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Dec 31

Inexpensive Bubbly

Right. I should be cleaning the house right about now. But a friend asked me for some inexpensive bubbly (sparkling wine, champagne, etc) recommendations via Twitter. I thought I’d post our favorite "cheap champagne" right here for all the world to see.

Our favorite inexpensive bubbly to buy in bulk is Barefoot Bubbly. It’s sparkling wine out of California that comes in two different varieties. For around $6/bottle, it’s a good deal.

Cava_3
On the little more expensive front, we love our Spanish cavas. Segura Viudas Cava, from Spain, comes in around $19.99/bottle. But you can impress your friends – the bottle is beautiful (see the image to the left), and it looks much more expensive than it is. It’s a dry cava, and thoroughly enjoyable. As usual with Spain, you’re getting a deal for the price point.

Champagne
For around $15/bottle, we highly recommend Saint-Meyland Brut (image to the right). This sparkler is from France, but isn’t "champagne." It’s made in the traditional method, but it’s just not quite located in the Champagne region of France, and well, it can’t take the name. But it’s that nice dry taste with plenty of tiny bubbles. I can’t wait to pop this one open tonight. This wine is a real value and your friends might be impressed you showed up with such a tasty morsel from France. Depends on your friends I suppose.

We don’t have any in the house at the moment, but never discount Asti or Prosecco. Mondoro d’Asti is one of Kevin’s favorites, and I recently finished a rather yummy (and strawberry-ish) rosé Prosecco. Both are usually found for $20 or less and are just a little bit different, but still delivering the bubbles.

If you are just a red wine drinker at heart, you might want to try some Sparkling Shiraz. We’re not fans. We recently had the Mollydooker Goosebumps, which runs around $40-$50/bottle, and didn’t think it was worth the cost. You can find some lower priced versions, also out of Australia, that you might want to give a try.

If you’re going for the real stuff, it needs to come from the Champagne area of France and be created in the traditional method, including bottle fermentation. A lot of true Champagne has a fresh-baked bread nose and attack, do be prepared for that. It doesn’t mean your Champagne is bad. If you’re going for the real stuff, ask your wine store for a small grower. I find that these small growers create excellent, almost edgy Champagne for a smaller price point than the big houses like Taittinger and Dom Perignon. Check out our review of some "real" Champagne here.

If you want to stay state-side, you can still have sparkling wine created in the traditional method. In other words, it’s Champagne in all but region. Try Schramsburg, Domaine Carneros, and Gloria Ferrer, out of Napa and Sonoma respectively.

Most of all, stay safe on this night of celebrations. We’re ringing in an arbitrary calendar event, but here’s hoping it’s the start to an excellent 2008!

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 11:21 am in Wine Notes | Permalink | Comments ()
Dec 30

Dinner by the Bite

We’re having a New Year’s Eve party. The point of this is to welcome in 2008 in our own way, big, since 2007 was fairly horrible for us. Instead of a sit-down dinner party, we’re having "Dinner by the Bite." (Think tapas.)

We’re asking friends to bring bubbly, appetizers, or both, or none. It’s all good.

Here’s the menu of what we’re providing, outside of a whole lot of wine and spirits:

Swedish pancakes stuffed with pears and havarti cheese
Herbed goat cheese balls
Chicken gouda on rye squares
Mini cheese quiches
Spicy bbq meatballs
Baked mozzarella sticks

Twinkie Tiramisu
Traditional panna cotta with champagne granita (in martini glasses) or just raspberries and honey balsamic sauce – we’ll see on that one
Champagne sorbet with raspberries
Bittersweet chocolate mousse in tea cups
Chocolate truffles
Chocolate dipped pillows

Also, just sitting around will be fudge, a macaroon Christmas tree, churros, chocolate chip cookies, violet sugar cookies, and a candy cane cheeseball.

Right. Kevin is making the real food. I’m making the desserts. Notice that I’m getting carried away with my love of pastry. Of course, I know several appetizers are arriving with guests.

I’ll post photos of all the food that actually works. In the meantime, we’re wishing everyone a fantastic 2008!

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 9:51 am in Entertainment | Permalink | Comments (2)
Dec 29

Wine-Girl In Hard Copy

In Print
The January 2008 issue of Cincinnati Magazine is now on the stands. It’s an issue that focuses on wine. They have a nice sidebar on some local blogs, and I’m mentioned! They also have blurbs on Mark, Mike, and Tim, who happen to be three of my favorites as well. Congrats to all of us! Of course, the magazine is released while I’m on my little blogging vacation. Hope everyone can wait for the new year!

You can also pick up the Winter issue of Taste Cincinnati Magazine. In it, you’ll find an article I wrote on icewine, and an article by my friend Jen on Chestnuts. Enjoy!

Last Minute Dining
On an unrelated note, if you can make it out to One Restaurant in Mason in the next day or so, it’s well worth your money. We went last night and were absolutely thrilled with the service and the food. It’s been a long time since a meal was worth every penny, and the servings were appropriate so that I practically licked my plates clean. One closes for good on Dec 31, so get out there for a special evening ASAP.

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 10:40 am in Cincinnati, Restaurants, Wine Blogs | Permalink | Comments (1)
Dec 28

Pho Paris Going to Chalk

Those de Cavels keep interrupting my blogging time off with interesting press releases. This time, I was surprised to learn that the rather critically acclaimed Pho Paris is becoming a comfort food, affordable restaurant called Chalk Food + Wine, with a focus on the wine. I look forward to the wine dinners and such they’ll be having. It’s worth noting, for me at least, that they re-open on January 15 (the day after my birthday!).

On a similar note, although not related to the de Cavels, One Restaurant and Lounge in Mason is closing. They’ve been hurt because of the construction and "revitalization" of downtown Mason’s Main Street. On the up side, they hope to re-open later in another location. Of course, we heard that about the Maisonette too, if I recall correctly. Anyway, their last night, like that of Pho Paris, is New Year’s Eve.

The full press release for Chalk’s opening (and the closing of Pho Paris) is after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Copyright Creative Commons by-nc-nd My Wine Education.
Posted by Michelle at 5:36 pm in Cincinnati, Dinner and Drinks, Local, Restaurants | Permalink | Comments (5)
Dec 27

Spend a classy New Year’s Eve with Jean-Robert

Really, I’m still on hiatus/vacation until the end of the year. But this came to my email box and I wanted to share. It looks like you can spend New Year’s Eve in a classy way at many of the Jean-Robert properties, including Pho Paris, Pigall’s, Twist, and Jean-Ro Bistro. Make your reservations soon!

Here’s the info:

JEAN-ROBERT AT PIGALL’S
127 W. 4TH St.
Cincinnati
513-721-1345
Time: two seatings, prix-fixe, a 3-course menu at 6pm and 5-course menu at 9pm
Price: $150 pp, 1st seating, $200 pp 2nd seating (inclusive of tax and tip)
Join us for a special gathering! And ring in the New Year with style.

TWIST Lounge at Pigall’s
Time: opens at 4pm
5-8pm piano
DJ as of 8:30pm
Price: $25 cover charge as of 8P
The lounge is featuring a special New Year’s bash with live piano music from 5 until 8pm, followed by DJ Iceberg until 1:30. Sip favorite martini mixer and dance your way into the New Year at TWIST!

JEANRO BISTRO
413 Vine St.
Cincinnati
513-621-1465
Time: 6 p.m and 9 p.m seating
Price: a la carte
Make this New Year’s a boisterous affair at JeanRo Bistro! Open December 31st for a. Chef Chris Burns will feature special holiday dishes along with the daily Bistro menus.

PHO PARIS
318 Greenup St.
Covington
859-643-1234
Time: three seatings one at 5pm, another at 7pm and at 9pm, special five-course tasting menu
Price:  $69, Wine pairings available for $30
Join us at Pho Paris, including a complementary Champagne Toast!,
Champagne Welcome
Amuse Bouche
"Alaskan King Crab + Champagne"
"Peking Duck + Roasted Orange"
"Seabass + Ginger"
"Kobe Beef + Potatoes"
"Pastry by Summer Genetti"

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Posted by Michelle at 9:18 am in Cincinnati, Dinner and Drinks, Wine Events | Permalink | Comments ()

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