Tag Archives: Champagne

STK Atlanta

Oyster & Champagne Party at STK Atlanta

Oysters for $1 each and a glass of champagne for $5 starting at 5pm on Friday, March 31st at STK Atlanta.

You really don’t need to know much more than that. Fab food and drinks at a great price at one of Midtown’s coolest spots kind of speaks for itself.

oysters at STKBut here are the full details: STK Atlanta is hosting a “Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party” in its bistro and lounge in honor of National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. It’s from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 31st.

Fresh, chef handpicked East Coast and West Coast oysters will be $1 apiece, and the price of champagne changes based on the hour. At 5 p.m. a glass of bubbly is $5, starting at 6 p.m. it’s $6, and then it’s $7 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. A live DJ completes the party, making STK the perfect place to kick off the weekend.

Stay for dinner and add some turf to your surf, with one of STK’s mouthwatering steaks. I recommend the 28 oz Dry-Aged Porterhouse.

Shuck Yeah! Oyster and Champagne Party at STK Atlanta
Friday, March 31, 2017 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
1075 Peachtree Street, Atlanta 30309
(404) 793-0144, www.stkhouse.com

Images courtesy Caren West PR

Diner en Blanc

Dîner en Blanc Returns to Atlanta September 13

The night all in white is back! Dîner en Blanc, an epicurean event that has delighted diners around the globe, is returning to Atlanta on Sunday, September 13th.

The world’s largest dinner party was launched in Paris in 1988. Since then hundreds and even thousands of people gather at a secret location revealed at the last minute to share a meal. Guests are asked to dress head to toe in their most stylish white.

Throughout the evening there will be live music, dancing and toasts with Moët & Chandon, the official champagne of Dîner En Blanc Atlanta.

Last year close to 1,000 people dined under the stars at the Millennium Gate Museum at Atlantic Station. This year about 2,000 people are expected to celebrate at the new location.

Check out photos from the first Dîner en Blanc in Atlanta

Here are more details plus how to get your invite to the ultra exclusive event:

Register online via atlanta.dinerenblanc.info/register by Sunday, September 6th. The $45 per person admission fee covers round trip transportation via a private motor coach and live entertainment for the evening. Once confirmed, each guest’s participation becomes mandatory, regardless of weather conditions. To ensure the location stays a secret, guests will meet at assigned departure points and be escorted by Dîner en Blanc volunteers.

Guests must bring a table, two white chairs and a white tablecloth, as well as a picnic basket comprising fine food, proper stemware and white dinnerware. Bring champagne or wine; beer and hard liquor are prohibited. A catered picnic basket may be reserved online during the initial ticket registration.

Get social with the official event hashtags: #dinerenblanc and #DEBATL2015.

For information about Dîner en Blanc Atlanta and to register for the event visit atlanta.dinerenblanc.info.

>> Connect:
Facebook: DinerEnBlanc.Atlanta
Twitter: @DinerEnBlancATL
#dinerenblanc
#DEBATL2015

Diner en Blanc

Dîner en Blanc Comes to Atlanta October 16

Venez, si vous voulez, à une soirée exceptionnelle sous les étoiles où vous pouvez manger, boire, et parler avec des amis . . .

Bienvenue — welcome — to Dîner en Blanc.

The international epicurean phenomenon is coming to Atlanta on Thursday, October 16th.

Diner en BlancLaunched in Paris in 1988, the evening has expanded to more than 50 cities across five continents. It’s a simple yet sophisticated concept: hundreds of diners gather at a secret location revealed at the last minute to share a meal with friends, both new and old, in one of the city’s most beautiful spots.

Guests are asked to dress head to toe in white, with stylish originality encouraged.

Throughout the evening there will be live music, dancing and celebratory moments. When the trumpet sounds signaling the end, guests will pack up everything they brought, leaving only memories of the Dîner behind.

Moet & Chandon Ice ImperialGuests will also have the unique opportunity to toast with Moët Ice Imperial, the first-ever champagne meant for sipping over ice. The official champagne of the Dîner en Blanc in Atlanta, Moët Ice Imperial is best served with three ice cubes in a large, Cabernet-style wine glass. Fresh and fruity with tropical fruit flavors, it’s perfect for any party.

Registration is now open for Dîner en Blanc Atlanta. Click here to join the waiting list. Sign up quickly as space is limited.

What else to know: guests bring a table and two white chairs; a picnic basket comprising quality menu items and china dinner service including proper stemware and flatware; and wine or champagne (beer and hard liquor are prohibited). Participants must wear white and be dressed elegantly. The event is rain or shine.

For more information on Dîner en Blanc, visit atlanta.dinerenblanc.info.

Click here to find out more about Moët Ice Imperial.

Dîner en Blanc Atlanta, Thursday, October 16. Location to be revealed near the time of the event.

headline image: Dîner en Blanc in Paris, 2013 by Fabrice Malard

Champagne and Beyond: Celebrate 2014 with French Sparkling Wine

France is king when it comes to bubbly. Whether you’re looking for Champagne or a great value Crémant, there’s a French sparkling wine to match your taste and your budget. Ring in the New Year with one of these bottles.

Ruinart Brut Rosé
Champagne

Ruinart Brut Rose

Ruinart is the oldest Champagne house, founded in 1729. Their elegant and aromatic rosé is truly a pleasure to sip. The Champagne is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (approximately 45% and 55% respectively). Around 18% of the Pinot Noir is vinified, which adds color and flavor to the final Champagne. The Brut Rosé is a lovely pink-orange color, and has notes of cherry, raspberry, wild strawberry and a hint of rose petal.
$75

Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve
Champagne

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

Everything you look for in a high quality Champagne, you’ll find it in the Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve. It is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that spent three years aging in Gallo-Roman chalk cellars. It is deep gold in color, with aromas of freshly baked brioche and complex flavors of white apricot, mango, ripe lemon, plum, praline and almond.
$50

Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois
Champagne

Billecart-Salmon Brut Sous Bois

This Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and vinified entirely in oak (‘sous bois’ means ‘under oak’). It has an intriguing mix of fresh and dried fruit aromas and flavors. Lemon, orange peel, dried yellow fig and dried apricot are layered with grilled brioche, almond and toffee, and the mouthfeel is rich and creamy.
$75

Domaine de la Louvetrie, “Atmosphères” Jo Landron
Vin Mousseux de Qualite

Atmospheres Jo Landron

This sparkling wine from the Loire Valley is made in the traditional method from 80% Folle Blanche and 20% Pinot Noir. The vineyard is located in the Muscadet region and is certified organic and biodynamic. Crisp flavors of Meyer lemon and white grapefruit are complemented by a chalky minerality.
$18

Léon Palais Blanc de Blancs Brut
Crémant de Jura

Leon Palais Brut

This dry sparkling wine made in the traditional method comes from the Jura region in eastern France. It is made from Chardonnay, Folle Blanche and Ugni Blanc grapes. Flavors of pear and granny smith apple culminate in a soft citrus finish.
$16

Helfrich Brut
Crémant d’Alsace

Helfrich Cremant d'Alsace

This sparkling wine comes from Alsace, located east of Champagne near the border with Germany. It is made entirely from the Pinot Blanc grape in the traditional method. Straw yellow in color, this Crémant has flavors of fresh lemon, grapefruit, white flowers and toast that culminate in a crisp finish.
$20

>> Related Articles:
Crémant: France’s Alternative to Champagne
A Guide to Sparkling Wine

A Guide to Sparkling Wine

‘Tis the season to toast with Champagne!

When you’re selecting that bottle of bubbly for your celebration there are many options besides the traditional French sparking wine.

Not sure what the differences are among all the varieties of bubbly? This guide will help explain why all Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all sparkling wines are Champagne.

Champagne

Champagne is sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France. By national law and international treaty, only sparkling wines from this appellation may be called Champagne. There are more than one hundred Champagne houses and 19,000 smaller vine-growing producers in Champagne.

Champagne is made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. With the dark skinned Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the lack of skin contact during fermentation produces a white wine.  “Blanc de Blanc” Champagnes, meaning white from white, are made from 100% Chardonnay. “Blanc de Noir” Champagnes, meaning white from black, are made from Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier or a mix of the two. Rosé Champagne is produced either by leaving the the skins of the black grapes in the juice for a brief time or by adding a small amount of still Pinot Noir red wine.

Champagne is made in the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise) where the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle to give it carbonation. After at least a year and a half of aging (during which time the bottle is manipulated so the lees settle in the neck of the bottle), the neck is frozen and pressure forces out the ice containing the lees. After a small amount of syrup is added to maintain the liquid level, the bottle is quickly corked.

Most of the Champagne produced is non-vintage. Champagne houses will only make vintage Champagnes during exceptional years; these can generally age longer than non-vintage Champagnes and cost more. Vintage Champagnes must be composed of at least 85% of the grapes from that year.

Champagnes range from dry to sweet, as indicated on the label with the following terms: Brut Natural or Brut Zéro, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Sec or Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-sec and Doux.

Crémant

Crémant is sparkling wine from France that is not made in the Champagne region. There are seven appellations which include this designation in their name: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire.

Like Champagne, Crémant is made in the traditional method. It may contain one or a blend of several grapes, as not all grapes grow in all regions. The most common grapes include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.

By French law, Crémant must be harvested by hand with yields not exceeding a set amount for each AOC. The wines must be aged for a minimum of one year.

Cava

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine from the Penedès region in Catalonia. It is made in the traditional method with one or a blend of three Spanish varietals: Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Subirat may also be used. Cava can be dry or sweet, as indicated by the term found on the label: brut nature, brut (extra dry), seco (dry), semiseco (medium) and dulce (sweet).

Prosecco

Prosecco is a sparking wine from the Veneto region in northeast Italy. It is made from the Prosecco grape and can be both fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante). Unlike Champagne, Prosecco is produced using the Charmat method in which the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. This makes the wine less expensive to produce. Prosecco is labeled brut, extra dry or dry, depending on the level of sweetness (with dry having the most residual sugar).

Asti Spumanti

This slightly sweet sparkling wine comes from the Asti province in Piedmont, in northwest Italy. It is made from the Moscato grape and is low in alcohol (around 8%). This can be made in the traditional method, though usually Asti Spumanti is produced using the Charmat method. Moscato d’Asti is a lightly sparkling version of Asti. Both are often served with dessert or as an after dinner drink because of their sweetness.

Franciacorta

This sparkling wine comes from the Lombardy region in north central Italy. It is made in the traditional method predominantly from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc), and may contain a small amount of Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir). Non-vintage Franciacorta is aged for at least 18 months on lees, while vintage Franciacorta is aged for at least 30 months on lees. The sweetness is designated on the label using the same terms used for Champagne.

Sekt

Sekt is sparkling wine from Germany. About 95% is produced using the Charmat method, with just a small percentage made using the traditional method. Sekt is made from Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Sometimes the wine used is imported from other western European countries.

New World Sparkling Wines

American sparkling wines may be produced in the traditional method or the Charmat method. California sparkling wines tend to be made from the Champagne grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. There are no minimum requirements for aging in the U.S. unlike in Champagne. Due in part to the state’s favorable climate and growing wine industry, several Champagne houses set up wineries in northern California including Moët et Chandon’s Domaine Chandon, Louis Roederer’s Roederer Estate and Taittinger‘s Domaine Carneros.

Australian sparkling wine is produced using either the traditional or Charmat method. It is made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, though sparkling Shiraz is gaining popularity.

Cap Classique is a South African sparkling wine produced using the traditional method. It is made most often from Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and less often from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Tips for serving sparkling wines:

Sparkling wine should be served cold (between 45 and 48 °F), and in a Champagne flute. The shorter and wider Victorian coupe is not as ideal because it lets the aromas escape and over-oxygenates the wine.

To open a bottle of sparkling wine without spillage, place your thumb on top of the cork, wrapping your fingers gently around the neck.  Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle.  Using your other hand, twist the bottle to ease out the cork.  Make sure the bottle isn’t pointed at anyone in case the cork shoots out unexpectedly.

Toast to William & Kate With the Champagne They’ll Be Drinking

You’ve selected your outfit. You’ve prepared an assortment of scones. All that’s missing from your royal wedding watch party is a bit of bubbly.

Toast to Prince William and Kate Middleton with the same Champagne the couple and their guests will be drinking — Pol Roger.

The Palace requested their non-vintage Brut Réserve to serve before the sit-down meal hosted by Prince Charles, according to Decanter.com.

The Champagne house located in Epernay, France has a tradition of producing sparkling wines that dates back to the mid 1800s.

Prince William and Kate aren’t the only Brits who enjoy sipping Pol Roger. Sir Winston Churchill was a big fan and became friends with Odette Pol-Roger after World War II. In 1975 the Champagne house created a cuvée in honor of the former Prime Minister.

In the past, Bollinger has been the Champagne of choice at royal weddings.  Queen Victoria issued a royal warrant to Bollinger in 1884, and Prince Charles chose it for his wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, according to Decanter.com.

The NV Pol Roger Brut Réserve is a blend of the three grapes allowed in Champagne: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Golden straw in color, the sparkling wine has notes of white flowers, apples and red berries with a crisp, refreshing finish.

image from Pol Roger’s website

Champagne Alternatives for Valentine’s Day

When you’re toasting with that special someone this Valentine’s Day, you don’t need to splurge on Champagne.  Excellent sparkling wine is produced around the world using the same method and often with the same varietals (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).  And there’s an added bonus of seeking sparkling wines outside of Champagne – often they come with a much lower price tag.

A quick note on Champagne production: Champagne is produced using the “traditional method,” during which the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle.  After the first fermentation, a measured amount of sugar and yeast is added to the dry still wine to initiate fermentation in the sealed bottle, producing the pressurized gas that gives the sparkling wine its bubbles.

Click here for more facts and figures on Champagne

Here are some Champagne alternatives for Valentine’s Day:

Crémant

You don’t have to leave France to find an alternative to Champagne.  Crémant is sparkling wine made in other regions, using the traditional method.  There are seven appellations which include this designation in their name: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bordeaux, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Die, Crémant du Jura, Crémant de Limoux and Crémant de Loire

Crémant may contain one or a blend of several grapes, as not all grapes grow in all regions.  The most common grapes include Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.

Suggested wines:

Jean Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Reserve ($18)
This Alsace sparkling wine is made in the traditional method from 100% Pinot Blanc.  Delicate and dry with elegant notes of apricot and toast, this Crémant is always a crowd-pleaser.

Blason de Bourgogne Crémant de Bourgogne Cuvée Brut ($10)
This sparkling wine from Burgundy is easy to drink and light on the tongue.  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.

Franciacorta

Franciacorta is Italy’s answer to Champagne.  It comes from the Lombardy region in north central Italy and is made using the traditional method.  The grapes used in Franciacorta are mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc), along with a small amount of Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir).

Franciacorta may not be as well known in the United States as Prosecco, but its high quality means it should be sought out by bubbly enthusiasts.

Suggested wine:

Ca’ Del Bosco “Cuvee Prestige” Franciacorta DOCG ($43)
Made mainly from Chardonnay (75%), along with Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, everything about this wine is elegant.  Pale lemon yellow in color with citrus, floral and toast notes, this sparkling wine is delicate and refreshing with nice acidity.

Prosecco

Prosecco is a familiar name for people who enjoy budget-friendly bubbly.  Prosecco is a sparking wine made from the Prosecco grape and produced in the Veneto region in northeast Italy.  It can be both fully sparkling (spumante) or lightly sparkling (frizzante).

Unlike Franciacorta, Prosecco is not made using the traditional method.  Instead the “charmat” method is used, whereby the wine undergoes its second fermentation in stainless steel tanks, rather than in the bottle.  This is a less expensive way of producing sparkling wine.

Suggested wine:

Nino Franco Prosecco Rustico ($17)
Frothy, delicate and fresh, this is a great sparkling wine if you prefer your Prosecco on the dry side.  Lively flavors of apple, pear and citrus culminate in a crisp finish.

Cava

Cava is an ideal sparkling wine for people who are looking for budget-friendly Champagne alternatives.  Though generally around the same price point as Prosecco, this sparkling wine from Spain has an advantage – it is produced using the traditional method.

Cava is mainly produced in the Penedès region in Catalonia.  It is traditionally a blend of the Spanish varietals Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo, though Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Subirat may also be used.

Suggested wines:

Poema Brut Cava ($9)
Easy to find (try Publix), and costing less than $10, this Cava is hard to beat.  A blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo, this sparkling wine is fresh and lively with subtle citrus flavors.

Codorníu Pinot Noir Rosé Brut ($16)
With its bright pink color, this Cava is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Made from Pinot Noir instead of the traditional Spanish varietals, this sparkling wine has flavors of strawberry, raspberry and toast that come together in a crisp citrus finish.

Cap Classique

Cap Classique is what South Africa calls its sparkling wine.  It is produced using the traditional method, from Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

If you like staying ahead of the trend, seek out a bottle of Cap Classique this Valentine’s Day — relatively new to many U.S. markets (which may make it tough to find), this sparkling wine is an excellent alternative to other New World sparkling wines.

Suggested wines:

Graham Beck Brut Rosé ($17)
Pale peachy-pink in color, Rosé doesn’t get any prettier.  This sparkler from the Western Cape is 58% Chardonnay and 42% Pinot Noir. Pleasantly sophisticated in flavor with hints of raspberries and cherries, it’s a fun and elegant sparkling wine.

Graham Beck “Bliss” Demi-Sec ($17)
If you’re looking for a sparkling wine that is a touch sweet but will still appeal to those who prefer it dry, try this demi-sec.  It is a mix of 54% Chardonnay and 47% Pinot Noir, with apple and citrus flavors that are rounded out by sweet almond, praline and a hint of honey.

Brachetto d’Acqui

On a holiday that’s saturated with the color red, Brachetto d’Acqui fits in perfectly.  This deep garnet sparkling wine comes from the Piedmont region in northwest Italy and is made from the Brachetto grape.  Like Prosecco, it is produced using the Charmat method.

Suggested wine:

Banfi “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG ($21)
This sparkling wine is easy to spot at a wine shop because of its vivid magenta color – and yes, that’s the color of the wine inside the clear bottle.  Rosa Regale says romance, with its notes of fresh raspberries, strawberries and rose petals.  Slightly sweet and light and body, it’s perfect as an after dinner drink and goes great with chocolate.

Champagne Facts and Figures

Champagne and the holidays are the perfect pairing.  But how much do you know about France’s prized sparking wine?  Test yourself or expand your knowledge with these facts about Champagne:

France is the top country for sparkling wine production, producing 42 million cases each year.  It is followed by Germany (35 million cases) and Spain (17 million cases).  By comparison, the United States produces 8 million cases each year.

Sparkling wine may only be called Champagne if it is produced in the Champagne region in the northeast of France.

The three grapes used for Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

A “blanc de blancs” is a cuvée or blend made from only white grapes; a “blanc de noirs” is made only from red grapes.

Champagne is produced using the “traditional method,” during which the wine undergoes two fermentations.  The first fermentation produces a dry still wine.  Next, a measured amount of sugar and yeast is added to initiate a second fermentation in the sealed bottle, producing the pressurized gas.

The traditional method is used to produce other sparkling wines around the world including many California sparkling wines, Cava from Spain and Franciacorta from Italy.

Sparkling wine produced in other parts of France using the traditional method is called Crémant.  Examples include Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne and Crémant de Loire.

Before the sparkling winemaking process was perfected in the late 1600s, secondary fermentation of wine was considered a fault (and it often broke wine bottles).

Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon is often inaccurately credited with inventing Champagne, though he did help perfect the process.

Today there are around 300 Champagne houses and thousands of independent growers.

There are six atmospheres of pressure in a bottle of Champagne.

The special bottles aren’t just for appearance – the thick glass bottles and special corks held in place by wire are needed because of the high pressure at which Champagne is bottled.

Most Champagne is “non-vintage,” a blend of wines from several vintages that has been aged on the lees in the bottle for at least a year.

Vintage Champagne is made from a single year’s harvest and produced only in the best years.  It is aged for a minimum of three years.

Finer bubbles indicate an older wine.  As the wine ages the carbon dioxide dissolves more thoroughly, resulting in a smaller bubble size.

Sparkling wines should be served at a temperature between 45 and 50 ºF.

To open a bottle of Champagne, remove the foil and the cage, keeping your thumb on top of the cork to prevent a sudden expulsion (and make sure the cork is not pointed at anyone or anything breakable). With the bottle at a 45 degree angle, hold the cork still in one hand while rotating the bottle with the other.  After a few turns the cork should slide out gently with a soft hiss.

An extra special way to open a bottle of Champagne (and one that requires a bit of skill) is to saber the bottle.  Using a sword, the cork is sent flying, along with the collar of the bottle.

Want to saber a bottle of Champagne in your own home?  First, remove the foil and cage and locate the seam that runs up the length of the bottle.  Using a heavy knife, quickly run the knife along the seam and strike the lip of the bottle.  The force and pressure will separate the collar from the neck of the bottle, expelling the cork.  Be careful when handling the knife as well as the broken glass on the neck of the uncorked bottle.

Cheers to a great 2011!