Stunning Santiago with the Andes as a backdrop. Breathtaking!

MontGras Colchagua,The Wine Ladies Adventure in Chile.

MontGras Colchagua, Cabernet and Carmnere.

MontGras Colchagua, Cabernet and Carmnere.

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile…. and Carmenere too!

Stunning Santiago with the Andes as a backdrop. Breathtaking!

A moment in time, frozen in our minds for ever was the vision of the spectacular Andes mountains as we approached the captial city of Santiago, Chile. Breathtaking in a  rainblow of colours, we inhaled the magnificence of the largest mountain range in the world. Chile, at last, we’d so  been looking forward to this day! On the world wide stage of wine, Chile has an enviable position!

Stunning Santiago with the Andes as a backdrop. Breathtaking!

Welcome to Chile! It may be long and skinny in size and shape. However, it’s awfully big and fat when it comes to fabuous wines and food! As a wine producing country Chile has been dealt a winning hand thanks in large part to its natural barriers. The Atacama Desert in the north, the  magnificent Andes Mountains in the east, Patagonian icefields to the south and of course the Pacific Ocean to the west. These geogrpahic barriers serve Chile well, protecting the vineyards from pests and disease, while also facilitating organic and even biodynamic viticulture.

Chile, in fact was never affected by the root eating louse Phylloxera.

Phylloxera decimated the winegrowing regions in the mid 1800’s. As a result grafting was never necessary and the great majority of Chile’s vines are planted on their original rootstocks. Unlike the majority of grapevines in the “old world” planted on the hearty North American rootstocks, their saviour! Many maintain Chilian vines are at a huge advantage with vines better able to express their character and their terroir.

Wine Map courtesy Wines of Chile

Wine Map courtesy Wines of Chile

On our all too short recent visit to Chile we had the opportunity to experience three of the fourteen wine regions.

The regions including the Maipo Valley, “numero uno” for Cabernet Sauvignon. Leyda, the newest cool climate region producing premium white wines knocking it out of the ball park. The Colchagua Valley, one of Chile’s best-known regions particularly applauded for its Carmenere, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Here we share the time we spent with Mont Gras Properties, a company founded in 1992 by  brothers Hernán and Eduardo Gras as well as Cristian Hartwig, who has since moved on to other avenues.  Mont Gras Properties’ mission was to create world-class wines that reflected Chile’s best terroirs. Today, “mission accomplished” with Mont Gras enjoying tremendous success with their line-up of wines including a variety of Mont Gras Colchagua, their ultra-premium “Ninquen” reds from Chile’s first mountain vineyard  also located in Colchagua, Amaral from Leyda and last but not least INTRIGA Maipo 1865.

MontGras properties.

MontGras properties.

Our introductory evening totally rocked… Hernan and Juan Pablo Quijada, Export Manager, “personality extraordinaire” took us to “La Mar”, one of the best, most happening, colourful and amazing restaurants in town. The music played, the apps arrived, the wines flowed, but not before a couple of Pisco Sours arrived! Pisco is a  traditional drink of Chile, made from specific grapes, fermented and distilled into a potent aguardiente. The Pisco Sour cocktail is delish, but imbiber beware…. it has a way of catching up with you, with its seductive sweeetness and flavour!

Our 1st night in Santiago, Chile included a delicious dinner at La Mar. Hernán Gras and Juan Pablo Quijada of MontGras show us the sites.

Our 1st night in Santiago, Chile included a delicious dinner at La Mar. Hernán Gras and Juan Pablo Quijada of MontGras show us the sites.

From the sea…. or ocean we enjoy an assortment of ceviche, dressed in varying treatments, amazingly delicious! Main courses include scallops, sea bass, conger and more. We enjoy a bottle of  Mont Gras’  Quatro, made from  selected handpicked grapes, a blend of Cab Sauv, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec, aged for approximately eleven months in French and American oak, the bouquet is seductive with black currant, spices hints of leather and vanilla, with a long finish, delicious.

Available at the LCBO the MontGras Quatro 2011,$14.95

Available at the LCBO the MontGras Quatro 2011,$14.95

Alas…bid buona noche, tomorrow a full day in planned.

The “work” is now about to begin! At the tasting table, overlooking the stunning vineyards of Mont Gras Cabernet Sauvignon, head winemaker Santiago Margozzini is at the helm…before too long we are totally engrossed in passsionate and enlightening conversation and tasting.

MontGras winemaker Santiago Margozzini led us through an informative and entertaining wine tasting.

MontGras winemaker Santiago Margozzini led us through an informative and entertaining wine tasting.

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Cabernet too! MontGas Winemaker Santiago Margozzini The Wine Ladies TV

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Cabernet too! MontGas Winemaker Santiago Margozzini The Wine Ladies TV

Santiago, passionate and articulate starts with the Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2012… Susanne loves Sauvignon Blanc!  From one of the newest cool climate regions “Leyda”  delish, crisp, aromatic with grapefruit and touch of mango, captivating mouth watering acidity, nice clean finish. Leyda is a sub region of San Antonio located southwest of Santiago  in a small valley between the Coastal Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean with the climate proving excellent for Sauvignon Blanc.

Available at the LCBO Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2011, $14.45 

Available at the LCBO Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2011, $14.45

On to the reds and on to Carmenere.

Carmenere, the grape that is quickly becoming the natural associated grape with Chile! A grape with plantings in Chile that was thought originally to be merlot, brought over from France. With leaves that look almost identical it suffered an identity crisis! Until an ampelographer  (wine grape scientist) discovered differently. Lead winemaker Santiago explains here how it was discovered and how it has come to be a true appreciated grape in its own right, especially here in Chile.

Carmenere has so become a major player that it too now has its own wine glass specifically designed by Riedel. This glass allows the best enjoyment  and appreciation of its unique properties!  With a more tapered shape engineered to capture and concentrate the aromatics of this ever popular, late ripening grape. The grape that exudes spice, black fruit, ripe fruit, soft tannins.

Done right, Carmenere can seduce the most discerning of palates whether on its own or blended with a king… Cabernet Sauvignon!

Both wines available at the LCBO. MontGras Carménère Reserva, $12.00  and MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon,$12.00

Both wines available at the LCBO. MontGras Carménère Reserva, $12.00  and MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon,$12.00

From the mountain vineyard our final wine, the flagship Ninquen 2009, 60% Syrah, 40% Cab Sauv, aged for 24 months in 90% French and 10% American oak. Ditch the spitoons, it’s a wrap, bring the carafe! Layered and complex with touches of leather, lots of alluring ripe black fruit, spice and a long lasting finish.

We are enrolled into Santiago's winemaking college!

We are enrolled into Santiago’s winemaking college!

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Cabernet too! MontGas Wine making school The Wine Ladies TV

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Cabernet too! MontGas Wine making school The Wine Ladies TV

So you think being a winemaker is an easy gig? Think again, as we are ushered down to the cellar where we are faced with creating our own wine! From the blend, selecting varying proportions of Cab Sauv, Carmenere and Merlot, to bottling, corking, labelling and picking a name! Loads of fun, it’s back to chemistry 101, with test tubes, measuring apparatus, calculater and nose and taste buds! We are put to the task!

"Susanne’s

Pinch me! Seriously! Horseback riding in the vineyards in Chile! Really???

Nothing like riding on horseback through the Ninquén vineyards, simply magical!

Nothing like riding on horseback through the Ninquén vineyards, simply magical!

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Carmenere too! Ninquen Mountain Vineyard, Chile The Wine Ladies TV

Crazy for Cabernet in Chile & Carmenere too! Ninquen Mountain Vineyard, Chile The Wine Ladies TV

Next on the agenda….it is time for us to ascend the first mountain vineyard in Chile “Ninquén“.  We mount our horses, and are off, a breathtaking trek up the mountain, through the stunning vineyards, the Andes dutifully our compass and our inspiration. We learn that the berries are purposefully kept small, keeping the yields low, resulting in the highest concentrated and best quality grapes possible.  This is Ninquen, the mountain vineyard. “Everyone thought we were crazy, planting up here on the mountain on a wild, rugged landscape with challenges to the grape such as poor shallow soils” explains Juan Paul…

Available at the LCBO the Antu Syrah 2010 $16.95

Available at the LCBO the Antu Syrah 2010 $16.95

Planted with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, the ultra premium reds that these vineyards produce are now iconic and have set a stage for further vineyards climbing “to the top”. Once atop we inhale the air, the Andes, the vineyards while we sip on the Antu Ninquen Syrah 2011… so rich, with notes of black and white pepper and hints of leather and with ripe black fruit. We’ve developed quite the appetite! A scrumptious lunch awaits  us “city slickers”! Note, Susanne’s be-jewelled dress, perfect for horseback?

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Final stop… INTRIGA, located in the Maipo Valley originally dating back to 1865 as Vina Linderos was taken over by MontGras Properites in 2005. The Maipo Valley  is known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and INTRIGA is a vineyard producing some of the finest under the direction of winemaker Cristian Correa.  We have the privilege to share with Cristian his latest two vintages as well as a barrel sample of the 2012.

INTRIGA is a vineyard producing some of the finest under the direction of winemaker Cristian Correa

INTRIGA is a vineyard producing some of the finest under the direction of winemaker Cristian Correa.

Today, over 140 years after its establishment, Intriga remains with the same mission and concept: Produce premium quality wines with great care of the fruit and the environment.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone at MontGras for welcoming us and sharing their enthusiasm and passion for their wines, the incredible wine regions, the cuisine and the joie de vivre that surrounds it all in your beautiful country Chile! It was truly a magical visit and we departed “Crazy for Cab in Chile and Carmenere too”!

Meet head winemaker Santiago Margozzini of MontGras. On this week’s audio podcast.

2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon

Calling all thirsty wine aficionados with a spare $168,000 to spend…The iconic Australian Penfolds releases new flagship wine! 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon

Move over Grange, make room for a new Penfolds flagship wine… the release of the most expensive bottle of wine, the 2004 Kalimna Block 42 Cabernet Sauvignon. Only a dozen available, at $168,000 per bottle. This special wine is made from grapes of a rare, single 10-acre vineyard, planted in the mid 1880’s. The vines, according to Penfolds are thought to be the oldest continuously producing Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the world!  The 2004 Block 42 is only released in the best vintages.

The packaging, the story and the wine itself, extraordinary! The wine encased in a specially designed hand-blown glass “ampoule”, suspended inside a bespoke glass container. All of  which sits inside a wooden cabinet. This wine can only be opened by a trained expert as there is no cork, no screw cap. Not to worry, included in the price, a senior member of Penfolds’ winemaking team will be dispatched to you.  At the location of your choice, anywhere in the world. To open and decant the ampoule in a special ceremony, complete with the sampling of the wine using a specially crafted sterling silver tastevin.

BIN 389 Shiraz 2008

For those with a  limited budget, we can enjoy Penfolds with the recent release here in Ontario of the BIN 389 Shiraz 2008. This wine referred to as the “Poor Man’s Grange” or “Baby Grange”. For many wine lovers, their preferred Penfolds wine, BIN 389. $39.95

Deep garnet-purple in colour, with an aroma offering unotes of mocha, cloves and chocolate over a core of blueberries and cherries, nuances of tobacco and leather. Full bodied, with lively acidity, good structure and tannins.

Rosehall Run Vineyards

Best of Ontario.Rosehall Run Vineyards, Prince Edward County as seen in Power Boating Canada Magazine.

Rosehall Run Vineyards, Lynn and Dan Sullivan

Rosehall Run Vineyards, Lynn and Dan Sullivan

The Wine Ladies, Georgia and Susanne founded by entrepreneur sister team in 2003, take life one sip at a time as they share the splendour of food and wine and the wonderful lifestyle it entails. Hosts of their own TV show One Sip At A Time…. Adventures Around The Globe as well as their own weekly radio show and about wine, food and lifestyle these ladies share their passion and live life to the fullest and without hesitation. Their motto “everything in life somehow comes back to the vine” keeps their audiences entertained and informed. Here on the pages that follow The Wine Ladies detail a couple of their recent wine discoveries in two of Ontario’s wine growing regions. Featured here Prince Edward County and the most established wine region the Niagara Peninsula.

Prince Edward County, a day in the county. A promised land for elegant, seductive wines tinged with limestone and an undeniable mineralogy. “It’s due to the dirt,” the locals say. Prince Edward County, Ontario’s newest wine region established in 2007 sits on a limestone plateau made up of billions of sea-creature fossils. It’s an integral part of this region’s terroir, a composite of the land,the climate, and of its people. Located just 2.5 hours east of Toronto, this island, surrounded by Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte, is already routinely producing award-winning wines. Endearing and picturesque, the landscape remains quaint and quite rural. Albeit with a sophisticated slant, due to a plethora of celebrity chefs, artists, and poets who have come to call the county their home. We visit one of our favorites for not only their wines, but the warmth and passion of the owners as well as the winery itself. A fabulous tasting room awash in natural light and a very cool overhanging light fixture crafted from intertwining old vines.

Rosehall Run

Rosehall Run is a winery to be reckoned with! Founded in 2001, partners Dan and Lynn Sullivan, along with brother-in-law Cam Reston, bought up this particular 150-acre farm due to its proximity to Lake Ontario. The remarkable Hillier clay soil sitting atop a limestone base. It starts “in the vineyard” as many a winemaker would say. Twenty-five acres of Rosehall Run’s estate vineyards now include plantings of winemaker Dan’s award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. As early as 2006 one of Canada’s top wine writers, David Lawrason featured Rosehall Run’s 2004 debut Pinot Noir as one of “Six wines that define Canada’s future”. Since then the accolades and awards keep on coming. Lynn and Dan, passionate about the county and their wines make a dynamic duo, a force in Prince Edward County wine country, they are also the consumate ambaassadors for the county’s culinary and cultural scene as well!

We selected two Rosehall Run JCR Vineyard wines, a tribute to co-founder John Campbell Reston, made from grapes sourced exclusively from 100% Estate Grown vineyards.

Rosehall Run JCR Rosehall Run Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

Rosehall Run JCR Rosehall Run Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

Rosehall Run JCR Rosehall Run Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011

Did you feel that? It was an explosion of vibrant red fruit wafting out of the glass, cherry and raspberry in the nose, with notes of vanilla, wood and spice to follow. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for sixteen months, two-thirds of which are new. This Pinot Noir has length, good balance and is most pleasurable with its fruit, spice, crisp acidity, subtle tannnins and county minerality.

Silver Award at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC)

Gold Medal at the 2014 WineAlign Wine Awards NWAC

Vintages #326504

Available on line and at the winery www.rosehallrun.com

$39.00

Rosehall Run JCR Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

Rosehall Run JCR Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

Rosehall Run JCR Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

With the Chardonnay grapes sourced from Rosehall Run’s oldest vines planted in 2001 and 2002, these wines clearly define the unique and distinctive Prince Edward County terroir. The 2012 JCR Vineyard Chardonnay was fermented and matured entirely in 500 litre French oak puncheons for 16 months, alas the power of the fruit with its vibrant intensity allows the oak to play a most suitable yet stellar supporting role. The wine is rich and complex, beautifully aromatic with tropical notes and a backbone of spicy baked apple, citrus and county minerality and with great length.

Vintages #326512

Available at the winery and on-line www.rosehallrun.com

$29.95

Power Boating Canada Magazine. Best of Ontario. Rosehill Run Vineyards.

Power Boating Canada, Rosehill Run, Page 1

Power Boating Canada, Rosehill Run, Page 1

Arabella Magazine

The Wine Ladies talk Champagne, bubbly, art and passion! Arabella Magazine The Wine Ladies radio.

There’s nothing like artistic expression to excite the senses. Arabella Magazine , the stunning Canadian art,architecture, design and lifestyle magazine is celebrating its first year anniversary. Arabella is simply a feast! A feast for the eyes, the taste buds, the creative side in you! a total feast for all the senses Its’ a stunning portrayal of the simple AND extravagant. This is a coffee table magazine to hold onto, to enjoy time and time again.

We are regular contributors to Arabella Magazine. For the Summer 2009 edition we thought what better way to celebrate a special occasion than with some bubbly! Champagne and all the assorted permutations of this simply fabulous wine. So we wrote an article, entitled “Bubbles and Bites”, from Champagne to incredibly reasonable sparkling wines. We hope we’ve made a compelling case for the bubbly, the one that sparkles, that enchants, that knows, no boundaries. From a toast, Cheers, Salute or Prost, to an appetizer, through to dessert, you can take this special fizz anywhere, anytime!

Arabella Magazine featuring The Wie Ladies article Bubbles & Bites. Summer 2009

Arabella Magazine featuring The Wie Ladies article Bubbles & Bites. Summer 2009

Bubbles & Bites article by The Wine Ladies

We invited in studio with us, Founder and Editor in Chief, Debra Usher, as well as Publisher Brian Usher. Also joining us, on the heels of the RBC Canadian Open, last week, in our home town of Oakville, many of us may still have GOLF on the brain, particularly Georgia! Shonah Chalmers, Executive Chef for Eagles Nest Golf Club,  the ultra luxury club for the NON-member and Guido Ramirez was with us too, from the Bellvue Manor, an extraordinary venue to entertain, host an event and feel like a princess!or like a prince! royalty.

One of the extraordinary pairing we discovered was the lavender infused truffles brought in by Executive Chef Shonah Chalmers and the Jackson Triggs Methode Classique sparkling wine. Simply magnificent!

Jackson-Triggs Methode Classique

Jackson-Triggs Methode Classique

Caption: Lavender infused truffles and Jackson-Triggs Methode Classique

Arabella, is the common thread here, with our article on Champagne and sparkling wine.  The feature on Eagles Nest and the introduction to Bellvue Manor. We are celebrating beauty, the good life and possibly a great golf game, or at least an incredible 19th hole!!! Listen to a snippet of the radio interview here.

Deb Usher of the stunning architectural and lifestyle magazine Arabella

March 28th,2009
Set that dial to CP 24 Radio 1050 every Saturday morning at 10a.m. to connect with The Wine Ladies radio show.
Founder and Editor in Chief Deb Usher of the stunning architectural and lifestyle magazine Arabella will be our guest this Saturday. Join us as we are lead into a world of beauty, art, fine wine and food accompanied by the likes of award winning Chef Ricardo Roque of Magna Golf Club and the historic wine producing house of Antinori in Tuscany. Indulge all your senses, this Saturday!

Arabella magazine Inaugural Fall/Winter issue: Enjoying the Wine Lifestyle with The Wine Ladies!

Champagne, Prosecco, Sekt, Cava and Sparkling wine.

You can take this special sparkling fizz anywhere, anytime! Cheers, Salute or Prost! Bubbles & Bites as read in Arabella Magazine.

Georgia and Susanne with sabres and blue outfits.

Never one to sit on our laurels, we are now armed with saber and flutes, on our current crusade to bring Champagne and Sparkling wines to the people!

We hope you’ve been enjoying the multitude of wonderfully delicious and diverse alternative white wines we chatted about last issue.

As you may recall we were champions for the ABC Club. Where we introduced our top ten alternative white wine choices outside the dominant domain of the almighty chardonnay. Hence the “Anything but Chardonnay” Club.

Never one to sit on our laurels, we are now armed with saber and flutes, on our current crusade to bring Champagne and Sparkling wines to the people!

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. And yes, fabulous for festivities but also perfect for partnering with an array of foods due to its vibrant acidity. That acidity can act as a turbo charger for flavour in a recipe too, so say our award winning Chefs who have created sumptuous recipes just for us, using sparkling wine as a key ingredient. We’ll begin our journey by exploring a variety of ways of saying “bubbly” from Champagne to Cava, to Prosecco and Sekt.

Champagne Tattinger

Champagne Tattinger

First stop, we’ll linger here a while, the most famous wine in the word, synonymous with glamour, celebration and decadence, Champagne.

The name alone elicits images of excitement, of joy, of success, romance, and beautiful people! amazing the power of a 9-letter word!

Speaking of which, a few perfunctory words on Champagne, if you will. Champagne is 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 Classic Method, or Methode Champenoise.

What makes Champagne so special? It’s the combination of the soils, the terroir and 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 the advantage too of experience and skill, with over three centuries, practice makes perfect!

Champagne comes to us in many styles, from the Blanc de Blanc, made exclusively with Chardonnay, the Blanc de Noirs, you got it, red grapes only, and rose champagnes too. Pink or rose 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, typically 3 or 4 only in a decade, and Prestige Cuvees representing a champagne house’s best, are also out there; the possibilities are endless.

When it comes to a toast, Champagne obviously rules as the beverage of choice, but what about as an aperitif, or as a partner to accompany you throughout your meal from appetizers to dessert? And at snack time, there’s nothing better than Champagne with potato chips! Perhaps an NV Brut would be nice?

With all the different styles of champagne, there’s a bottle of bubbly to suit every occasion, every dish and everyone’s palate! For a few Champagne and food pairing tips, read on!

Champagne and oysters: well known to be a match made in heaven. Opt for a delicate young Brut Champagne. The acidity acts like a squeeze of lemon, while the crisp bubbles counter the fatty slippery texture of the oyster.

Blanc de Blanc Champagnes are elegant and tangy, they go well with lighter style foods beautiful, with goat cheese and sushi.

Blanc de Noirs Champagnes have the complexity of red wines and are well suited to lighter meat dishes such as veal, partridge or pigeon.

Brut Champagnes, crisp and dry with good acidity cut through the fat of fried foods!did we mention potato chips? Oh yes, we did, obviously a weakness of ours.

Serve the sweeter Champagnes with fresh fruit, berries and other desserts that are not too sweet.

Is this a dry style Champagne or sweet? If it says Brut on the label the wine is totally dry. Other styles from least to most sweet, are; extra dry, sec (dry), demi-sec (off-dry) and doux (sweet)

The question beckons, is there any time a Champagne just won’t do? Here’s what Madame Lilly Bollinger of Bollinger Champagne, and James Bond movie fame, said when asked her opinion “I drink it when I am sad. Sometimes I drink it when I am alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it when I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it unless I’m thirsty”. Well said, Madame, The Wine Ladies couldn’t agree more!

Moving on, although Champagne is dear to our hearts, other sparkling options await us, wonderfully delightful and unique with new flavours and styles to embrace.

Spain is our next stop with its incredibly valued sparkling wine, they call Cava.

Easy on the pocketbook, and easy to enjoy any time any where, these bubblies will please your palate by their lonesome, in a cocktail or with a variety of dishes. Finding great Cava under $20.00 is not unusual.

Cavas are made in the classic method, and just as in Champagne are restricted to certain grape varieties. They too must come from a list of designated municipalities including Catalonia. This is 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. Keeping the costs way down. This coupled with high-yielding grapes provides a winning price/quality ratio for Cava. The proof clearly being in the bottle.

A Reserva Cava with a pronounced yeasty, toasty character or a Cava Rosado, a rose with attractive red fruit such as cherries and blackberries are wonderful introductions to the world of Spanish sparkling.

Cava at Codorniu Cellars in Spain

Cava at Codorniu Cellars in Spain

Prosecco, a spirited sparkling wine, and a white grape variety native to the Veneto region in north east Italy.

The home to Verona, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julliet. For the jet set, also the base for the famous Bellini cocktail.

This fashionable sparkling wine from Veneto is steadily gaining in popularity. Showing off its allure of freshness and simplicity, clean and lean. No yeasty, buiscuity quality here, as with Champagne. Expect mineral notes, lemony, apples and pear, soft and inviting. The bubbles are a little less tight, having been fermented in a tank. Most often, as opposed to the bottle, but that’s ok, for this uncomplicated well priced sparkling, Prosecco delivers well. Partnering Prosecco with a variety of appetizers is no difficult task either, with their fruit and crisp acids, plus the lively bubbles handling salty or fatty dishes is no problemo!

Foss Marai Extra Dry Prosecco

Foss Marai Extra Dry Prosecco

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

We salute the wine lovers of Germany. They appreciate the joy and diversity of sparkling wines being among the highest consumers/capita in the world.

There are several quality levels of Sekt available for our enjoyment. We would encourage you to seek out those sparklers labeled either Deutscher Sekt or Sekt bA. 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. (b.A. means from a specific region) these sparkling wines are the pick of the crop! Sort of to speak. Finally, “the piece de resistance”, we said there were several levels, when it comes to Sekt is finding a b.A. This includes a vineyard site, the name of the grape varietal, and/or a vintage. These are the superior sparklers, having undergone strict quality control. Our absolute favorite has got to be, unequivocally, those Sekt which are made with the noble grape variety, the aromatic and racy, Riesling. With its pronounced acidity, these wines are ready and able to do table duty at any time and any place.

 Kessler Sekt - Germany's oldest sparkling wine producer

Kessler Sekt – Germany’s oldest sparkling wine producer

I hope we’ve made a compelling case for the bubbly, the one that sparkles, that enchants, that knows, no boundaries. From a toast, Cheers, Salute or Prost, to an appetizer, through to dessert, you can take this special fizz anywhere, anytime!. and you can take that straight to the bank! Speaking of banks, there’s no need to break that either, thanks to the multitude of superb value sparkling wines just waiting to be popped! Explore, experience and enjoy! Did we mention, that a silent hush, rather than a thunderous popping cork is the preferred way of opening Champagne?

Cheers everyone, and please do email us with any sparkling wine favorites, recipes or stories, we’ love to hear from you! We’re twittering too, we’re on facebook and we’re scouting for fans! Have a superb summer, we’ll be back in the fall.

Arabella Magazine featuring The Wie Ladies article Bubbles & Bites. Summer 2009

Arabella Magazine featuring The Wine Ladies article Bubbles & Bites. Summer 2009

The Wine Ladies talk Champagne, bubbly, art and passion! Arabella Magazine The Wine Ladies radio.

Arabella magazine Inaugural Fall/Winter issue: Enjoying the Wine Lifestyle with The Wine Ladies!

In Georgia's wine cellar.Feature on The Wine Ladies in Arabella Magazine.

In Georgia’s wine cellar.Feature in The Wine Ladies in Arabella Magazine, Spring 2009

When the Founder and Editor in Chief Deb Usher of the brand new magazine ARABELLA asked us if we would like to have a feature in the inaugural issue, we were thrilled. We knew that this would be a terrific opportunity to get our message out to the wine loving community everywhere. What better way then to open up our homes and our hearts and showcase our “Enjoying the Wine Lifestyle” approach to wine, food and all the wonderful things life has to offer.

Arabella Magazine Cover Spring 2009

Arabella Magazine Cover Spring 2009

ARABELLA magazine intention is to bring the readers special moments of exquisite beauty, dazzling Colours, breathtaking pictures and brilliant editorial- all designed to make you think and look at the world in a new way and to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. It focuses in on all the good things life has to offer; Food, wine and living well, Canadian Art, Architecture and Design, Exceptional Home Furnishings and Decor, Furniture and Spectacular Landscaping and Gardening.

Our article appeared in fall/winter 2008 issue and showcased our wine cellar, our approach to wine and a peak at our individual personalities and lifestyles. We are happy to share this with you our wine lovers, readers and friends.

We are also thrilled to announce that we are now contributing editors to this incredible magazine and you can watch for our article in the spring 2009 issue; White wine and Fine Dining

Read more about ARABELLA magazine subscription details at their website.

Deb Usher of the stunning architectural and lifestyle magazine Arabella

March 28th,2009
Set that dial to CP 24 Radio 1050 every Saturday morning at 10a.m. to connect with The Wine Ladies radio show.
Founder and Editor in Chief Deb Usher of the stunning architectural and lifestyle magazine Arabella will be our guest this Saturday. Join us as we are lead into a world of beauty, art, fine wine and food accompanied by the likes of award winning Chef Ricardo Roque of Magna Golf Club and the historic wine producing house of Antinori in Tuscany. Indulge all your senses, this Saturday!