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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Yule Love these 7 Bubblies for the Holidaze

       Representing 4 countries & ranging from $85-20, these bubbles are guaranteed winners

The holidays aren’t the holidaze without sparkling wine.  Below is my fave list for non-vintage bubbles.  There’s the real-deal Champagne, but there’s also a super-duper sparkling wine from Burgundy at half the price.  The wines are listed alphabetically by country.  One of my personal favorites is a bubbly from Italy’s premier sparkling wine district, Franciacorta.  England is also on the list…don’t laugh as British fizz has beat out some of the most respected French Champagnes in many blind tastings.  Last, there’s an American bubbly that I particularly enjoy.  All but one are under $55, and three are $25 or less.


          ~ Wiston Estate Brut:  this one has won more medals than any other English fizz.  $40


          ~ Billecart Salmon Champagne:  this one has been a long-standing winner in my book.   $85

~ Gosset Champagne:  Consistently well-made wine and a cut above the others in the over $50 category.  $55

~  Ployez Jacquemart Chamapagne:  one of the best price/quality I know of.  Difficult to find, but worth seeking out.  $50

          ~  Veuve Ambal Brut Cremant Grande Cuvee:  Made in Burgundy (which is contiguous with the Champagne district), Cremant is the legal term for any sparkler from Burgundy.   $20

          ~  Ferghettina:  This winery’s vintage sparkling wines are the bomb, but this list is only about non-vintage.  Located in the lake district of northern Italy, Ferghettina’s non-vintage is an absolute delight. $40

          ~  Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley:  this one is a perennial winner in my book and a great value.  $25

Enjoy the Holidaze with one of these bubblies. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A Spicy Holidaze Cocktail

     This festive cocktail epitomizes the smells & delights of the holidays

On WineKnows’ recent trip to England to explore the country’s international award-winning sparkling wine industry, we also visited a gin distillery in the Cotswolds.  It was here that I was introduced to spiced gin.  Like a pumpkin pie that has just been removed from a holiday oven, this gin exudes pungent nutmeg, fresh ginger, just-grated cinnamon sticks, and decadent clove oil (all, of course, with the requisite backdrop of juniper notes).

I can’t take credit for this stunning holiday cocktail as it comes from a book I found in the distillery’s giftshop, Gin Tonica by David Smith.  Fortunately, one does not have to go to England to find the spiced gin as it is imported into the USA (call the importer, Palm Bay, at 561.893.9998 to find the store nearest you), or purchase it online.  Also available online is the Cranberry Tonic…it’s pricey but, come on….. it’s the holidaze!

Holidaze Gin & Tonic  (makes 4 cocktails)
  • 7 oz Darnley’s Spiced Gin
  • 2.5 C Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic
Decorate with fresh rosemary sprigs, fresh cranberries, and thinly sliced fresh ginger.

A few English tips for making any great gin and tonic:
  1. Use a chilled glass (or quickly chill it by adding a full glass of ice & stirring for 15 seconds with a sure to pour out any liquid from the melted ice).  
  2. When adding the tonic pour slowly as this helps the tonic to keep its fizz.
  3. Let the drink rest for 30 seconds to allow flavors to integrate with one another.
Have a spicy and very merry holiday season!