Monday, May 26, 2014

Bubbles for Spring

By Liza B. Zimmerman

Summer is almost upon us. That is good reason to celebrate and bubbles—and rosé sparkling or still—for me are always the perfect way to fête its arrival. While I love Champagne, there are plenty of great values out there that hail from other parts of the globe.

I always have had a soft spot for Prosecco, Lambrusco and Franciacorta: potentially the Lini is one of the best Lambrusco producers out there and was in great part responsible for helping consumers on the U.S. market understand just how great and balanced this wine can be. Sparkling Shiraz from Australia didn’t always put its best foot forward, as many of the first brands on the U.S. market were cloyingly sweet. However there’s hope for the category and great Italian producers are putting Italian red sparklers on the road to being hip, refreshing and great choices with meals once again.
grand dame of Italian sparkling wine.

Emilia-Romagna in central Italy is beloved for its rich foods: meat-filled tortellini and fantastic prosciutto but it hardly gets the respect it deserves wine wise. The beauty of these wines is that they have a fat and rich flavor profile that can stand up to hearty food, much more than many other bubbles.
Pink for the Summer

The other super food friendly and crowd-pleasing sparkler is generally rosé that can be made in any region. I love rosés made from unusual grapes: Marzemino is a case in point. I am a huge devote of the well-balanced wines made in this Northeastern Italian region. I also love big, juicy rosés, such as many of the Grenache-based ones from Navarra, Spain. There are a handful of amazing rosés made from Nebbiolo—the great grape in play with Barolo and Barbaresco—from Piedmonte as well, but they are hard to find.

In terms of French rosés I have always loved some of the bigger, more fruit-forward styles from Bordeaux and the Rhône. They may pack more of a punch in terms of alcohol levels, but they work so well with food. The Loire Valley also makes beautiful rosés, many from Cabernet Franc.

California producers, such as Bonny Doon, are also making some stellar wines. Some are focused on Rhône varietals, others Italian grapes and a handful are made from Pinot Noir.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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