Champagne and Sparkling Wine Picks for New Year’s Eve

Sparkling wine is an essential part of any New Year’s Eve Celebration.  We always enjoy bottles with oysters to begin the night as well as with our midnight toast to welcome in the new year!  Here are 3 picks at different price points that are sure to start 2015 off right!

Happy New Year!!!
Happy New Year!!!

NV Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut

One choice that is a favorite at Wine and Good Food for under $20 is NV Domaine Brazilier Méthode Trad Brut.  This blend of Chenin Blanc and Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire will draw you in with aromas of fresh-baked bread and baked apples.  The palate is equally delicious with tastes of apples and nutmeg along with vibrant acidity.  A definite crowd pleaser! ($15)

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut

Franciacorta is a region in Italy producing excellent sparkling wine at price points that are usually far below the price points of Champagne.  Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut is a blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, and 10% Pinot Noir.  The palate offers soft, creamy notes of citrus and fresh-baked bread with floral undertones.  A great value, especially for those who don’t want an exceptionally dry sparkling wine.  ($35; sample)

NV Charles Dufour Champagne Extra Brut Bulles de Comptoir #2

Rounding out the New Year’s Eve picks is one of my favorite Champagnes for under $100 (and it’s way below $100); NV Charles Dufour Champagne Extra Brut Bulles de Comptoir #2.  This blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay, and 10% Pinot Blanc is sans soufre and absolutely delicious.  The Champagne has clean flavors of apple and pear with hints of yeast and minerals.  Bright acidity and fine bubbles make it an excellent match for oysters.  ($45; if you are local to Los Angeles, Domaine LA may still have a few bottles on the shelf)

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Last Minute Christmas Gifts for Wine Lovers

Looking for a last-minute gift to give the wine lovers in your life?  Finding something for the wine geek who has everything can be a bit stressful so we compiled a list of a few items that you should be able to get in time for Christmas!

For The Intellectual

The Essence of Wine by Alder Yarrow
The Essence of Wine by Alder Yarrow

Most wine lovers enjoy reading a great book about wine.  A couple of months ago, well-known wine blogger Alder Yarrow released a book called “The Essence of Wine“, which has received great reviews from the likes of Food & Wine Magazine and The New York Times.  The book can be hard to get your hands on (it is on backorder on Alder’s site), but you can be sure that the wine lover in your life will appreciate it (and probably doesn’t already have it).  It is an excellent coffee table book!

For The Connoisseur

Kermit Lynch
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

Grabbing a bottle or two of wine a wine geek will truly appreciate can be intimidating.  One place you can go to grab unique wines that almost any wine enthusiast will dig is Kermit Lynch.  Kermit imports some of the most authentic and beautiful wines from France and Italy.  This month, he is even featuring holiday sampler packages where the wine has already been picked out for you (too easy, right?). You can be sure the wine will be both distinct and delicious.

For The Foodie

Il Fiorello is a great spot for domestic olive oil
Il Fiorello is a great spot for artisan olive oil

As a foodie and wine lover myself, there is one thing I can’t get enough of…artisan olive oil.  I love having it on hand to pair with great bread or to cook with and it’s excellent to serve when friends are over.  One great spot to order a gift from is Il Fiorello.  Il Fiorello is a family-owned, small production olive oil company based in Napa County.  I just enjoyed olive oil samples from the company and was super impressed.  They have single bottles in addition to gift sets.  This is also a great host or hostess gift to bring to a New Year’s Eve party!

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Holiday Food Pairing: Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay and Baked Eggs Florentine

The holidays are upon us and many of us are tasked with putting together menus that will impress our family and friends.  Brunch with friends is a must in our household during the Christmas season so I was really excited to see that Wente Vineyards partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to put together a fantastic brunch pairing; matching their 2013 Morning Fog Chardonnay with a delicious Baked Eggs Florentine recipe.

2013 Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay opens with aromas of green apples and citrus.  The palate is lively with fresh tastes of lemons, green apples, and hints of oak.  Balanced and perfect for brunch.  Pairing this with Baked Eggs Florentine is sure to make a great holiday brunch!

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay
Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay

For more great holiday wine pairings, visit Wente Vineyards.

Eggs Florentine Recipe from Wente and America’s Test Kitchen:

In order for the eggs to cook properly, it is critical to add them to the hot filling–lined ramekins quickly. Use 6-ounce ramekins with 3¼-inch diameters, measured from the inner lip. It is imperative to remove the eggs from the oven just after the whites have turned opaque but are still jiggly—carryover cooking will finish the job. We developed this recipe using a glass baking dish; if using a metal baking pan, reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees. This recipe can be doubled. If doubling, bake the ramekins in two 13 by 9-inch dishes and increase the baking times in steps 3 and 4 by 1 minute.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¾ cup half-and-half
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and
squeezed dry
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
Salt and pepper
⅛ teaspoon dry mustard
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil spray
6 large eggs

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to
500 degrees.
2. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add
shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3
minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Gradually whisk in half-and-half; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly.
Simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, 2 to
3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in spinach, Parmesan,
¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, mustard, nutmeg,
and cayenne.
3. Lightly spray six 6-ounce ramekins with oil spray. Evenly
divide spinach filling among ramekins. Using back of spoon,
push filling 1 inch up sides of ramekins to create 1/8-inch-thick
layer. Shape remaining filling in bottom of ramekin into 1½-inch
diameter mound, making shallow indentation in center of mound
large enough to hold yolk. Place filled ramekins in 13 by 9-inch
glass baking dish. Bake until filling just starts to brown, about 7
minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking.
4. While filling is heating, crack eggs (taking care not to break
yolks) into individual cups or bowls. Remove dish with ramekins
from oven and place on wire rack. Gently pour eggs from cups
into hot ramekins, centering yolk in filling. Lightly spray surface
of each egg with oil spray and sprinkle each evenly with pinch salt.
Return dish to oven and bake until whites are just opaque but still
tremble (carryover heat will cook whites through), 6 to 8 minutes,
rotating dish halfway through baking.
5. Remove dish from oven and, using tongs, transfer ramekins to wire rack. Let stand until whites are firm and set (yolks should still be runny), about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Follow recipe through step 3, skipping baking of lined ramekins.
Wrap ramekins with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To serve, remove plastic and heat lined ramekins, directly from
refrigerator, for additional 3 to 4 minutes (10 to 11 minutes total)
before proceeding with recipe.

*Media Sample

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