Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival

“You just won $250 in Las Vegas!  What are you going to do now?”

“I’m going to Disneyland!”

Even if I had left Las Vegas down in chips, I still would have wanted to go to Disneyland during the second half of my trip out west.  I love Disney World and have visited at least once a year since moving to Florida six years ago.

I couldn’t have timed my trip to southern California any better.  My visit to Disneyland coincided with Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival.  As a big fan of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival I was glad I finally had the chance to experience Disneyland’s version.  Now in its fifth year, this festival is held at Disney’s California Adventure Park, located across a pavilion from Disneyland.

Click here to read about the 2009 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

I arrived at Disney’s California Adventure on a warm and sunny Friday, ready to explore the park and drink some wine.  One thing I noticed right away about the park is that it already is a great place for food.  And not just standard theme park food like burgers, fries and Mickey Mouse ice cream pops.  There are stands where you can get all sorts of fresh fruit grown in California, and an area where you can learn more about the state’s food industries.  At the Mission Tortilla Factory you can snack on freshly made tortillas while getting a behind-the-scenes look at tortilla production.  At the Boudin Bakery (a favorite of mine in San Francisco), it’s slices of sourdough bread you get to taste while watching bakers prepare hundreds of boules.

As a four-time visitor to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I was interested in seeing how Disneyland’s festival was different — which it definitely was.  Rather than being the main event, perhaps the reason to visit, the California Food & Wine Festival felt more like an added bonus of visiting the park.  This festival was smaller and more low key compared to Epcot, where there are several food and wine stands to check out in every country in the World Showcase.

The main action centered around three “walks” where you could taste a variety of wines and beers.  Chefs demonstrated cooking techniques at the Showcase Stage, near the front of the park.  The Festival Showplace — the place to check out seminars and buy festival merchandise — was tucked away in a corner of the park by the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, away from the most popular rides.  There were no separate food stands for the festival; special dishes were added to the menu at dining spots throughout the park.

Overall, the festival added to the fun experience of visiting Disney’s California Adventure, without making visitors feel obligated to participate.

I began in the Festival Showplace, at the Belgian Brewer’s Collection and Star Lounge hosted by Stella Artois.  Here bartenders demonstrated the art of pouring a perfect Stella Artois beer from the tap, a multi-step process that includes washing the glass and “beheading” foam with a special spatula-like tool.  I got a glass of the Belgian Leffe Blonde, perfect for sipping as I strolled around the park.

After flying over some of the state’s famous sights in Soarin’ Over California, I was ready to taste some California wines.  For that I headed to the California Classics Wine Walk.  After paying $10 I received my tasting passport for a trip through the Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Central Coast and Paso Robles.  Each time I tasted a wine, my passport was stamped for that region.  Each region offered a choice of three wines.  For the selection of wineries (some well known, some unfamiliar) and the grape varietals, it was a nice overview of the state’s offerings.  Wine novices would definitely come away knowing more about different styles and their own tastes.  For fans of the Old World there was an Italian Wine Walk, which I did not get a chance to check out.

My next stop was the Craft Beer Walk, which featured 16 beers from around the world.  There were four stops on this walk: the Old World, West of the Rockies, the Islands (Hawaii and Japan) and the Hop Garden which featured brews from California, Florida and Missouri.  Like with all the walks, you could mix and match your tastings, skipping one area and getting two at another instead.  I skipped the Old World having tasted all four of the beers offered.  Instead I got to taste Japan’s Kirin Ichiban and Sapporo Lager back to back and discovered I prefer Kirin.  If I’m drinking beer at a Japanese restaurant I tend to order Sapporo over Kirin; now that I know I like Kirin better I’ll have to make a switch.

In addition to enjoying the wine and beer I checked out many of the park’s attractions.  My favorite after Soarin’ Over California was California Screamin’, a roller coaster that kicks the action into top gear right away.  Rather than slowly climbing up the first hill, the coaster accelerates at the start, making for a really fun ride that includes one upside down loop.  I’m guessing you might want to check this one out before eating or drinking too much.

I ended my day at the festival with a glass of California Merlot in the Festival Showplace, listening to a seminar on Pinot Noir led by a winemaker from the Central Coast.  Though I didn’t get to check out any winemaker or wine pairing dinners there’s always next year — hopefully my travels will take me to southern California again next spring.

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival runs from April 16 through May 31, 2010.  Visit Disneyland’s website in the fall for details on the 2010 festival.

AG Pick: The Sum 2007

While you’re still trying to figure out the significance of the numbers in Lost, pick up a bottle of The Sum.  This red wine from The Seventy Five Wine Company may not help you add up all the mysteries left unanswered in Sunday night’s finale, though it’s an excellent sip as you discuss the numerous theories.

The Sum is a rich and full bodied blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah and 10% Petite Sirah from the Napa Valley.  The grapes were fermented and aged separately, spending at least 14 months in 80% new French oak.  After blending the wine was aged in oak for an additional 3 months.

This red has all the great qualities of a Napa Cab with a surprisingly low price, at just over $20 a bottle.  The Syrah and Petite Sirah flesh out the flavors, adding depth and complexity.

Deep garnet-purple in color, the wine draws you in with aromas of cherries, blackberries, vanilla and spice.  These flavors unfold and develop in the mouth, with layers of sweet ripe berries, plum, cedar and cinnamon.  It’s lush and velvety in texture, with nice acidity and firm tannins that will allow you to enjoy this wine for the next several years.

The Sum pairs nicely with red meat.  Serve this with steak, lamb chops, buffalo and other hearty meat dishes.

This is the inaugural vintage of The Sum; it was created by Tuck Beckstoffer, whose family is well known for grape growing in the region.  Beckstoffer also produces a Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc under the Seventy-Five label.

A bottle of The Sum 2007 costs around $21.

RM Seafood’s Ice Cream Tasting Game

Continued from Eating Las Vegas

“No one has ever gotten all 16 flavors right.  Very few have guessed even half correctly.”

A tip — or maybe a dare — from our server at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, as he placed our dessert on the table.

The dessert: Rick’s Tasting Game.  It’s a platter of 16 ice creams and sorbets that are served blind, with the diners attempting to correctly identify each flavor.

Surely our server didn’t know who he was talking to.  We may have looked like amateurs but we were seasoned eaters, ready to test our taste buds.  Certainly among my sister, her four friends, my husband and me, we’d be able to identify a good portion of the flavors.

Out of the 16 scoops we were given one freebie: we were told #8 was vanilla bean.  We tasted that one first, as a way to prepare our palates.  We then systematically tasted each scoop, coming up with our own guess before sharing it with the group.  Once we were satisfied with our answers our server gave us the sheet with the actual flavors.

Here’s how we fared:

Flavor #1:
Initial Tasting: Right away we all noticed there was a coffee flavor, with some creaminess as well.  We didn’t think it would be plain coffee, so we went for the more interesting guess of cappuccino.
Our Guess: Cappuccino
Actual Flavor: Irish Coffee Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Not bad for our first guess!  Even though we couldn’t pick out the alcohol during the blind taste, we considered it a half victory.

Flavor #2:
Initial Tasting: Our reactions were similar and instantaneous after taking a taste of this ice cream, with several people saying “yuck!”  The consensus was unanimous on this one.
Our Guess: Garlic
Actual Flavor: Garlic Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Nailed it!  And we didn’t have to fight over the remaining ice cream.

Flavor #3:
Initial Tasting: We all thought there were berry flavors in this, specifically dark berries like boysenberry, blackberry, redcurrant or blackcurrant, though we couldn’t decide on just one.
Our Guess: some sort of dark red berry
Actual Flavor: Berry-Crème de Cassis Sorbet
Final Thoughts: We came pretty close to getting this one — cassis is another name for blackcurrant, after all.  I’d call it another partial victory.

Flavor #4:
Initial Tasting: We all tasted chocolate in this ice cream, though it had a spicy kick.  It reminded me of Mexican hot chocolate, which has cinnamon in it.
Our Guess: Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate
Actual Flavor: Aztec Chocolate Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were pretty close, I’d call it a win.

Flavor #5:
Initial Tasting: This was the flavor we discussed for the longest time.  It was sweet but not really, with too mild a flavor to really guide us.  Most of our group were not fans of this flavor, which sparked a lively debate about what it was.  I got some sweetness in it, similar to some sort of tropical fruit.  It wasn’t quite as sweet as a lychee though it had a similar taste, so I guessed that it was longan.  Noting my sister’s dislike of this ice cream, one of her friends guessed it was cheese — apparently my sister had a similar reaction a while back to some dish that had cheese in it.  Knowing we would certainly get the flavor wrong, we combined the two guesses into one nasty sounding flavor that provided endless entertainment for the rest of the trip.
Our Guess: Longan Cheese
Actual Flavor: Rhubarb Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: This one definitely stumped us, though we couldn’t recall a time when we had tasted rhubarb on its own.

Flavor #6:
Initial Tasting: We all picked up a banana flavor right away, though it wasn’t only bananas.  Banana walnut?  Banana muffin?  We went for the muffin until we got to flavor #15.  Since we were pretty sure that ice cream was banana bread we decided to change our answer for #6.  My sister insisted there was some sort of alcohol flavor in it, though the rest of us couldn’t quite pick it out.
Our Guess: Bananas Flambé
Actual Flavor: Bananas Foster Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: This was all my sister.  Good job Lauren!

Flavor #7:
Initial Tasting: We all thought there was strawberry in this ice cream, though there was a creamy flavor too.
Our Guess: Strawberry Daiquiri
Actual Flavor: Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Another flavor we were pretty close to getting.

Flavor #8:
Revealed as Vanilla Bean before we started the tasting game.

Flavor #9:
Initial Tasting: We all identified this flavor pretty quickly, without much discussion.
Our Guess: Pistachio
Actual Flavor: Pistachio Ice Cream

Flavor #10:
Initial Tasting: This ice cream was a bit tricky for us because it didn’t really taste like anything.  No fruit, no spice, no anything; we were thrown for a loop.  I thought it could be something like buttercream, while my sister’s friends wanted to go with the mouthwatering flavors of “nothing” and “default.”
Our Guess: Something between nothing and buttercream
Actual Flavor: Milk Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were pretty close.  Milk is one of the main ingredients in ice cream, so that sort of counts as default.

Flavor #11:
Initial Tasting: I think we all liked this flavor.  It was definitely something we all recognized, though were initially thrown off because we had never had it in this form.
Our Guess: Olive Oil
Actual Flavor: Olive Oil Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: I cook with olive oil all the time because I love its flavor so I enjoyed tasting this ice cream.

Flavor #12:
Initial Tasting: This was another flavor that we just couldn’t agree on.  It was sort of minty, but then had some herbaceous notes as well.  Some of the flavors we tossed around were spearmint, strong peppermint like the kind used to flavor toothpaste, menthol and licorice.  We all did agree that we weren’t crazy about this flavor.
Our Guess: Some kind of minty licorice
Actual Flavor: Chartreuse Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: It all made sense when the actual flavor was revealed, as Chartreuse is a distilled spirit made from a mix of more than 100 herbs, plants and flowers.  I had actually tasted Chartreuse for the first time in February, at the 2010 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but never thought it could be an ice cream flavor.

Flavor #13:
Initial Tasting: We got a creamy caramel taste in this ice cream so we immediately thought of sweet and creamy desserts like custards.
Our Guess: Crème Brûlée
Actual Flavor: Strawberry Swirl Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: We were totally surprised with this one, because we did not pick out any strawberry.  Perhaps our scoop had more swirl and less strawberry.

Flavor #14:
Initial Tasting: This sorbet was light and refreshing.  We right away thought it was in the melon family.
Our Guess: Honeydew
Actual Flavor: Honeydew Sorbet

Flavor #15:
Initial Tasting: Right away we tasted banana and found chunks of bread in the ice cream, causing us to reconsider our guess for #6.
Our Guess: Banana Bread
Actual Flavor: Banana Bread Ice Cream
Final Thoughts: Besides the Aztec Chocolate ice cream, this was my favorite of the 16 flavors.

Flavor #16:
Initial Tasting: Another sorbet, this was great for cleansing the palate at the end of the tasting challenge.  It was a nice way to end because we were pretty confident we nailed this melon flavor.
Our Guess: Cantaloupe
Actual Flavor: Cantaloupe Sorbet

Overall we did pretty well, correctly (or pretty close to correctly) identifying 12 out of the 15 mystery flavors.  As is typical in Las Vegas we had a lot of fun, but the House still won.

Earlier: Eating Las Vegas, a culinary trip through Huber Keller’s Fleur de Lys and Burger Bar and Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood.

Eating Las Vegas

During my long weekend in Las Vegas, everything seemed up.  I won a few hundred dollars playing craps, boosted my tan while relaxing by the pool and managed to put on a few pounds, thanks to the many dining options that Las Vegas has to offer.

I spent most of my restaurant time at Mandalay Bay, where I was staying.  You can’t go wrong there, with more than 20 restaurants including a few by big name chefs.  I did venture off site on Sunday for the Wynn’s incredible Champagne brunch, which I fondly remembered from the year before.

Click here to read about the Champagne brunch at the Wynn from April 2009

My husband and I arrived at the hotel around 9:30pm Friday night, though it felt like well after midnight to us.  We knew we weren’t up for gambling quite yet, but weren’t ready to go to sleep either.  We decided to get a glass of wine at Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s restaurant famous for its four-story wine tower and its “wine angels” who fetch the bottles.

Click here to read “Wine and a Performance at Aureole” from April 2009

We found a comfy table in the lounge and took a look at the wine list.  Had we not been so tired it would have been fun to select a bottle from one of the thousands on the eWinelist and watch a wine angel get it for us, but we instead opted for one glass each.  Both wines were great — a big and earthy Napa Cab for me and a spicy Russian River Valley Zin for him.  We split an order of the sirloin sliders, perfect with both wines.  Juicy, with guacamole and a zesty chipotle sauce, they were some of the best sliders I’ve had.

The reason for our trip was to meet up with my sister, who was traveling to Las Vegas the following day with a group of friends during their week off from their third year of medical school.

Fresh from assisting in surgeries and other doctor-related activities that make my weak stomach turn, my sister was ready for a weekend of fun and relaxation — and of course, good food (it runs in the family).

To ensure the trip kicked off on a high note, we had booked a table for three on Saturday night at Fleur de Lys, Hubert Keller’s restaurant.

Before dinner we decided to try our luck in the casino.  We hit the craps table at just the right time, doubling our money in 20 minutes thanks to a few hot shot rollers (my sister included).

Feeling good after cashing in my extra $50 in chips, I couldn’t wait to put the money towards a nice meal at Fleur de Lys, conveniently located about a 30 second walk from the craps tables.

Though just steps away from the casino floor, Fleur de Lys felt like an entirely different world.  Through the doors that blocked the chiming of slot machines, the restaurant was smaller than I imagined, with 30 foot ceilings that helped keep the noise down.  The room was warm and inviting with its chocolate brown tones and wall of stones and fresh roses.  From our table I could look up into the wine loft at part of the restaurant’s 12,000 bottle collection.

I could have spent hours looking through the wine list, a binder with all sorts of enticing options.  Fortunately for us budget conscious diners, the list had all of its bottles under $100 listed in one section.  I chose a lovely Côtes du Rhône that cost $63.

Since we wanted to get the full experience of Fleur de Lys at our first visit, we all opted for the four course prix fixe menu that cost $89.  I didn’t take photos of the dishes because it didn’t feel appropriate in the restaurant, but suffice it to say that the presentation of all our courses was artful with a purpose.  Everything on the plate was so flavorful and could be enjoyed on its own or together.

For the first course I had the Ahi Tuna Tartare, which was chopped up and served on a bed of shaved fennel slaw with a ginger ponzu sauce.  I’m not normally a fan of fennel but I loved it in this dish.  The fennel soaked up the ponzu sauce and offered a refreshing contrast in taste to the meaty tuna.

Next I ordered the Braised Veal and Yukon Gold Potato Ravioli.  Veal is not something I tend to order at restaurants but I was glad that I did here.  The pasta itself was so light and delicate, with wonderfully flavored meat inside.  It was a toss up who had ordered better, me or my husband and sister who had both opted for sea bass that was wrapped in a thin slice of chorizo and served with barley in a savory sun dried tomato sauce.

For the main course my husband and sister ordered the Prime Filet Mignon, served with a red wine reduction.  I have never seen a steak more perfectly cooked.  Both were medium rare, with a uniform pink color from one side to the other.  The meat itself was delicious and extremely tender.

However, I won the round with the Stout Braised Beef Shortribs.  They were topped with a small bit of whole grain mustard and served with a root vegetable puree.  “Wow” is really the only thing I need to say about this dish.

Besides being by far the best shortribs I’ve ever eaten (I’m a fan so I’ve ordered them often), it was the best dish I’ve had in months, maybe years.

I couldn’t get enough of the sauce, an insanely good Guinness reduction that the waiter poured around the meat.  Beef, lamb, a piece of cardboard — I would eat anything served with this sauce.  My husband and sister agreed, scooping up the sauce on pieces of their filet mignon after I refused to share any more of my shortribs.  And the root vegetable puree!  It was silky and luscious and wonderful with a little of the sauce.

With every dish, Keller demonstrated his exceptional skill at sauces.  Like a great wine, all were loaded with flavor, and yet they were never heavy.

I had already made up my mind that my meal at Fleur de Lys was the best dining experience I’ve had in the last couple of years; dessert made it official.

I ordered the trio of desserts: a warm Valrhona chocolate cake, peanut butter milkshake and caramel corn ice cream, served with a few pieces of caramel corn.  I’ve lost track of how many warm Valrhona chocolate cakes I’ve eaten over the years but this one was the best, with a center of pure heaven.  The ice cream was a sweet palate cleanser between the cake and the milkshake, my favorite on the plate.  Served in a glass resembling a tall shot glass with a short straw, the milkshake tasted like Reese’s peanut butter cups.  Though full after the fabulous meal, I wish I could have gotten several refills!

Top Chef Masters fans, take note: Fleur de Lys offers an early evening menu based on the dishes Keller made on season one of the show.  Yes, even the macaroni and cheese he made in a dorm room shower makes the menu, though I’m assuming he doesn’t actually prepare it in a shower anymore.

During my trip I also ate at Keller’s Burger Bar.  Though I’m kind of over the concept of big name chefs opening up burger joints because they’re ALL doing it, I have to say I was a fan of Keller’s.  From my seat at the bar I could see the assortment of beers on tap and the even larger selection of bottled beer in the fridges.  I ordered an amber from Sin City Brewing Company, a local microbrewery.

As with all these burger restaurants, the meal can cost as little or as much as you’d like it to be, depending on how many toppings (and how exotic) you order.  Burger Bar offers an assortment of patties including Black Angus, Kobe beef, buffalo, salmon, chicken and a veggie burger.  You also choose your bun from five options.  Toppings range from a variety of cheeses, sauces, mushrooms and bacons, to the more expensive foie gras and lobster.  Those who’ve won big may want to skip the customization and go right for the Rossini, a Kobe beef burger with sautéed foie gras and shaved truffles on an onion bun which costs $60.

I opted for the Country Natural burger ($10.25), made from beef which comes from a family-owned sustainable ranch.  I selected a ciabatta bun, then added on cheddar cheese and oyster mushrooms, which bumped up the price by $1.85.  It arrived loaded and juicy, and was great with my amber.

Had I not ordered both the sweet potato fries and the beer battered jalapeño pickles, I might have had room for dessert.  Specifically, the Nutella milkshake.  Thinking back to the yummy peanut butter milkshake, I could imagine how wonderfully rich it would taste.  I planned to return another day just for the milkshake, but unfortunately never made it back.

For diners wanting a burger for dessert, Burger Bar offers a Chocolate Burger.  It has a warm donut for the bun, Nutella mousse for the patty and passion fruit, strawberry and kiwi as the toppings.

On my final evening in Las Vegas I happened to visit another Top Chef Masters star’s restaurant — Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood, a sustainable seafood restaurant in the middle of the desert.

As we were a large group (in addition to my husband, sister and me, four of my sister’s friends joined us), we were seated at a big table just outside the restaurant which took away some of the ambiance, though we still enjoyed our meal.

For my first course I went for turf rather than surf, with the oh so good Steak Tartare ($17), which had pieces of shaved truffles, Parmesan and miso egg yolk mixed in.  For my main course I ordered the Cioppino ($35), a delicious mix of mussels, clams, shrimp, fish and calamari-resembling calamarata pasta in a light and savory tomato broth.  The shellfish was well cooked, not too chewy, and the broth was so good I wish I had more of the sourdough garlic bread to soak it up.

My second favorite dish was the Rainbow Trout ($31), which my sister ordered.  It was served on top of bacon and marble potatoes with a pecan-mustard dressing.  I loved the flavor combination of the fish and the smoky bacon.

Even before we arrived at RM Seafood, we knew we were ordering dessert.  And we knew which dessert we were ordering: Rick’s Tasting Game.  Sixteen different ice creams and sorbets are served blind, with the diner guessing the flavors.  As our waiter informed us, no one has ever gotten all 16 correct.

Armed with my experience tasting wines, I was ready for the challenge.

How did we do?  Click here to find out.

Why are Wines More Expensive at Some Restaurants?

Can’t understand why the $10 bottle of wine you bought at your local wine shop costs $30 at one restaurant and $25 at another?  Wine Enthusiast Magazine has an article on the reasons why wine costs so much more at restaurants and why that price can vary among wine lists.

In “The Lowdown on Restaurant Markups” author Gretchen Roberts explains how and why restaurants charge more for their wines (besides it being an excellent source of revenue).  The higher costs and variations come down to a mix of five factors:

1. State Laws and Taxes
Wine prices vary in each state due to different alcohol laws and taxes, with higher costs of purchasing the wine passed on to customers.

2. Wholesale Costs
These can vary by state as well, with some states allowing restaurants with bigger buying power to get lower prices for wholesale wines.

3. Restaurant Operational Costs
Basically this boils down to the nicer the restaurant, the more expensive the wine.  If a restaurant spends less on operational costs (decor, valet, etc), they may be able to pass on the savings to you, via the wine list.

4. Position on the List
Cheaper wines tend to have higher markups than more expensive wines.  As the article states, “a $10 wholesale wine may be marked up to $30, but a $50 wine might be just $80.”

5. Whim
Prices can vary dramatically due to the desires of the restaurant’s sommelier or manager (or whoever sets the prices).  Some places may price wines lower and make money from more frequent sales, while others will price wines higher, making more money on fewer sales.

The article also has some helpful tips on how to get the best value on the wine list:

Spend More
Because many restaurants mark up high-end wines less than lower-end wines, you’ll get more value if you choose a more expensive bottle of wine.

Order Mid-List
People often skip the least expensive wine because they don’t want to appear cheap.  Because of this restaurants often have the largest mark up on the second-least expensive wine.  Try one a few spots up for a better value.

Stay Away from Brand Names
Popular wines tend to have a high mark up because they always sell.

Be Adventurous
Restaurants will sometimes put a lower mark up on wines they don’t think will sell as well, so go ahead and order that unfamiliar varietal!

Spending upwards of 100% more on a bottle of wine just to be able to enjoy it in a restaurant may not be any more palatable after reading this article, but maybe you’ll be able to make a smarter choice the next time you’re handed the list.

Click here to read the full article in Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

AG Pick Under $10: Blason de Bourgogne Cremant de Bourgogne Cuvee Brut

Looking for a sparkling wine that’s just like Champagne but costs much less? Pick up a bottle of Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut.

This sparkling wine is nearly identical to Champagne. It is made in France, from the same varietals used to make Champagne and produced in the same method as Champagne. It just can’t be called Champagne because it’s not from that region; it’s produced just a hop, skip and a four hour drive away in Burgundy.

Besides Burgundy, Crémants are made in several regions in France including Alsace, Loire and Bordeaux. For the quality and the price, Crémant is hard to beat.

Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut comes in at just under $10 a bottle. For the price, this Crémant is extremely elegant and flavorful. Aromas of pear, apple and toasted bread continue to develop on the palate, culminating in a crisp finish that has a hint of toasted almonds. With its small, energetic bubbles this sparkling wine is easy to drink and light on the tongue, with enough going on to keep you interested through your final sip.

A bottle of the Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut costs between $9 and $10.

Red Wines | White Wines | More Under $20