New Year's made for a fun weekend this year. I waited until almost the last minute to pick up some bubbly for the occasion, and decided to go visit wine retailer, fellow blogger, and friend Michael Hughes at Joe's Wines & Liquors. I let him pick out everything for me. Now, for the reader this might be confusing. Yes, there are thousands of wine reviews here on this site, and I'd like to think I can work my way around a wine shop or a wine list without too much difficulty. But Michael knows what I like, he knows his stock, and can point me in the direction of something I might have otherwise ignored. For instance, on December 30th I served this with dinner:
2007 Giovanni Galliano Brut Rosé
100% Pinot Noir
$32, 13.5% abv.
A truly wonderful experience. So pale a rosé that it looks white from certain angles. Crisp raspberry aromas and flavors with a touch of toast and lemony acidity. Medium bubbles and a long, lingering finish. Fun but dignified and definitely something different. If you think Italy is all about Prosecco and Moscato, this will change your mind. Highly recommended.
For the party on the 31st with Julia and her friends, I was looking for more casual but still well-constructed wines. Here's what Michael suggested:
NV Poema Cava Extra Dry
35% Macabeo, 35% Xarel-lo, 30% Parellada
$13, 11.5% abv.
NV Poema Cava Brut Rosé
$13, 11.5% abv.
I love a fun and fizzy Cava, and these two did not disappoint. The Extra Dry was actually quite dry, but of the two I preferred the Brut Rosé. Both were crisp, refreshing, and fairly uncomplicated, but I liked the depth and broader fruit flavors in the pink.
The third bottle is an Australian McWilliams Riesling that ended up as a gift for the hostess to enjoy later, and I hope she likes it.
And then there was fondue... I used some leftover white wine and a splash of brandy with the cheese. And what cheeses? The bulk came from Jarlsberg and St. Paulin with some contributing notes from scraps of Parrano and an aged Gouda. This was not quite as good as it might sound, since it's been quite a while since I've made fondue and I was using an improvised bain marie. The flavor combination was great, but I couldn't quite get it smooth enough and it turned solid rather quickly once removed from the pot. Still, there was a ton of great food contributed by all the guests and we all had a wonderful time.