sparkling wine

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As our close friends have started having kids, our nights out have turned into fun, casual, and cozy brunches in. It’s become one of my favorite things to do; there’s lots of great food, play time, and of course bubbly.

Cremant de Jura Our latest brunch was a real feast, with Irish bacon and blood pudding, a delicious egg strata, scones, fruit, veggies, and this sparkling wine from Jura. This Buronfosse Crémant du Jura was new to me and the perfect brunch bubbly. Vibrant, bright, and festive, it offers notes of raspberry and toasted almond pastry, a tiny bit of sweetness on the finish, but not too much at all. Get togethers where everyone brings a bottle often result in some delicious wine discoveries!

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Tags: brunch, bubbly, Cremant, Jura, sparkling wine, wine

Want more wine? Check out my wine reviews and wine travel posts.


I am always a little bit (okay, more than a little bit) wary when a celebrity launches a wine brand. For some, it’s likely a decision that is made because they’ve done everything else, why not wine. For others, it’s a good business decision or one driven by passion for the product.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the launch party for Champy, a sparkling wine produced in collaboration between Boston’s own Jenny Johnson and Sonoma County winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster. Jenny is known for being a bubbly TV personality and producer but also a very smart and savvy businesswoman, and since I love Sonoma wine, I was really intrigued by the launch.


The event was held at the newly opened Yvonne’s, formerly Locke-Ober, in Downtown Crossing. The space is absolutely gorgeous, and I, coming from a casual work-at-home day, was incredibly underdressed. Yvonne’s is definitely a reason to dress up, noted.

Yvonne's Boston

The private party was in an area off of the bar, and guests received glasses of Champy as we arrived. It took just one sip for me to love this wine. It is delicious! It’s well-balanced, with a nice acidity, notes of granny smith apple and lemon, and lots of bubbles. Like me, Jenny is a lover of bubbly not just for special occasions, and this wine would definitely be a fun one to pop open on an average night to add something a little something special.

The wine is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, with fruit sourced from Sonoma, Mendocino, and Napa counties, and I loved that in it I could taste California wine country, which always feels a little bit like home to me.


There’s a lovely, celebratory spirit behind the brand with the tag line: Be present. Be spontaneous. Be Champy.

With the temperatures dipping way too low for my tastes, Champy is a great bubbly to add a little sunshine to your day and help you to remember to celebrate the everyday.

Jenny Johnson Champy


Champy will be available in Fall/Winter 2015 and will retail for $24.99.

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Tags: bubbly, sparkling wine, wine, wine blog, wine of the week, Wine Wednesday

I’m not done with Tanzania yet! I have a few more blog posts to write, and I plan on savoring each photo and memory as I write about this experience of a lifetime.

For other posts on our travel in Tanzania, check out these links:

Luxury Accommodations at Maramboi Tented Camp, Tanzania

Tarangire National Park  Safari with Overseas Adventure Travel, Tanzania

Serengeti Camping

Serengeti Game Drives

Shanga and Riverhouse Arusha Tanzania

cooking demonstration ArushaOn the same day we had an incredible experience at Shanga, we relaxed over lunch at Arusha Coffee Lodge. It was a luxurious property that was a real treat for our travel-weary bodies. We arrived at the Arusha Coffee Lodge and were welcomed with creamy cold coffee drinks that were just what we needed after our morning at Shanga. We found seats under a shaded pavilion and then gathered around to watch a Tanzanian cooking demo.

arusha coffee lodge

Our chefs showed us how to make delicious Tanzanian dishes such as Makande (mixed bean pot), Pilau (spiced rice), and Kuku Paka (chicken in coconut).


Meanwhile, polenta bubbled away in a cauldron. Once ready, it would provide the perfect base for the saucy dishes we enjoyed.

arusha coffee lodge

Sticking with the South African wine theme that was woven through our Tanzania trip, we shared a bottle of Graham Beck brut, always a favorite of mine. A wine trip to South Africa is on my bucket list!

Graham Beck

Lunch was simply amazing, a mix of spices and fresh ingredients that made us all go back for more.

food in Tanzania

After lunch we all moved on to a comfy seating area for orange cake and to sample coffee grown on the plantation down the street. The coffee was smooth and rich, perfect without milk or sugar. Simple, perfect, just the way so many things in Tanzania were.

Orange Cake

arusha coffee lodge

Arusha Coffee Lodge is most definitely a place I would love to visit again, perhaps to stay on the way to Tarangire. It’s well located, elegant, and has an excellent food and beverage offering.

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Tags: Arusha, Food, Graham Beck, hotels, restaurants. Africa, sparkling wine, Tanzania, Travel, travel blog, wine

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