Friday, December 16, 2011

All that Sparkles ...


.... is not Champagne (but it can still be a heckuva lot of fun!)

An early trivia fact I learned about champagne is that there are a lot of legal requirements surrounding it as to whether a wine can actually be called champagne or not.  Under  the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne the term "champagne" is reserved exclusively for sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France and made in accordance with their regulations. Only three grapes are allowed by law in champagne; Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Pinot meunier. 

So what about all the other sparkling wines that are produced worldwide?  Many producers use special terms to define them.  In Spain sparkling wine is known as cava.  In Italy spumante is the designation and South Africa uses cap classique. An Italian sparkling wine made from the muscat grape uses the DOCG asti.  Germany, Sekt is a common sparkling wine. Other French wine regions cannot use the name Champagne: e.g., Burgundy and Alsace produce Crémant.  (In 2008, more than 3000 bottles of sparkling wine produced in California, which were labeled with the term "Champagne", were destroyed by Belgian government authorities -- see they are serious about their champagne.)

Currently there are no "proper" champagnes in stock at Off the Vine, however, we are able to special order a nice variety of selections for one's holiday festivities.  Off the Vine does offer a selection of  sparkling wines to please most anyone's guest list. 

Moscato and Prosecco from Candoni - Italy
Piccolo Tessro Moscato - Italy
Zibibbo's Pink Moscato - South Australia
Freixenet Spumante - Spain
and from just down the North Carolina highway - Silk Hope's Spakling Rose' of Chambourcin and
Sparkling Vidal Blanc.

For a brunch menu, pre-mixed Mimosa - Italy.

And just in case your party might have a few spills and stains, here are a few useful tips for cleaning up red wine stains. There are commercial options available online and in stores, but under your sink try mixing equal parts liquid detergent and hydrogen peroxide. Sponge the mixture over the red wine stain. Let stand for a minute. Blot the area until the stain fades. Wash the garment as usual.  Another method to try is salt, yes, salt.  Coat the stain with a generous layer of salt, working the salt gently into the fabric. Let sit for a few hours or overnight. Shake off the salt and launder as usual.  This method is not recommended for dry stains.  Last, but not least, wine. Pour a small amount of white wine over the fresh red wine stain and blot with a clean towel. Launder as usual.

Or one can always just stick with the sparkly bubbly stuff!




Wednesday, November 30, 2011