Thursday, January 5, 2017


Tis' the season.


Whether hosting or bringing beverages and eats for a playoff tv viewing crowd -chances are attendees have elevated expectations for sustenance-right along with their increasingly sophisticated palates. For a change from usual Buds:
Sparkling wines with the elegance of French champagne-without the costs? We say stay within France for handy party sized splits...that are worthy alternatives- at half the price (at least) by Burgundy based Le Grand Courtâge -conveniently available online and in many states. Pictured-the delicious bubbly Grand Cuvée Blanc de Blancs (crips granny smith apples, honeysuckle, strawberry and heady bread-y hints that we love) made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc (honey, citrus), Colombard (high acid, structured-mineral-y), and Ugni Blanc (fruit) and the Rosé Brut-a terrific fruity fresh sip of berries- strawberry-raspberry and floral aromas-courtesy of a blend of Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc and Gamay grapes.
IMO-sparkling wines like these are easy pairers everything from pretzels, popcorn, and nuts (bar food staples), bowls of devour able M+Ms, spicy Asian bites- and crowd staples like cheese plates of any kind, salsa/guac/chips +home delivered pizza 
Spanish wines are acclaimed for their price/taste ratio-the former being low-the latter, VERY HIGH.  Our trio of choice are from Cariñena Spain based BARÓN de FUNES winery -produced by Bodegas Esteban Martin...that has select choices courtesy of the ideal hot dry climate-reddish-brown, stony soil- of Aragon region that's ideal for native grapes like Garnacha.
Pictured left to right- Rosdado 2015- -a youthful refreshing rosé ($9)-100% Garnacha grapes crisp light-that gets it just right on the dry-sweet scale for a sophisticated take on a typical summer staple that works year round. Tasting notes--crisp+ fruity that pairs well 
with any Asian, pasta or appetizer bites like crowd pleasing pot stickers from Trader Joe's.
In the middle the Blanco 2015 ($9) 
made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Macabeo grapes-proved the most popular with our crowd...a pale lemon color- light floral and tropical fruit notes party pleaser-serve slightly chilled. This wine pairs with just about every seafood dish we can think of from paella to shrimp cocktails-plus imo-cheese platters of smooth creamy young cheeses, ripe fruits-and party staples chips/creamy dips .
Our fav-the rich Reserva 2011 
 -a full bodied red with very smooth tannins, dark cherry red color with tasting notes of chocolate + tobacco-plus aged edge attained from 14 months in French Oak Barrels. A bargain at around $11.99-this delicious wine can stand up to beefy hearty meals as well as spicy food and aged cheese.Yummy- a blend of old vine Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon.