The Wine Ladies open a bottle of Foss Marai Prosecco

Festive Fizz! In love with Champagne and Prosecco.

With the holidays fast approaching we are armed with our sabers and flutes, on our current crusade to bring Champagne and sparkling wines to everyone, everywhere! With a plethora of brilliant bubblies now being produced from around the world, there’s a sparkling wine for you, just waiting to pop its cork – fabulous for festivities and also perfect for partnering with an array of foods!

Our sparkling wine journey will take us to four old world wine producing countries, France, more specifically Champagne, Spain, Italy and Germany.

Let us begin with the most famous wine in the world, synonymous with glamour, celebration and decadence – Champagne!

Champagne is a wine and a place, a wine-growing region approximately 90 miles northeast of Paris. In order for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, it must come from this A.O.C. (appellation d’origine controlee) region and follow the rules of production as outlined by the meticulous Traditional Method, or Méthode Champenoise.

What makes Champagne so special? It is the combination of the “terroir” what is the soils, the climate, sun exposure and the altitude along with the grapes, that uniquely blend to provide the ultimate ingredient for the finest sparkling wine in the world. The producers, or Champenois as they say in Champagne, have been producing Champagne for more than three centuries historically passing down the wisdom, experience and skill to subsequent generations.

Champagne comes to us in many styles, from Blanc de Blanc, made exclusively with Chardonnay…

Blanc de Noirs, red grapes only (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier exclusively as dictated by regulation) and rosé. Pink or rosé Champagnes are made by either adding a small proportion of red wine to the blend or less commonly, allowing the juice to remain in contact with the dark skinned grapes for a short time during fermentation. Vintage Champagnes are typically made only three or four times in a decade when individual Champagne houses determine that it will be an outstanding harvest. One in which the fickle weather has cooperated, all the stars have aligned and it will be possible to produce a very special, particularly age worthy delectable Champagne.

With all the different styles of Champagne, there’s most certainly a bottle of this luxurious bubbly to suit every occasion, every dish and everyone’s palate.

Moving on as delectable as Champagne may be, other sparkling wines await us, budget bubbly wonderfully delightful and unique with new flavours and styles to embrace.

Fizz and Food… the versatility of sparkling

When it comes to a toast, Champagne or bubbly often rules as the beverage of choice with flutes and coupes filled to the brim at celebrations and special occasions. Times are a changing and many are enjoying bubbly as an aperitif, paired with snacks, appetizers, main courses and of course with dessert! Chocolate covered strawberries with your rosé perhaps? Yes, Champagne and bubbly sales keep popping with the fashionable fizz being enjoyed anytime, anywhere and on any day of the week.

What to pair with Champagne, with Prosecco or Cava? For some mouthwatering ideas we paid a visit to Seasons, one of Oakville’s finest dining establishments. Owned and operated by husband and wife team George Couto and Tammy Weiss this dynamic duo is a culinary force. With no fewer than four restaurants located in our beautiful downtown they have established a very devoted foodie following. Always superb dishes created by Executive Chef Doug Walker, what might Chef Doug serve up with a couple of our recent finds?

We select a Champagne from the iconic Champagne house founded in 1812 Laurent-Perrier. One of the largest and most famous Laurent-Perrier is the Champagne of choice of HMS Prince Charles, often served at major British events with any connection to the royal family. In fact, poured at the wedding reception of Kate and William!

The Domaine Laurent-Perrier estate is situated in the picturesque village Tours-sur-Marne that is also part of the 17 Champagne villages ranking in the most prestigious “Grand Cru” area. “Beautiful Champagnes” with the house known for “freshness, lightness and elegance” is often how the wines are defined.

Just released in Vintages we enjoy Laurent-Perrier’s La Cuvee Brut Champagne immensely with Chef Doug’s choice of food pairing his Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Salad. Served with shaved beets, micro greens and candied pecans the dish is divine with the Champagne echoing its slight nutty flavour with that of the pecans.

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne $69.95

Spain is our next stop with incredible value sparkling wine, called Cava.

Easy on the pocket book these bubblies will please your palate on their own, in a cocktail or with a variety of dishes. Finding great Cava under $20.00 is not unusual.Cavas are made in the traditional method, and just as with Champagne, are restricted to certain grape varieties. They too must come from a list of designated municipalities including Catalonia where close to 95% of all Cava is produced. One of the reasons Cava is so affordable is the widespread use of highly efficient modern methods of production, which keep the costs way down. This coupled with the high yielding grapes due to more consistent and “grape friendly” climate provides a winning price/quality ratio for Cava with the proof clearly being in the bottle. A Reserva Cava with a pronounced yeasty, toasty character or a Cava Rosado, a rosé with attractive red fruit such as cherries and blackberries are wonderful introductions to the world of Spanish sparkling. Shelves are well stocked across the country with a great variety of Cava, explore and enjoy!

Foss Marai Prosecco

Prosecco, is a spirited sparkling wine, a village and a white grape variety which originated in the Veneto region in northeast Italy.

In 2009 the Italian Minister of Agriculture changed several regulations including the name of the grape from Prosecco to its synonym Glera. Prosecco is also now a protected demarcated region or “appellation” with strict regulated grape growing and winemaking practices enhancing the quality of this sparkling wine.

This fashionable sparkling wine is steadily gaining in popularity, showing off its allure of freshness and simplicity, clean and lean. No yeasty, biscuit quality here. The bubbles are a little less tight, most often having been fermented in a tank as opposed to a bottle. But that’s okay, for this uncomplicated well-priced Prosecco delivers well. When it comes to what works on the plate partnering Prosecco with a variety of appetizers is an easy task. With their fruit and crisp acids, plus the lively bubbles, they can easily marry well with salty or fatty foods, one of our faves potato chips and Prosecco!

Our Chef has been busy in the kitchen and awards our patience with a second scrumptious appetizer to be paired with a Prosecco.

We select the super popular Foss Marai Prosecco. The story of Foss Marai is one of a dedicated family, the Biasiotto family who over the years have established this prestigious brand as a leading company and
international ambassador of Italian sparkling wine. The company strives to produce sparkling wines that appeal to modern tastes but do not necessarily follow trends. What started in a series of old rural buildings made entirely of stones, bricks and wood is now a fully functional modernized multi-story building and winery located in the village of Guia Veneto.

This lively sparkler offers up enticing aromas of pear, stone fruit with a hint of white flowers. Fresh, crisp, and moderate in alcohol at 11.5% this favourite also works heavenly with Chef Doug’s Diver Scallops on this sunny afternoon. The pan seared diver scallops are served with grilled chorizo sausage. Peruvian purple potatoes, braised leeks and roasted pepper sauce. Chef Doug is a fan of this pairing as “the Prosecco helps contrast the spice of the sausage and sweetness of the scallop” simply delish! Next time we meet, it will be Cava and Sekt in our glasses alongside culinary creations courtesy of Chef Doug, definitely looking forward to that!

Foss Marai Extra Dry $19.95

Finally we come to Sekt, the term used in German-speaking countries to describe sparkling wines.

We salute the wine lovers of Germany – among the highest consumers per capita in the world – as they appreciate the joy and diversity of sparkling wines.

There are several quality levels of Sekt available for your enjoyment., but we would encourage you to seek out those sparklers labeled either Deutscher Sekt or Sekt bA (b.A means from a specific region). Simple Sekt is a sparkling wine that is made with grapes from other countries, while Deutscher Sekt of course uses German grapes.

Taking it one step further, if you can source a Sekt b.A that also indicates a vineyard site, the name of the grape varietal, and/or a vintage, these are the superior sparklers that will have been subject to the most strict quality control regulations.

Our favorites are among the ones that are made with the noble grape variety, Riesling. Racy and aromatic with its pronounced acidity, these wines are ready and able to do table duty at any time and any place.

We hope we’ve made a compelling case for bubbly, the one that sparkles, that enchants, that knows no boundaries., From a toast to Cheers, Salute or Prost, to an appetizer, through to dessert, you can take this special fizz anywhere, anytime. Explore, experience and enjoy!
Cheers everyone.

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne $69.95

Foss Marai Extra Dry $19.95

We invite you to tune into The Wine Ladies Audio Podcast here.

We hope we’ve made a compelling case for bubbly, the one that sparkles, that enchants, that knows no boundaries., From a toast to Cheers, Salute or Prost, to an appetizer, through to dessert, you can take this special fizz anywhere, anytime. Explore, experience and enjoy!
Cheers everyone.

Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée Brut Champagne $69.95

Foss Marai Extra Dry $19.95

Sabering Champagne
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