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You all know I love bubbly, but I’ll let you in on a little secret; Prosecco isn’t always my favorite. But then again, up until recently, I didn’t really know Prosecco. For me, Prosecco always brought to mind a pear-flavored, sort-of-sweet wine.

All of that changed a few weeks ago when I attended a Prosecco Superiore seminar at The Middle Gray in Brookline (which I love, by the way). It was a great afternoon of learning and tasting, and below are some of the highlights.

prosecco tasting

There’s more than one Prosecco. Did you know that? There are actually three designated types of Prosecco, and they are classified based on where the grapes are grown. Prosecco Superiore comes from Conegliano Valdobbiadene, a hilly area in North-East Italy, 50 km from Venice and around 100 from the Dolomites. Here, for over three centuries, people have grown the grapes that produce Prosecco Superiore, whose success began with the founding of Italy’s first School of Winemaking in 1876. The wine is hand-harvested only, due to the extremely steep nature of the hillsides. The vineyards have been so trained and shaped to the contours of the land that the area is being considered being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Prosecco tasting

Below you can see the buckets of grapes being moved from the vineyards. It’s a precarious undertaking! Unfortunately my camera failed me during the event, but there were some gorgeous photos. The region looks absolutely stunning.

Prosecco seminar

Prosecco Superiore can be dry or sweet or anything in between. Prosecco that is called dry is actually the sweetest, and the Brut Prosecco is the least sweet. As I mentioned above, I expect Prosecco to be sweet and was surprised at how most of the ones we tried were not.

We also learned that there are three types of Prosecco when it comes to bubbles; spumante (sparkling), frizzante (fizzy), and tranquilo (still). Still Prosecco, you might ask? Yes! Tranquilo is actually the oldest but least known type of Prosecco.



We tasted the following wines. With so many wines, so much information, and great conversation with the group about food, travel, and wine, I was once again bad at tasting notes. I will let you know that I enjoyed all of the wines we tasted and would absolutely seek out the Brut Proseccos for future enjoying. Prosecco, even at top quality, is a great value and food-friendly, making these wines approachable and appropriate for everyday, not just special occasions!

Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry – $20

Perlage Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry “Col di Manza” – $18

Mionetto Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry “Luxury” – $22

Adami Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Asciutto  “Vigneto Giardino” Rive di Colbertaldo 2015 – $22

Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $25

Mongarda Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut – $15

Ruggeri Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Vecchie Viti” – $21

Bortolomiol Valdobiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut “Prior” Millesimato 2015 – $15

Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Brut Rive di Soligo 2015 – $18

Plan your own Prosecco travels with these wine tourism itineraries.

Thank you to Prosecco Superiore for hosting me!

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Tags: Boston blogger, bubbles, bubbly, events, Italian wine, Italy, prosecco, wine, wine events, wine tasting

On our recent trip to Asheville, we ran out of time to visit the Biltmore Estate and decided to definitely save it for our next trip. We’d heard from many people that it takes at least a few hours to tour properly, and with the extreme heat we enjoyed, we figured we would also have needed to build in rest breaks.

That didn’t stop me from tasting Biltmore wine, however. (You know me better than that!)

biltmore estate brut sparkling Before we checked into our house rental, we made a stop at the local grocery store to stock up on breakfast items and celebratory drinks. I was so excited to see that they sold Biltmore Estate Brut Sparkling Wine. Did you know that the Biltmore Estate has America’s most visited winery?

biltmore estate brut sparkling

With the Estate being involved in so many things, I wasn’t sure what to expect of the wine. This sparkling wine was made in the traditional Champagne method, and as such had those yeasty, bread-y notes that I love in Champagne, along with notes of honey, vanilla, and citrus. Lots of tiny bubbles and a celebratory spirit made this wine one that will most definitely stand out in my Asheville memories and makes me want to do a full tasting experience at Biltmore. The tasting notes say it pairs well with seafood, but as a brunch drink, we paired it with salty bacon and eggs. Bacon and bubbly has become my favorite pairing as of late, and I look forward to the weekend for an excuse to enjoy the two.

The Biltmore Estate also has a marathon on property that I may or may not have considered over the past couple of years. . . We’ll wait until after Chicago to see about that!

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Tags: Asheville, bubbly, sparkling wine, Travel, wine, wine of the week

Several weeks ago I was invited to a media lunch at L’Espalier  to taste the Champagne of Champagne Bruno Paillard with Alice Paillard, daughter of the founder, winemaker, and visionary behind  Maison Bruno Paillard. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I love Champagne and that a visit to the region is at the top of my list. Attending this Champagne lunch was quite the treat, and one afternoon I won’t soon forget.

It started out with some relaxing chatting in the Salon at L’Espalier which is my new favorite spot for business meetings. It’s simply lovely and perfectly put together; the carefully chosen decor at L’Espalier was a common theme in our conversation throughout lunch.

When it was time for our lunch, we were seated by a window looking up Boylston Street, an iconic Boston view from an iconic Boston restaurant. Perfection.


Alice Paillard has been working with her father at Champagne Bruno Paillard since 2007. In her time she has worked in the vineyards and cellar, developed the exporting side of the business, and now co-manages the Maison with her father. Her knowledge and passion for the Champagne was so exciting to see firsthand, and to top it off, she was absolutely lovely.

Our discussion of the color scheme and art at L’Espalier turned into one of Champagne as our first taste, Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvee, the flagship wine of the house, was poured. Alice explained that, much like a beautiful room, Champagne is the result of a series of decisions, starting with the villages and vineyards, deciding how long the Champagne should remain on the lees, how long to cellar, all of the things that give it its final character and personality. Champagne Bruno Paillard is among the newer houses, and as a result, they don’t always have to do things the way “things are always done”.

Champagne Bruno Paillard

Quality is key, dosage is kept very low to create a brut Champagne, and the disgorgement date is on every bottle. Disgorgement disturbs the wine, and the inclusion of the date on the bottle allows the recipient to know how long it has had to rest and recover since disgorgement. Alice likened it to the human body recovering after surgery; in every instance, the wine is alive and reacts to all that happens to it. The attention to detail, right down to chilling this bottle on only a few ice cubes, reawakened my love and respect for all that goes into wine.

Deciding on which menu items from L’Espalier’s enticing and elegant lunch menu to pair with the Champagne was a fun discussion as again it became important to weigh decisions on what would go together best. Our small group was open to sharing plates (always the best way to eat, in my opinion), and so our courses were ordered and Champagne was poured and enjoyed, both with the food and on its own.

lunch at L'Espalier

{House smoked salmon with pickled vegetables, crème fraîche and American caviar*}

lobster bisque

{L’Espalier’s “signature” Maine lobster bisque with garlic flan}


Champagne Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs Reserve Privee

{Champagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée}

Nova Scotia halibut

{Nova Scotia halibut with Maitre Gaspard, Delta asparagus, potatoes and fermented mustard seed}


{Wild mushroom risotto with Maine lobster, a New England farm coddled egg and brown butter emulsion}

Champagne Assemblage 2008

{Champagne Assemblage 2008}

IMG_5233{Roasted prime beef sirloin: “another soupe a l’oignon”, fingerling potatoes, king trumpet mushrooms and anchovy purée}


{Champagne N.P.U. – “”Nec Plus Ultra”" 2003 “}

Champagne lunch

{Pairing Champagne with a slightly salty, umami beef dish , one of the more surprising pairings of the day, but one that actually worked deliciously. And look at the color in that glass!}}

L'Espalier cheese plate

{L’Espalier’s famous cheese plate paired with Champagne Rosé Première Cuvée}

Alice showed us where Champagne Bruno Paillard grapes come from; carefully chosen vineyards and grapes cultivated by the same families for more than 30 years. Again, the choice of location and that location’s terroir being important decisions in the beautiful Champagne that makes its way into your glass, if you are lucky!


Champagne Tasting Notes

We tasted the following wines at the lunch.

Champagne Extra Brut Première Cuvée
Champagne Rosé Première Cuvée
Champagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée Grand Cru
Champagne Assemblage 2008
Champagne N.P.U. – “”Nec Plus Ultra”" 2003 “

My own scribbled tasting notes don’t do these beautiful wines the same justice that the notes on the website do. I was enthralled by not only the technical savvy behind the wines, but more importantly the love, pride, and passion that Alice exuded. I encourage you to explore and discover the Champagnes of Bruno Paillard at your own pace. The website is beautiful and so full of information on the house, the Champagne making process, and so much more.

If you are in the Boston area, you can find Champagne from Bruno Paillard at several retail outlets, including the following:


Urban Grape

Inman Square Wines

Kappy’s Peabody

Cellar d’Or

Lower Falls Wine

Table & Vine

This lunch was provided to me at no charge as a media guest. All opinions are my own. 

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Tags: Boston, Boston blogger, bubbly, champagne, events, sparkling wine, wine

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