Sparkling wines are inherently festive – from wedding celebrations to Valentine’s romance to toasting Dick Clark for yet another Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, we tend to wait for a “big” occasion to uncork something carbonated. That’s a shame, because bubbly wines can be some of the most versatile when it comes to food and wine pairing and are well suited to celebrating life’s small moments just as surely as the big ones.
This season, resolve to educate yourself and your sparkling palate and quit blaming the bubbly for your headache too by the way. It’s not the CO2 any more than it’s the sulfites causing you morning-after misery; it’s called over-consumption. That said, el cheapo sparkling wines are just that, cheaply made and that’s a danger one can easily avoid by avoiding wines that cost the same as, say, a Big Mac.
Read more at Lot18.
Excellent blow by blow in the Sommelier Challenge by Roberta Rinaldi:
For those of us obsessed by wine, Saturday was an exciting day at The Taste of Beverly Hills. Eight sommeliers competed (click here for bios) in the “Boys vs Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting”. Moderated by event sommelier, Bonnie Graves, teams of four girl and four boy sommeliers were playfully pitted against each other, one pair for each of the four wines tasted.
The group featured some of California’s brightest, most cutting edge sommeliers. On the feminine side were Rebecca Chapa (Culinary Institute of America), Diane De Luca (Providence), Dana Farner (CUT–wearing the best sundress ever!) and Carolyn Styne (AOC, Luques, Tavern). Representin’ for the boys were Chris Lavin (XIV), Mark Mendoza (Comme Ca and Sona), Jonathan Mitchell (Palm Restaurant) and David Rosoff (Pizzeria Mozza).
[...] And so it went, with the best round being round three. Rebecca Chapa and David Rosoff were completely stumped by a bottle of Two Buck Chuck Merlot, which she guessed to be a Chinon Cabernet Franc, and he thought to be a Dolcetto! Since the teams were allowed to reach conclusions by consensus; this was a great example of how group think leads wine tasters to cede their opinions to others, when they’d be better served to follow their gut instincts. Jonathan Mitchell had a thigh-slapping moment upon the reveal, when he exclaimed that his first impression was of a cheap Merlot, then went along with David.
Kudos to Caroline Styne for having a wine blog (and running three restaurants) – her Taste of BevHills’ panelist take from the great gender drink-off:
So, when Bonnie Graves, a Los Angeles wine gal contacted me to join a men vs. women blind tasting panel at the Taste of Beverly Hills event last weekend, I immediately told her that there was no way in hell that I would do it. The other people on the panel were going to be individuals who I completely respect and who get loads of practice tasting blind.
I told her that I would provide a personally embarrassing amount of comic relief and would basically end up looking like a complete idiot. Of course, after about seven emails and even a personal visit at Lucques, Bonnie managed to persuade me to do it with promises of a fun, light-hearted event, a potential bottle of Krug for the winning team and loads of p.r. for the restaurant. [...]
In the end, we ladies redeemed ourselves with a totally right-on identification of a 2006 Rioja Reserva and won the match. We left the event holding our heads a little higher while laughing at ourselves a little louder.
I love this so much it hurts my heart – hysterical video. Nicely done Gramercy and Gregory Harrington, and thanks for your Taste of Beverly Hills’ support!
BOOTLEG VIDEO REVEALS SHOCKING STORY BEHIND FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE’S BEST NEW WINERY OF 2010
When Food & Wine Magazine named Gramercy Cellars the “Best New Winery of the Year” for 2010, inquiring minds wanted to know: Who were the husband and wife team, internationally known as “Gramela,” behind the hot new winery? And how did this pair of ex-Manhattanites wind up in Walla Walla? How the heck did they learn to make wine? Now there are answers. The secret to their success has been leaked by sources close to the couple. This exclusive video outlines their plan for global domination, reveals top secret winemaking and marketing tactics and shamelessly inflates the couples already huge egos. Watch the video THEY don’t want you to see. And you thought Heidi and Spencer were strange…
High-tech wine tasting now comes to your door through a new virtual concept: try before you buy tours of vineyards. Kurt the CyberGuy puts it to the test with Girl Meets Grape sommelier and wine critic Bonnie Graves.
WineTasteTV.com’s Bonnie Graves takes you inside the World of Pinot Noir. With award winning wines, celebrity chefs, and one of the world’s most extensive gatherings of Pinot Noir winemakers, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.
WineTasteTV.com’s Bonnie Graves talks with Allen Meadows at the World of Pinot Noir event. Find out how he developed his unrivaled passion for Pinot Noir and became one of the world’s foremost authorities on Burgundy.
From Denise Fondo’s superb Middle Crescent Kitchen blog:
I was scheduled to cover a number of demonstrations and events during the day, but managed to miss most of them. Too much food to taste! I did attend Boys Versus Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting hosted by Bonnie Graves. Randy Fuller will be writing about the this event on Now and Zin. Not to give anything away but Graves threw in a Two Buck Chuck as a trick wine and it was fun to watch sommeliers fooled into thinking it might sell for $12 a glass in a restaurant. Loved the surprise when it came out of the bag to be revealed as Trader Joe’s cheap and popular wine.
And from Randy Fuller’s great Now & Zin blog: The Sommelier Challenge
The highlight event for me was the Boys vs Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting challenge. Eight noted sommeliers – four men and four women – competed in a wine competition that was spirited and aimed more at whimsy than winning.
The Taste of Beverly Hills Event Sommelier Bonnie Graves presided over the competition with a light touch. It was an entertaining event which included panelists David Rosoff from Osteria Mozza, Dana Farner from CUT, Christopher Lavin from XIV, Caroline Styne of AOC and Lucques, Jonathan Mitchell of the Palm, Rebecca Chapa from the Culinary Institute of America, Mark Mendoza of Sona and Comme Ça, and Diane DeLuca from the Estates Group.
The competition was a battle of the sexes. The male sommeliers jumped out to an early lead with the correct identification of the first wine as Prosecco. The gentlemen scored again by getting the Macon Chardonnay right. The ladies nailed the Sauvignon Blanc, but could not correctly identify it as a New Zealand wine. Wine number four was the ringer – Charles Shaw Merlot – which sent both sides scurrying to name it – to no avail. The game changer for the women was getting the Rioja Tempranillo Reserva correct down to the last detail.
Russell From shares his small production, high intensity Rhone style wines with WineTasteTV.com’s Bonnie Graves. Russell’s Herman Story wines have drawn rave reviews, and their style and purity live up to the reputation.