Ottawa, ON

December 29, 2017

Today on CTV Morning Live, CTV’s Henry Burris and Sommelier Matt Steeves showed some great sparkling wines, how to open those bottles without incident (and with confidence!), and some ways to jazz them up by making ‘Champagne Cocktails’.  Check out the CTV video here!

img_8791.jpgThere’s no better drink than sparkling wine to celebrate significant events, and New Year’s Eve is one that commands some bubbly.

Sparkling wine is the ultimate celebration beverage.  Whether you’re celebrating a major milestone with a bottle of iconic Champagne, such as Dom Perignon, or one of my all time favourites, Krug, or if you’re simply toasting being together with some close friends, sparking wines are the ideal drink for those occasions.

There’s certainly a time and a place for enjoying top notch Champagne, such as Krug, as it’s the ultimate celebration bubbly.  For life’s most special moments, a fine bottle of Champagne is a must, and certainly enhances the moment making it unforgettable.  When Neil Armstrong returned from the moon in 1969 the first alcoholic drink he enjoyed was a cocktail made with Champagne – I can’t blame him, I’d likely do the same!  For life’s other events there are plenty of tasty sparkling wine options for $15-$50. Italy’s famous Franciacorta and Prosecco, Spain’s Cava, and Canada’s traditional method sparkling wines are all great options, and typically can be found for as low as $15-$35 making them a great choice for your New Year’s Eve celebrations.

I’ve selected a full range of sparkling wines today, to suit every budget and occasion.  The wines I’ve chosen offer great value and would be terrific for your New Year’s Eve party celebrations:

1.    Blu Giovello Prosecco, Italy – $12.70 (reg $14.95)

blugiovello

2.    Benjamin Bridge NV, Nova Scotia – $32.95

BBNV

Matt’s review: Benjamin Bridge is increasingly becoming a top recommendation for Canadian Sommeliers when customers are looking to enjoy a premium sparkling wine with a delicious meal. Produced essentially the same way as Champagne, with all the labour intensive rituals, craftsmanship, and care, it’s no wonder why wine lovers around the world are getting excited about the high quality products that Benjamin Bridge is producing each and every year.

In 2015 Benjamin Bridge produced their first non vintage “NV” classic method sparkling wine. It’s a blend of L’Acadie, Vidal, Seyval, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, all from their estate vineyard. BB’s acclaimed winemaker, Jean-Benoit Deslauriers, reached deep into their library of vintage wines to craft their inaugural NV wine, which includes wine dating back to their first harvest, 2002. The nose shows crisp orchard fruit, brioche, with a touch of sea-breeze, for which this maritime winery is well known. The palate is crisp and tart with great texture from the never ending supply of fine bubbles. Lip smacking tart citrus and gum drop flavours make way to the long and palate cleansing finish. Ideally suited for enjoying with rich dishes, this NV is sure to be loved for it offers great quality at a terrific price. Benjamin Bridge continues to demonstrate that they’re a world-leader in premium sparkling wine production. Available winery direct and at wine stores across Canada (and internationally).  Pick-up your bottles of NV at LCBO starting December 9th, 2017, just in time for holiday gifting and entertaining.

Tasted December 2015, 2016, and 2017. Consistently 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

A bit of post show fun here when we had the CTVs and former RedBlacks star quarterback, Henry Burris, saber a bottle of Benjamin Bridge NV with a small 10mm wrench. Like a champ he nailed it on his first try!

3.    Krug Brut 2004, Champagne, France – $410 – one of the finest Champagnes you’ll ever taste!  Available at LCBO in Ottawa and Toronto.

2004-krug-champagne

Krug 2004: At first sight, the beautiful light golden colour promises radiant freshness. The nose begins with an expressive bouquet of ginger, candied citrus and quince, followed by richer notes evoking lemon meringue tart, plum and mirabelle.  On the palate, a very balanced Champagne with light notes of brioche and honey giving  way to an array of fresh citrus, including oranges, lemons and mandarins, enhanced by a very elegant finish.

FOOD PAIRINGS: KRUG 2004 PROMISES DELECTABLE PAIRING WITH SEA URCHIN, SALMON TARTAR OR CAVIAR. IT ALSO PAIRS VERY WELL WITH ARTICHOKE AND A LIGHTLY SPICED CREAMY MAYONNAISE SAUCE, DELICATE WHITE FISH IN LEMON SAUCE AND OLIVE OIL OR SOLE MEUNIÈRE AS WELL AS THAI CUISINE WITH GINGER AND LEMONGRASS. FRESH GOAT’S CHEESE AND CANDIED CITRUS UNDERLINE THE CHAMPAGNE’S BEAUTIFUL FRESHNESS, WHILE A LEMON MERINGUE TART MAKES FOR A PERFECTLY PAIRED DESSERT.

4.   Fresita Sparkling Wine, Chile – $14.95 (add a few cubes of ice and voila!)

fresita

5.    Featherstone Joy Premium Cuvée Sparkling Rosé 2015, Niagara – $29.95

joy rose

Matt’s review: Featherstone’s Cuvée Joy Rosé is a fine example of the mineral-driven premium traditional method sparkling wines that Featherstone Winery is producing on the Twenty Mile Bench. Delicate strawberry, cherry, and rhubarb notes are supported by refreshing red fruit acidity and limestone minerality on the finish. Paired beautifully with watermelon, feta, and mint skewars in the summer sun. Tasted June 2017. 90+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Although sparkling wine on its own is terrific, and perfectly suited to celebrating the occasion, a great way to jazz up that sparkling wine is by making sparkling wine cocktails! With so many options, there’s no limit on what you can create with sparkling wine, so why not try a few of these easy to make cocktails and impress your guests this New Years.

Here are a few of my favourites which we mixed-up today on CTV:

  1. Classic Champagne Cocktail;
  2. Iced 150;
  3. French 75.

Champagne Cocktails have been around since the mid-1800s and have been captured on screen in movies such as The Godfather and Casablanca!

Sparkling Wine Cocktails can be designed to enjoy before, during, or after a meal, and typically they are terrific on their own.

With most Sparkling Wine Cocktails the ingredients are simple and can be easily set-up on your counter or bar. For some, a bit of preparation is required, but the majority can be easily whipped-up in no time, making it easy to treat your guests to an extra special drink.

  1. Classic Champagne Cocktail

2012-cocktails-xl-champagne-cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1-3 drops bitters (careful not to add too much bitters).
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 5 ounces chilled Champagne (Krug would be unbelievable in this Champagne Cocktail)
  • (to up the octane, add 1 ounce of Cognac)

Directions

  1. Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac (if desired), and top with Champagne.
  1. The Iced 150

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As we wrap up an incredible year of celebrating Canada 150, which has arguably been the best year Ottawa has seen in a long time, I’ve created a delicious sparkling wine cocktail that takes two of Canada’s beautiful wines, Inniskillin Icewine from Ontario and Benjamin Bridge’s traditional method sparkling wine from Nova Scotia.  These two wines when combined produce a delicious cocktail suited for any special occasion.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine (the finest Icewine you can imagine)
  • 4 ounces Benjamin Bridge NV sparkling wine (one of Canada’s top rated traditional method sparkling wines)

Directions

  1. Just before serving, pour one ounce of Inniskillin Icewine into each glass. Fill with Sparkling wine, and garnish with a candied lemon twist, and a frozen cranberry just for looks.

Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Icewine 2015: Iconic Canadian winery, Inniskillin, is world renowned for their luxurious Icewines, and their Cabernet Franc Icewine is the best of the best! Rich and refreshing, with incredible complexity and perfect balance, it bursts with layers of brandied cherry, stewed plum and rhubarb, and the sweetest red strawberries you’ve ever tasted. Luscious with precise acidity that is the hallmark of the finest Canadian Icewines. Enjoy 2017-2030. Tasted December 2017. 96+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

  1. French 75 

 french-75

Ingredients:

  1. 1 part Death’s Door Gin
  2. 5 parts sparkling wine (Blu
    Giovello Prosceeo)
  3. ½ parts sugar syrup
  4. 1 part lemon juice

Directions:

  • fill up the shaker with ice cubes
  • pour lemon juice, sugar syrup, and gin into the shaker
  • shake well
  • strain into the champagne glass
  • fill up the glass with champagne
  • garnish with candied lemon twist

 

Ever wonder how to open sparking wine without the fear of it literally going everywhere you didn’t want it to?  Well here are some easy to follow tips which are sure to help you open those bottles safely, and with confidence.

how to open bubbly

Matt Steeves –  Sommelier, Wine Writer, and Director with the National Capital Sommelier Guild (www.sommelierguild.com)  Follow Matt on Twitter @QuercusVino  and check out  www.mattswinepicks.com for his top wine and spirits picks.