When my friends and fellow French Winophiles settled on “A French-Style Season” for December’s theme, my mind automatically wandered back to the fantastic holidays Dan and I have spent in Provence. From wandering through the old Papal palace in Avignon on Christmas Day (yes, it’s open!) to Christmas markets in Aix, Provence is a fantastic place to spend the holidays. France does the festive season very, very well. And they (of course!) eat and drink wonderfully over the season. Provence has a very special meal they do on Christmas Eve, so we recreated it at home so we could enjoy the memories. Sadly we don’t have any Christmas markets, but with a little creativity and a few bottles of good Provencal wine, we were able to conjure the sound of the mistral blowing against our shutters in Avignon or the sound of the surf and the feeling of the sand in Nice.12 Read More
I can’t believe that it’s December already. But the tree is up and the holiday parties have already started. There’s no better time to take a look at Italian sparkling wines. Italy makes some really awesome sparkling wines which, like Crémant are generally available at a fraction of the price of Champagne.
Italian sparklers come in a range of styles from very sweet to very dry. The Italian word for sparkling, Spumante, is sometimes used on labels. Don’t just think Asti Spumante, though! The word spumante just means sparkling, it doesn’t imply anything about sweetness, so not all wines labeled as spumante will be sweet – quite the opposite.
There are five main styles of sparkling wine made in Italy. They are: Prosecco, Lambrusco, Franciacorta, Metodo Classico and Asti Spumante.
This month, I was specifically looking at wines that will pair well with holiday party foods, so I only sampled dry wines. Two of the wines I tried were made in the traditional or classico method. The other wine was produced using the charmat method. (more…)12 Read More
It seems like yesterday that we were talking rose and barbecue and thinking about summer vacations. Hard to believe that we’re already barreling towards the holiday season. However, the holidays always mean an excuse to break out some excellent food and wine to toast the season, give thanks with friends and family and celebrate. While everyone knows that I’m always up for opening a bottle of Champagne, my bank balance doesn’t always agree. This is where Crémant comes in.
Simply put, Crémant is sparkling wine that comes from France but does not come from the Champagne region. Many of them are made with the same complex method and even sometimes with the same grapes. They’re very high quality wines, but they often come at a good value when compared to Champagne. Several appellations in France have granted AOC status to their Crémant wines:
Crémants can range from bone dry to slightly sweet. They can be made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay or other local grapes and they can come, as the map above shows, from all over France. They’re fun, fantastic wines that are readily available in the US, especially at this time of year.
As you can see, Crémant is a subject well worth exploring and, on Saturday, November 17th, the Winophiles will do just that. Individually, each participating blogger will pursue a thread of particular interest – perhaps Crémant de Jura made from Chardonnay and Savagnin or a crisp Crémant de Bourgogne. I know that I’ll be looking at Crémant de Loire and posting some photos from our time there in August.
We will be publishing the blog posts on the evening of the 16th or early morning on the 17th. On the 17th, I’ll be hosting a Twitter chat at 11 am ET, under the hashtag #Winophiles. The chat will last for one hour and I’ll cover broad range of topics including food and wine pairings, travel stories, and tasting notes.
Want to participate? You’re welcome to! the more the merrier, and it’s easy to participate. Here’s how:
If you have any questions regarding the topic or about the Winophiles group in general, please let me know. In the meantime, pop open a bottle of Crémant and start the holiday season a little early. Give thanks to the vignerons of France for creating such lovely wines for us to enjoy and then plan a party with your friends and share the love.
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