Quick Guide To Holiday Bubbles

Written by Elizabeth Smith, CS
ICC Wine Program Coordinator

There’s no better way to kick off the festive season with popping corks and a splash (or two) of bubbly.  But what to drink?   Here’s my quick-and-dirty guide to what to buy.


Champagne

Champagne lovers say there’s simply no substitute for real Champagne, and of course, there’s nothing like it to ring in the new year.   In the words of Ferris Bueller, “it is so choice – if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”   If you like a rich and toasty style, go for Herbert Beaufort or Vilmart – smaller producers that make full, silky champagnes.  If you’re looking for something lean and racy as an apéritif, I’d recommend grower-producer Pierre Gimonnet – his Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs is redolent of lime blossom with a firm mineral spine.



Other Traditional Method Sparklers

Made in the traditional method of Champagne, Cava delivers those toasty, yeasty notes and fuller body at a fraction of the price.  For excellent value, try Juvé y Camps or Mas la Mola L’Atzar – the latter ages 22 months in the bottle, longer than many Champagnes.  But my favorite Spanish sparkler of all time is Raventós i Blanc Rosé de Nit – a robust and flavorful rosé from Mourvedre that goes with everything.

You can also drink the big Champagne producers at a more civilized cost if you head to California – Taittinger, Roederer, and Moët all have sisters stateside.  I was recently impressed with Taittinger’s Domaine Carneros – a nose of pear compote on brioche, with a cleansing acidity and tight bubbles on the palate.


Prosecco

A lighter, more fruit-forward wine than those made in the traditional method, Prosecco is about fresh fruit flavors and sometimes a little kiss of sugar.  Perfect for apéritifs, digestifs, toasts, and gatherings at any hour, Malibràn Gorio Extra Dry Prosecco is delicately sweet, with gentle fruity and floral notes.


Off the Beaten Path

German producer 50◦N makes original and truly delicious sekt (sparkling) wines, fruity and drinkable and guaranteed to please a crowd.  But my personal favorite obscure sparkler is the underrated French appellation Crémant de Limoux – the first sparkling wines in the world (pre-dating Champagne).  Try producer Saint-Hilaire – Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Mauzac grapes deliver distinctive wines at incredible value.

 

Have a New Year’s Resolution to expand your wine knowledge in 2018? ICC’s Intensive Sommelier Training program can help you accomplish your goal in just 10 weeks. Apply now to begin in our January program! Click here to learn more.

Fall Wine Event Series at California Campus

The International Culinary Center® proudly introduces a fall wine series dedicated to providing a fresh understanding and appreciation for an array of intriguing grapes, regions and producers at their Silicon Valley campus. Lead by Master Sommelier and ICC instructor Dennis Kelly, each event will be open to the public spanning from 6pm through 8pm.

ICC California WineKicking off on Thursday, October 13, expand your palette beyond the more popular wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet. Learn how grape variety, wine styles and geographic regions play a major influence in the outcome, while tasting six different esoteric wines including Xinomavro and Scheurebe. On Thursday, November 10th ICC invites you to become versed with one of the world’s most versatile wines, Pinot Noir. Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, attendees will experience just why Pinot Noir should have a place at your holiday table through theory, smell and taste. Lastly, pop into the full swing of the holidays with Champagne: Behind the Bubbles on Thursday, December 8. Discover the nuances existing between bottles from vintages, vineyards and unique producers and celebrate the symbol of celebration.

Thursday, October 13 – Esoteric Wines
Thursday, November 10 – Pinot Noir from Around the World
Thursday, December 8 – Champagne: Behind the Bubbles

All classes require an RSVP, as seating is very limited. Please RSVP to Associate Wine Director, Rachel Lintott: rlintott@culinarycenter.com