February 11, 1993 |
The traditional French methode champenoise may not be a French invention after all, according to writer Tom Stevenson. Stevenson, author of the book "Champagne" (Sotheby's/Wine Appreciation Guild: 1986), said in a recent article in Taittinger magazine that evidence now shows that the English wine trade actually discovered how to create a second fermentation to put sparkle into wine. Stevenson quotes from a document dated 1662 that shows sugar and molasses being added to wine to make it bubble.
January 7, 1998 |
Even now, 65 years after it was repealed, Prohibition has left odd legacies. It wasn't until Dec. 2 that Michigan law explicitly permitted people to brew their own beer and give away up to 20 gallons (previously, giving away beer, for instance at a tasting, was tantamount to sale and required a license). FYI: California permits persons over 21 to brew up to 200 gallons a year and distribute any amount at organized contests and tastings.
June 30, 1999 |
As early as last year, it was rumored that we could face a shortage of bubbly this Dec. 31. At the six-month countdown, there is evidence that people are heeding warnings and stocking up now for New Year's Eve toasts. Steve Wallace, owner of West L.A.' Wally's wine shop, says his champagne sales are up approximately 22% from last year. The Wine House in West L.A.
January 17, 2010
This Valentine's Day package at the Gaige House stands out because the inn is in a relaxing, almost-hidden crossroads tucked away in Sonoma's wine country. The 23-room inn in Glen Ellen has a romantic day and night planned with sparkling wine, a couples massage and a rose petal bath. The deal: The package rate starts at $314 per night for two people and includes accommodations, a 50-minute couples Swedish/deep tissue massage, sparkling wine and a rose petal bath. The Valentine's Day weekend requires a two-night minimum, but if you want to take advantage of the package for just one night, book it for Feb. 11. Queen rooms with the package on this date were $369; a king was $399, a studio suite was $469 and a Zen suite was $529.
October 10, 1987 |
Champagne is usually the first beverage on the shopping list when there's a big celebration coming up--whether it's a wedding, anniversary, birthday or congratulatory party of any kind. Many hosts and hostesses have their preferences of brands and dryness, while others are just aware that they like it and it means celebration. Sally McFadden of Domaine Chandon in Yountville, Calif.
December 12, 1985 |
Producing Champagne, in essence, involves making wine twice. Within this two-tiered process, there is an incredible array of choices available to each Champagne master. The numerous decisions, such as what grapes to use, the length of aging and the degree of sweetness, account for vast differences in the wine's style, taste and color. Certainly the most complex procedure for making wines that sparkle is through bottle fermentation, known as the classic French methode champenoise .
December 1, 2002 |
To choose a sparkling wine for my wedding, I agonized over which bottle of bubbly would best flatter the foods on the menu and impress my new in-laws. I chose a California sparkling wine that seemed to meet all my criteria for flavor and aroma, but the problem (if you can really call it a problem) was that in the midst of the party, with all the reveling in reunions, speeches and dancing, I never really noticed the nuances of the wine, and I suspect that few of the guests did either.
November 29, 1990 |
Mt. Palomar Winery in Temecula harvested a small quantity of Sangiovese grapes in September, and will make a red wine out of the grape of the Chianti region of Italy. Peter Poole, general manager of the winery in southern Riverside County, said the winery crushed 1.5 tons of the variety, yielding just more than four barrels of wine. Mt. Palomar grafted somewhat over an acre of vines to Sangiovese in 1989 and got a small crop in 1990. Very little Sangiovese is planted in California.
November 21, 1996
As mentioned previously, quality judgments in sparkling wine are almost pure preference. So, more than usual, what follows is, as the singer-songwriter Donovan so memorably put it, "one man's opinion of moonlight." The Thrill of the Deal: Roederer Estate Brut non-vintage ($17.95). Although less expensive sparklers can be founds--quite a few, in fact--Roederer makes California's consistently best non-vintage Brut (very dry). With a street price as low as $13.95, it turns into the tastiest deal.