Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Minute Bubblies Under $20 and Opening That Bottle

I got up early Saturday to make a last-minute appearance on KNSD 7/39's morning show to talk about under-$20 sparkling wines that make great alternatives to champagne.

Here are the four wines I shared:
Blason de Bourgogne Cremant de Bourgogne Cuvee Brut- Sparkling wine from Burgundy France, it’s light and clean with a balance of crisp citrus notes and golden apples. I couldn't find any background on the Brut Cremant, but Blason de Bourgogne is a joint venture by four well regarded producers in Burgundy intent on crafting fine affordable wines. If you can, grab a bottle of the rose!
$8 at Trader Joe’s

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad – Cava is a sparkling wine made in Spain using the same methods as in champagne. Smooth, elegant and buttery, it goes down very easily. Plus it comes in a stunning pewter embellished bottle. If you thought you didn’t like cava, this is the one to try.
$14 at Trader Joe’s

Piper Sonoma Brut – Made in Sonoma by a French champagne house Piper Heidsieck, this wine is bold with toasty, mushroom flavors and aromas tempered by creaminess and rich fruit.
About $12 at BevMo or Trader Joe’s

Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui- Lush, tart-sweet wine with raspberry, rose and cranberry flavors and aromas that make it quite unforgettable.
About $17 at BevMo

We also talked about the right way to open a bottle of champagne, a task that I've noticed makes some grown women cringe. Some guys on the other hand, seem to think it's fun to shake the bottle and see how far they can shoot the cork and the bubbly inside. But since a bottle contains the same amount of pressure as a truck tire, corks can and do cause injuries.

Here's how to ring in the new year without needing an eye patch.
1. Get the bottle cold; 20-30 minutes in ice water or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

2. Remove the foil and loosen the wire cage.

3. Place a cloth napkin or towel and the palm of your hand firmly over the cork.
4. Point the bottle at the ceiling, hold the cork and twist the bottle to open.
You should hear a slight sigh, not an explosion.

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