Not much beats Champagne on New Year’s Eve, but if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box (and easier-on-the wallet) alternatives for the big night, you’re in luck! Champagne doesn’t have a lock on quality sparkling wine anymore. All six of these bottles should delight your palate, satisfy your enological curiosity, and enhance your celebratory mood as you welcome 2017. And only one of them is even from France!
I don’t usually post wine reviews – I prefer to write about wine experiences. But tonight, I opened a wine that was an experience.
I bought this 2008 Roger Sabon Chapelle de Maillac, from Lirac in France’s southern Rhone, back in January during a sale at Tim’s Wine Market in Orlando. I tasted it in the store and knew I needed to drink it fairly soon. That’s how I rationalized opening an aged wine by myself, to enjoy on my porch on a beautiful summer Sunday evening in Florida.
My husband and I were lucky enough to spend Memorial Day weekend gazing at the sparkling blue Gulf of Mexico and taking in some spectacular sunsets with two of our best friends at Lido Beach in Sarasota.
Of course, we also sipped a few great summer wines too.
Americans are heading into the Memorial Day weekend today (stay tuned for some holiday beach wine reviews), but Canadians celebrated their national holiday this past Monday.
Neither I nor my British husband had ever heard of Victoria Day. They don’t observe it in the U.K – I guess the Brits aren’t as excited as the Canadians about that particular monarch.
For the uninitiated (or un-Canadian), poutine is a dish comprised of french fries drenched in gravy, topped with cheese curds. The chefs at this event added meat and a whole lot more. This was not a low-fat affair.
But what excited me most – as you might imagine – was that the evening’s festivities also included a tasting of five Canadian wines, all from the Niagara region! We don’t get many Canadian wines this far south of the border, so this was a real treat. And no, they weren’t all icewines!
I don’t know what the weather is like where you live, but here in Orlando, it’s well into rosé season.
Of course, I don’t really believe in rosé season. I’m a huge rosé fan – some might even say an evangelist – and I’m happy drinking the sunset-colored liquid any time of year. But there’s no denying that it pairs particularly well with a porch, deck, or pool on a warm Florida spring day like today.
I’m partial to Provencal rosés – like a lot of rosé lovers, I consider them the gold standard – but I was intrigued a few weeks ago when Tim’s Wine Market Orlando featured the 2014 Massaya rosé from Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. It’s made mostly from Rhone varietals – 40% cinsault, 30% syrah – plus 30% cabernet sauvignon.
Before I get to the main topic of this post, I want to take a moment to rejoice with four (that I know of so far) friends from my blind tasting group here in Orlando who passed the Certified Sommelier exam in Tampa today! I’m so proud of them and of Orlando’s growing wine scene!
One of the things I love about wine is how often it surprises me – now that I’ve learned to let it.
A few weeks ago at my Tuesday night blind tasting at Swirlery Wine Bar in Orlando, we tried a lovely white wine, with apple and white flowers on the nose. The palate was expressive with peach, pear, and mineral notes, a round mouthfeel, and good, balanced acidity.
I liked this wine a lot.