This weekend I tried the 2007 Sofia Blanc de Blancs from Francis Coppola. Like the rosé I enjoyed a few years ago, this was named after Coppola's daughter Sofia. On that note I just recently saw her movie The Virgin Suicides for the first time, but Lost in Translation is still my favorite of her directorial efforts.
It's made in Monterey County, California, $19, 12.6% abv. 81% Pinot Blanc, 12% Sauvignon Blanc, and 7% Muscat--a fascinating blend quite different from the Champagne tradition, even if Pinot Blanc is allowed in tiny amounts. Lovely melon and peach aroma, hints of Bartlett pear after it warms up, and the dark scent of the Muscat just barely comes through. Very crisp, firm acidity no doubt helped by the Sauvignon Blanc, with a mild apple/pear flavor and good minerality. I was expecting some sweetness but was pleasantly surprised to find it dry and refreshing. I would strongly recommend this if you want a tasty blanc de blancs that's not made out of Chardonnay.
Just because it comes wrapped in pink cellophane doesn't mean a man can't enjoy this on his own. In fact, I've long maintained that fried chicken is a perfect accompaniment for sparkling wine (hardly an original concept), so I grabbed a box from Popeye's. I mean no disrespect to the chicken or the wine; the crunchy, spicy poultry is a natural foil for the bubbly, crisp sparkler. Reference a recent post by Randy Kemner (guest on Samantha Sans Dosage) on the pairing concepts of harmony vs. complimentary contrast. Simplified version: when you're sad, do you want to listen to happy pop or the blues? There's no one right answer.
The same thing is true for wine. Sometimes you want a wine that tastes a lot like what you're eating, and other times you want a contrasting element, either something missing from the dish (like a squeeze of lemony acidity) or something different enough to wake up your tongue between mouthfuls of food.
As always, I try wines straight, with food, and afterward to make sure my notes aren't adversely impacted by the dish. Do you have to get takeout fried chicken? Certainly not. I'd recommend this wine for a wide range of hard-to-pair foods, including the chicken, seafood, or vegetable dishes of Chinese, Thai, or Vietnamese cuisines. It would work well with Cajun or many Indian dishes as well; a good rule of thumb is that if you can't think of a wine that could possibly pair with a certain dish due to texture or spices or intensity, pick a sparkling wine and you'll be happy.