Monday, December 10, 2007

Things That Sparkle

Blog production came to a halt last week as I entered into phase 1 of my finals. Tonight, after presenting a group project to 20 some military folk, who happen to be taking a class with me, all I wanted to do was get home, quickly assemble dinner and celebrate the end of phase 1 with a glass a wine. Unfortunately I was in a bit of a wine predicament - I only had the following three options to choose from: a rich, dense South African Cabernet Sauvignon, a very special bottle of 1997 Riesling given to me as a gift, and a bottle of Cava.

Well, the Cabernet was out because it would certainly over-power any frozen item that I found to thaw out for my entree. And the Riesling was clearly far too precious and rare to crack open without being able to share it with at least a few other wine lovers. That left the Cava, which I had intended to use for some "festive" occasion. As I made my way downtown on the number 2 train I remembered that my good friends Dottie and John like to keep a bottle of bubbly in the fridge at all times. If Dottie and John could drink sparkling wine on a "regular" night, then so could I!

The more I thought about the idea of saving sparkling wine for special occasions the more it seemed odd. After all, Americans have no problem drinking other sparkling beverages on a daily basis. Think about it - we don't make a big deal about drinking "sparkling" coca cola, or "sparkling" Budweiser. In fact sparkling beverages are filling up vending machines, deli counters and big gulps everywhere. Why then do sparkling wines get such a fancy and exclusive reputation? Maybe the Krugs and Dom Perignons of the world are giving sparkling wines a bad rep. After all, just because they are called "sparkling" doesn't mean we have to give all bubblies diamond-like status. Yes, it is true that certain bottles of Champagne can be extraordinarily labor intensive (and therefore expensive) but other sparklers can be made in large vats or with simple C02 injections.

With my newly found desire to consume sparkling wine on a more regular basis, I sprinted out of the subway station and marched home. I found my frozen item of choice (Trader Joe's chicken and Vegetable dumplings... Delicious!) and made a quick side salad. I popped open my Cava and within 10 minutes (beat that Rachael Ray!) I was at the table. You are probably DYING to know...How does Cava pair with dumplings? Quite well in fact. The cava was dry and clean, standing up to the vinegar in my salad dressing. The slight hint of sweetness balanced my dipping sauce. The bubbles brought out the spice I added to my sauce.

Tasting Notes:
Savia Viva Blanco "Clásico" - 2006
A nice clean and simple sparkling wine that has the added bonus of being organic. It is dry but has good fruit. The website from the store said that there is "quince" fruit, but I honestly haven't had much quince (maybe just in preserve form) and so I didn't taste quince. What I can tell you is that that it was NOT too bitter, NOT too alcohol-y and also went well with the honey roasted peanuts that I had for dessert.

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