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.
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 .
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 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.
January 16, 1994 |
In the English tradition, steak off the grill calls for claret, which at the Grill means something like 1985 Chateau Talbot, $55, a decent wine that should work with the beef. Or try 1989 Chateau Greysac, a modest but decently rich red at $20. Still, most Californians prefer something brawnier, such as domestic Cabernet Sauvignon. The Grill offers two dozen Cabernets: Best bets are 1988 Silver Oak "Bonny's Vineyard," $35, or 1989 Caymus, $35.
August 28, 1987 |
Everything's pretty peachy in the south of France right now. I found on a recent visit peaches are popping up everywhere. Peaches perfume the air in all the grocery stores, prettify the plate on which your duck is presented, peer over the edge of every fruit basket. Grab a glass of Champagne and you suddenly discover that even your glass smells of peaches. The trendy new drink showing up everywhere is Brut de Peche--a peach libation far better than Bellinis.
December 29, 2004 |
Previsionistes (that's what my Paris friend Luis calls those who anticipate the future) should have a few bottles of bubbly already tucked away -- for the new year, or any other suitable occasion. Those who do not, which is quite possibly most of us, should go shopping. Now. Don't wait for New Year's Eve when wine clerks' patience is running short and stocks are depleted. Here are a few to hunt down to ring in the new year or keep on hand for that unforeseen something to celebrate.