Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bubbles And Ice Make A "Sparkling" Holiday

More wineries around the world are getting more creative, not only with their packaging of fermented spirits but also with what is in the bottle. This season I have been introduced to a number of new sparkling wines that make the perfect base for a bubbly cocktail.

French winery J.P. Chenet, has released a new Ice Edition ($38), packaged in an elegant white bottle, but suggested to be served over ice. Yes ice.

For wine lovers who like theirs on the sweeter side, this is perfect. I brought a bottle to a holiday party where it was well received and there happened to be a a pitcher of  pink lemonade on the counter. The combination made for an enjoyable spritzer. The wine on it's own was sweet, with a bit of almond on the finish.

A new bubbly from Italy, also marketed for serving over ice, is the "iL" Spr!tz from Mionetto ($12). This sparkling wine is mixed with blood orange and spice before bottled. The spice is prevalent and so is the fruit, citrus with a hint of pomegranate.

A traditional Venetian cocktail now bottled and sold in the US, also try it with a splash of vodka. I opened this one at another party where once again it was well received; both on its own as well as over ice with a slice of orange.

The crown cap on iL Spr!tz is convenient while the wine is promoted as being lower in calories than many holiday cocktails at less than 100 per four ounce serving.

Recently introduced to the Florida market and new from Chandon, is a delightful cuvee that means delicious in French; Delice ($22).

This semi-sweet California sparkler is easy to drink on it's own, but still billed as delicious over ice. This is the more dry of the three and in a cocktail, try it with grapefruit or cucumber for a fresh and refreshing blend.

When it comes to sparkling wines and Champagnes, I'm first and foremost a fan of the dry ones. The bubbles with a taste of so-called 'biscuit' and nuts, I could drink all day everyday.

But I LOVE BUBBLES, something about watching them travel up a glass is mesmerizing. AND these sweeter ones are great for adding an effervescent kick to a cocktail, a nice accompaniment to a salty dish or a tasty treat for dessert. Bottom line, you can't go wrong with anything that sparkles during the holidays.

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