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Unique Champagne Food Pairings

05wine3-1415038061459-jumboAs they say – sometimes you need to take chances…

 

Oysters & Champagne, Caviar & Champagne  are some of the classics but booooring since we are now drinking more Champagne and not always have access to Oysters or Caviar!

Classic Champagne food pairings are great for starters, but what happens after you’ve we finished the same old tired combinations? It’s time to get unique and try some Champagne food pairings that can be enjoyed even when you are not wearing a tuxedo. Besides Champagne, there are a lot of great sparkling wine pairings listed below such as Cava, Prosecco, Franciacorta and American bubbly.

Fried Mushrooms

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It’s a little known secret that fried food and Champagne are best friends. Go for a Blanc de Noirs (a white sparkling wine made with dark grapes like pinot noir) with fried mushrooms. The earthiness in the mushrooms is complimented by the more rich fruity/earthy notes that you’ll find common in a Blanc de Noir. An affordable American Blanc de Noirs such Gloria Ferrer

Mac & Cheese

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One of the greatest favorite Champagne pairing  is homemade macaroni and cheese. There are a few important ingredients here for the perfect pairing; the right cheese, the right Champagne, and the right toppings. Don’t get carried away with a sharp cheese. Consider a softer creamery cheese with flavor such as smoked gouda. The Champagne needs to be acidic enough to cut through the cheese without being so strong as to ‘turn’ the cheese. Toppings can be used to fine tune the dish, from pancetta, to truffles, to toasted breadcrumbs. For example, if you were using the smoked gouda, toasted breadcrumbs would be a nice topping to add some crunch and dilute the cheese. Also, when making your mac & cheese use butter, a little cream and american cheese as a base and the flavoring cheese in moderation.

Butternut Squash Ravioli w/Brown Butter Sageunknown

This is a rich but delicate dish…both sweet and earthy as a result of the use of sage and roasted butternut squash. Because it is a slightly sweet dish, it’s important to find a bubbly with inherent sweetness. This classic Italian ravioli dish does wonderfully with Italy’s premiere sparkling wine called Franciacorta. Franciacorta is from Lombardy and actually uses many of the same grape varieties as proper Champagne such as chardonnay, pinot nero (noir) and pinot bianco (blanc). When made with added pinot nero, Franciacorta takes on fruity strawberry notes and a richness of flavor. Franciacorta still hasn’t exploded in the marketplace as much as Champagne so you’re likely to find excellent value from this region. The flavors tend to have slightly less acidity and more fruitiness than most Champagnes and the same toasty-almond character occurs with aging.

BBQ Chicken Sandwich

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Mmmmm…BBQ and Cava. Use a smoky BBQ sauce and avoid having sauce with too much spice. Pick a sparkling wine that isn’t too subtle so that the BBQ doesn’t overwhelm the delicate flavors. Think of a slightly spicy, tangy, smoky sauce on your chicken (or tofu if you’re a vegetarian!). Consider adding caramelized onions and just a few gorgonzola crumbles. Pair this sandwich with a bottle of Cava or Prosecco. Although most value cavas don’t have the delicate complexity of a Champagne, they work perfectly to balance the intensity of something simple like BBQ. chicken over pork or beef as the flavor of chicken is lighter than pork and beef, lending it to a better pairing with bubbles.

Vegetarian Red Bean Chili

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This is one of the first non-traditional Champagne food pairings  but  experiment with based on a recommendation.  The champagne  made my cheapo chili taste like god food(what does that mean? I don’t know but it sounds right). It’s the moment where you have your cheddar-cheesy chili bite in your mouth and then you wash your mouth out with it. Cava and red bean chili is a thing. Tell your friends.

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LABOR DAY – WHAT WINE TO SERVE WITH YOUR BBQ

Labor Day with our family sometimes begins local craft brews; such as not your NOT YOUR FATHERS ROOT BEER and you most defiantly can’t go wrong with good, cold beer in a tub of ice. My husband like me, are committed to being wine fans. Choosing the right wines isn’t as easy as you might think.  Often times, he would say it’s totally about the meat, the technique, and the sauce! I happen to agree

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There are many flavors you’ll come across while barbecuing: umami, smoky, salty char, and sometimes sweetness and savory. They’ll vary by which area you are eating the BBQ like in Texas barbecue, beef rules, either brisket or ribs, and is often served with a sweet, hot tomato-based sauce. The flavor is deeply smoky, the meat rich. On the other hand Southern-style like North Carolina pork barbecue, hang on on vinegar-based sauces and lighter spice rubs.

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So for a stern wine-and-barbecue conversation, big, heavy, high-alcohol reds seem heavy with rich meat goes great with chilled rosé.

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What you want for all types of barbecues are wines that rub the smoke and sauce off your tongue so you can take another fresh bite.  So with dense, ingratiating brisket needs the difference and refreshment of acidity and bright fruitiness. We are great drinkers of Super Tuscan wine barbecue pairing. These big, heavy, high-alcohol reds seem ponderous with rich meat. We feel biased just thinking about the combo. Here are some tips on what to try instead:

  • Rosé (“the beer of the wine world”) with barbecue.  Me, too—and the fruitier the better, to hold its own with smoked meat.
  • Syrah or some people call it Shiraz with your spicy chicken wings
  • White wine with barbecue only if it’s grilled shrimp or chicken with citrus-y rubs can be delicious with tart, floral-scented vinho verde, we’d rather drink bubbly or a chilled rosé.
  • Reds – Save big, bold, tannic, high-dollar reds, such as cabernet, for char-grilled steaks. The quick cooking doesn’t break down the meat’s fat the way hours in a barbecue pit do, but the wine’s tannin will do the trick.
  • Forget oaky wines. The meat is already smoky enough, and a spicy sauce will make the wine’s oak character stand out even more.
  • Keep your choices simple. Grilled foods and barbecue have so many intense flavors that wine nuances will be lost.
  • Pulled pork and succulent ribs go very well with lively pinot noir and with other high acid, lighter reds or rosés that can be chilled.

Rosé: The Best Summertime Wine

Now that summer is well and truly upon us, (and in fact, has been for some time,) we at Mel & Rose thought it appropriate to take the time to talk about that oft-ignored member of the wine family: the Rosé.  In that liminal space between red and white, the pink wine is rarely mentioned when discussing wine.  (After all, when was the last time you went to a restaurant and saw a “Rosé” section on their wine list?)  But, to discount this entire category of wine is to miss out on some of the most enjoyable libations that wineries have to offer, and it is the perfect accompaniment to a backyard barbeque, a pool party, an evening on the porch: basically, anything that has to do with a hot summer’s day.

A little background on rosé wine.  Like red wine, it is made from red grapes, but receives much less color from the grapes during its making.  It can be made using three separate processes: skin contact, saignée, and blending.

The skin contact method is the most common, and is the closest to the way red wine is made.  After the grapes are picked, they are crushed to extract the juices, skins left on.  Then, the skins and juice are left to soak together for a short time, usually around a couple of days, in a process called maceration.  The pigments and tannins in the skin impart some color to the juice, but not nearly the amount that a red wine would receive.  (A red wine would have the skins soak with the juice for weeks or even months before fermentation.)  After the short soak, the process is the same for most other wines.  Like white wine, the lack of extended maceration means that the wine is less oxidized and has less potential for aging.  Rosés should be drank soon after they are made and ought to be enjoyed right now.

The other process is the saignée method.  When making a red wine, the winemaker may wish to create a richer, deeper color and flavor than a normal maceration would allow.  So, he will “bleed” off a portion of the juice from the must (the mixture of juice, stems, skins, and leaves created after the grapes are crushed) to intensify the remaining juice.  This pink juice can then be used to make a rose.  While amazing rosés can be made with this method, it is traditionally considered to be inferior to the skin contact method, in that the rosé made is created from the “leftovers” of the “primary” red wine.

Finally, the blending method is exactly what it sounds like: a red and white wine are blended together to create a “pink.”  This method is very rarely used and is in fact illegal in the prominent rosé-producing regions of France.

Though you might not think it, rosé is most likely the oldest style of winemaking.  The ability to cleanly skin grapes (in order to make white wine) and to concentrate the must sufficiently (in order to make red wine) takes a lot of technical know-how that the earliest winemakers simply didn’t have.  They mostly likely were only able to crush the grapes by hand is barrels and then shortly after made wine out of the juice, which is essentially an early version of the skin contact method.  As winemaking progressed, rosé has always been present.  France, that great winemaking country, has been making rosés for hundreds of years in virtually all its winegrowing regions.  Provence, in the south of France, currently holds the reputation for the greatest roses in the world, but Rhone and Champagne are also known to make fantastic roses.  Italy makes rosé versions of many of their wines, including their Proseccos, while the Spanish make “Rosado” wines, some of which are made by a process called “dolbe pasta” (double paste), which is basically a reverse saignée method.  (The rosé is made by the skin contact method, and then the dry remains of the must is added to a macerating red wine must to concentrate the red wine.)

Rosés are made in the New World as well, though their reputation has been marred in the wine community by something called a White Zinfandel.  Also often called a “blush” wine, a White Zinfandel is a much sweeter version of a rosé made by a different process called a struck fermentation.  Often when making wine, a struck fermentation mean disaster.  After the juice has been drained from the must, it is mixed with yeast, which digest the sugars in the juice into alcohol.  The yeast, though, requires a very particular concentration of alcohol and sugars in order to thrive.  If the concentration is off, the yeast can die before they transform all the sugars into alcohol, leaving the remaining wine much sweeter than usual.  In 1972, a Californian winemaker named Bob Trinchero managed to salvage a struck fermentation of Zinfandel, which had resulted in a sweet, pick colored wine.  He marketed this as a new style of wine, dubbed “blush” by wine writers of the time, and reaped the benefits of its remarkable success in the 1980s.  Unfortunately, most wine connoisseurs did not enjoy this very sweet wine, and the reputation of rosé was swept along with it.  Now though, and in fact, throughout its wine making history, New World rosés of all styles, from bone dry to dessert sweet, can be found and enjoyed, whatever your taste.

Now, for some actual recommendations.  Although we have rosés of most every style and origin available, we have a particular fondness for those from Provence.  Of the rosés of Provence, our favorites would have to be from the Chateau d’Esclans Winery.  They have a range of four wines, starting with the entry-level Whispering Angel, followed by the mid-range Rock Angel and Clans, and ending with the luxurious Garrus bottling.

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But, our favorite, both for its flavor and its value, is the mid-range Rock Angel.  Their newest bottle, Chateau d’Esclans wishes for this to be their flagship offering, and it is certainly worth that title.  A bright and crisp wine, with soft red-fruit notes on the nose and front of the palate, it matures nicely to a dry, refined finish that leaves one exceedingly refreshed.IMG_1067

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If you are looking for something a little sweeter, Provence has another fantastic offering with Domaine Ott.  Their Chateau De Salle rosé is a pale pink color with gold highlights, that starts fruit forward, with notes of peach and lemon, before giving way to warm red fruits and soft vanilla notes, all wrapped up in the sublime terroir that only Provence is capable of.IMG_1062

So, now, as summer is winding down, if you ever are looking for something to drink that is cool and refreshing, while bright and flavorful, don’t forget about Mel & Rose and that dark horse of wines, rosé.  We promise it won’t disappoint.

Veuve Cliquot Rose Megaphone: A Party in One Gift

It’s not every day a champagne can elicit audible cries of “Wow!” without even being opened.  But this not every day.  Today, we have the Veuve Cliquot Rose Megafone.  Not only is it a truly memorable gift containing one of the best non-vintage champagnes available, it is also one of the most interesting pieces of engineering ever made related to a bottle.Veuve-Clicquot-Rose-Scream-Your-Love-2

On first glance, the gift case brings cheer-leading and old movies to mind: shaped like an old-fashioned megaphone, it is a striking image that conjures a sense of classic fun.  Unscrew the base, and the megaphone shell lifts up to reveal a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Rose Champagne.  A blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Veuve Cliquot’s own reserve wines make up a delicious rose champagne, with bright fruit notes front and center, but a carefully balanced acidity and lingering finish to keep you entertained glass after glass.

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But wait!  We’re not done yet.  We’ve only cracked the surface of the Megaphone.  Picking up the shell again, we can take off the cap at the top, and voila!  It is now a fully functional megaphone, perfect for when you want to play director at your next party.  And that’s still not all, because, when you’re finally ready to pop that champagne, simply screw the top end of the megaphone into the base, inverting it from its original orientation, and now, it’s an ice bucket.

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Three fantastic uses from just the case: an eye-catching gift, a party-starting megaphone, and a practical ice bucket, not to mention the champagne inside the whole thing.  A better gift, I couldn’t imagine.

Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Edition Première

PJ_BelleEpoqueRose_VikMuniz1 PJ_BelleEpoqueRose_VikMuniz2Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2005 Limited Edition by Vik Muniz

 Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé 2005 is an exclusive Vintage wine, dedicated to an exclusive limited-edition designed by internationally acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.

Vik Muniz conceived a fairy-tale encounter of a brilliant golden hummingbird with the Perrier-Jouët anemone that has graced every Belle Epoque bottle for over a century.

Originally created from scraps of gold, the enchanting scene was photographed and applied by the artist to the Belle Epoque bottle via a gold plate on which the hummingbird seemingly flies towards the foreground anemones. Clear glass allows the wine’s salmon shade to offset Muniz’s delicately sensual depiction.

COMPOSITION

Perrier-Jouët’s Cellar Master Hervé Deschamps chose the 2005 Vintage of the Belle Epoque Rosé for this limited-edition cuvee. Described by the craftsman himself as “the most extravagant wine of the Belle Epoque Collection”, this unique vintage is a generous, and voluptuous champagne whose complexity points to a vintage of contrasts crowned by a spectacular Indian summer. Grand Cru Chardonnay (50%), Perrier-Jouët’s grape of choice, is predominant in the blend while the cuvée owes its richness and pure, salmon-pink hue to the Pinot Noir (45%) variety. Pinot Meunier (5%) provides the rounded finishing touch. After nine years ageing in the house’s cellars, the result is a perfect balance between the year’s character and Perrier-Jouët’s floral, elegant house style.

TASTING NOTES

Appearance: Bright, pure salmon pink due to the addition of red Pinot Noir wines from Vertus and Vinzelles.

Nose: Complex yet elegant, fruity aromas of strawberries, citrus fruit, sour cherry and orange with cream and spice hints.

Palate: Generous and voluptuous. The attack is fresh, awakening the senses with notes of candied orange, white peach and cocoa, leading to a rich, rounded finish.

FOOD PAIRING

This sensual cuvée can be served between 10° and 12°C, either as an aperitif or with food. It matches beautifully with flavors ranging Lobster and langoustines to Magret duck, milk-fed lamb or game. Alternatively with dessert, the complex aromas and flavors work beautifully with sweet red fruit flavors.

THE PERFECT GIFT

Released in time for the festive season, the cuvée Belle Epoque Rosé Limited Edition by Vik Muniz provides the perfect match for special year-end celebrations. A luxury presentation case sets the seal on the ultimate gift for lovers of craftsmanship and artistry, and with just only limited quantities available per country, exclusivity is guaranteed. PJ_family2_305x335

What’s in your glass has to do with economics?

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 How does your finance change your taste in wine & spirits? or even better question is What do wine & spirits have to do with finance?

Well- One of the major family’s operating our beverage world know as the Rothchilds turn out at least one kind of alcohol in a bit of an economic bellwether.

Shawn Banayan, the CEO of Mel and Rose, says champagne purchases has and will change with economic high and lows. Champagne is not just one of the trends in this summer heat but rosé wines are catching on as well. Our clients have gotten more interested in Provençale rosés which are lighter in style, more flexible with food.

Another major trends are in tequila. We are not talking about the traditional brands such as Jose Cuervo or Don Julio that you do shots of, but the high end sipping tequila retailing for $250-500 a bottle such as Casa Dragones & Gran Patron Burdeos. Ofcourse there are high end single malt, bourbon & vodka that are hand crafted with a nice price tag.

If you are trying to find out what has brought this trend of higher end taste, it’s because we are more foodies and like to know where and how the product is made. This global trend is moving accorss the country like a storm.

Now you can enjoy your next hot summer drink!

 

 

 

Rose Wines for a hot summer day

A perfect summer time sampler

A perfect summer time sampler

SUMMERTIME SAMPLER
The perfect sampler for summertime, wherever you relax on the weekend. We’ve put together our favorite roses from the south of France. The 12-bottle sampler consists of two bottles of each of the following six fabulous roses. A great gift for those weekend parties!

•Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose 2012

•Domaines Ott Chateau de Selle Cotes Du Provence Claire de Noirs Rose 2011

•Minuty Cotes Du Provence Rose 2011

•Domaines Ott Les Domainers Cotes De Provence Rose 2011

•Listel Tete de Cuvee Grain de Gris Rose 2011

•Laurent Miquel Cinsault-Syrah Rose 2011