a tank method which is an easier way of making quick, simple and refreshing sparkling wines. It’s best representative would be Prosecco. Produced from the Prosecco grape, this variety is also known as Glera in Northeast Italy. Mainly produced in the Veneto region, Proseccos come from a wide variety of producers. This wine’s popularity is due to its light body with higher level of fruitiness and a lack of the bready/yeasty characteristics. Add to this lower price points, and you have a winner that is widely used for cocktails in bars around the world. My favorite producers are Villa Sandi and Bisol.
On the Value side:
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine, made out of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada and also Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cava is one of my favorite choices when visiting a liquor stores because of It’s low price ($12-16) and high quality (bottles can be similar to champagne). I love the brioche, crackers and bread dough characteristics combined with crisp and citrusy aromas which leave your palate completely satisfied and refreshed. The best bargain is Codorniu, followed by Segura Viudas and it’s bigger sister Aria.
On the extravagant side:
Champagne, is the undisputed king of all sparkling wines. This is a wine that is usually a part of the largest and most prestigious celebrations around the world and it is a wine that will make you feel like royalty. Opening the best names like Krug, Crystal, Dom Perignon and Salon will impress even the snobbiest wine connoisseur. But, not everyone wants to spend a few hundred dollars on a bottle of bubbly so I recommend that you try any of the excellent Nicholas Feuillatte products. Their Brut and Grand Cru Champagnes are to die for and they are now very hip and popular around New York’s hottest night spots. Also Perrier Joulet and Pol Roger are producing great bang for your buck.
So never forget the romance of a bottle of sparkling wine as each bubble twinkles like a beautiful star. And this year when you celebrate the New Years please do so with a bang or should I say a pop?
Blog by: Otta Zapotocky, General Manager and Sommelier at Wildfire Steakhouse and Wine Bar
Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.
- Charles Dickens
As we head into the holiday season a quote from Charles Dickens the author of the seasonal classic A Christmas Carol got me thinking about how celebrated Champagne is and yet how little most wine lovers know about this delightfully bubbly drink.
Champagne is to wine like Kleenex is to tissue or Jello is to gelatinous deserts. It is THE brand. There are a lot of sparkling wines on the market but only wines from the Champagne region of France can be legally labeled as “Champagne”. All others are simply sparking wine. The Champagne region in Northern France pioneered the method of making bubbly and then through international courts and trademarks essentially protected the rights to the name. However true connoisseurs will tell you that it is the unique terroir of the region that makes true Champagne special, not the branding. This area has a cool climate and chalky soil which is ideally suited for growing the three grapes that can be used for Champagne; Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay.
Champagne as a French wine is detailed and complex and so you really have to read the label to fully understand the product. Champagne comes in several different styles, Blanc de blancs means that the wine was produced from all white grapes (Chardonnay) while Blanc de noirs means that the Champagne was produced from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or a blend of the two. The sweetness level of the wine is also important to know. Extra Brut is usually very dry champagne, Brut is dry and Extra-Sec and Sec are usually medium dry wines.Champagne is also divided into Vintage and Non Vintage wine. Non Vintage Champagnes can be made from grapes from up to 3 harvests while Vintage Champagnes come from years in which the winemaker determines that the harvest was uniquely special. And now here is the trick to really understanding Champagne that I like best. Pay attention and you’ll look like a hero this holiday.
Champagne is made by either large Champagne houses like Taittinger or Moët & Chandon which grow some of their own grapes and purchase the rest, or by smaller producers who grow and bottle their own product. This is called grower Champagne and often grower Champagne exceeds the quality of large house Champagne but with a smaller price tag. Again look to the bottle for guidance. On the bottom of the front label there will be a tiny number preceded by two letters. NM (Négociant-Manipulant) indicates a larger house that purchases many of their grapes, whereas RM (Récoltant-Manipulant) signifies that the winemaker grew the grapes.
Armed with this info you can confidently pick a wine that comes from a smaller producer at a smaller price that matches your tastes and your sweetness preference. Champagne is not a generic or homogenous product but it also doesn’t have to be mysterious or overly complex. Like all wine, my suggestion is to simply try several styles and see what you like.