Molly's Meal Match: Sparkling!
I have a love - hate relationship with sparkling wine. I love it, but it hates me...or loves me a little too much. It pairs with nearly everything and is incredibly easy drinking. So you can imagine, where that might lead many of us. It lead me to barfing off the end of a pier on my honeymoon, during a private lobster dinner for two. Yes, during and I had an audience.
In order to know sparkling wine, beyond personal levels of impairment - you need to know how it's made. Sparkling wine is made using either the traditional method or tank method. These methods significantly impact the way your wine tastes. Tank method, much like aging still wines in steel tanks - does not impart flavor during fermentation. Whereas, plenty of flavors are imparted when using the traditional method, because the wine is resting on the lees during fermentation.
The first fermentation begins in a steel tank and the second fermentation occurs in a large pressurized tank. The wine is then filtered and a mixture of sugar and wine (dosage) is added to the tank. Finally, the wine is bottled and sold.
The first fermentation occurs in the barrel or a tank, the juice is then sorted and bottled. The wine bottle is crown-capped and stored horizontally. The wine then begins secondary fermentation, while in the bottle.
During this time, the wine is aged on the lees (deposits of dead yeast). The bottles are then are riddled using a gyro-plate, until they are facing downward at an angle. Allowing the lees fall into the neck of the bottle, which are later frozen and the particles are disgorged.
A dosage is added to each bottle, then the wine is corked and secured with a metal cage. This dosage process controls the sweetness levels of the wine based on the sugar that is added. You can look for the sweetness level of the wine, on the label of the bottle. Here is the scale from driest to sweetest.
Brut Nature/Zero Dosage > Extra Brut > Brut > Extra Dry > Dry > Demi-Sec > Doux
Burrata & Citrus Salad
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir
This is a bright and delicious pairing that toes the line between cheating on your diet and sticking to your New Years Resolutions. The strawberry and toasted pecan aromas of the wine, deliciously highlight the nuttiness of the pistachios and the acidity of the sumac seasoning. The high acid in the wine and the salad is balanced by the fluffy burrata.
1. Using a sharp knife, slice off the top and bottom of each orange, so it stands flat. Then remove the remaining rind and the pith. Slice the oranges into discs.
2. Brush olive oil onto each side of the orange slices. Bing a medium sauce pan to high heat and place the oranges in the pan. Sear until they begin to char, about 30 seconds.
3. On a serving plate, place the burrata on a bed of arugula. You can either leave it whole or pull it apart into quarters (depending on the size of the burrata).
4. Arrange the oranges around the burrata, alternating colors of the oranges.
5. Top with pomegranate seeds, pistachios, chia seeds, and sumac. Drizzle with avocado oil and salt & pepper to taste.
Burrata Citrus Salad
Produce: 2 cara cara oranges 2 blood oranges ½ cup pomegranate seeds 4 cups arugula Refrigerated Goods: 8 ounces burrata cheese
Dry Goods: ¼ cup pistachios (roughly chopped) 1 tbsp chia seeds 1 tsp sumac 5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar salt & pepper to taste
Blanc de Blanc / Blanc de Noir
Blanc de Blanc is a sparkling wine that is made using only white grape varietals, Blanc de Noir indicates the wine is made using only black grapes. These styles are rarely made in the Champagne region of France. However, they can commonly be found in California and in other New World wine regions. They are delicious, dynamic and can be made in either fermentation method.
These wines can have aromas of oranges, apples, pears, almonds, strawberry, vanilla, bread and mushrooms. They pair deliciously with a variety of foods, from soft and nutty cheeses, to macadamia nut-crusted halibut, pork tenderloin, herb seasonings, and salty dishes. The bubbles, break up harsh flavors on your tongue.
Huevos Rotos con Prosciutto
Borrasca Brut Cava
Huevos Rotos (broken eggs) is a rich and robust breakfast. The high acidity in the wine is a flawless companion to the meal. It cuts through the creamy eggs and saltiness of the prosciutto and fries, while enhancing the aromas of fresh pear and green apples. This flavorful pairing has few ingredients and is very easy to make. So pop the Cava and crack some eggs!
1. Slice the potatoes length wise into 1/4 inch slices, then slice the ovals into 1/4 inch slices. They should look like fries.
2. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat. When the oil gets hot, add in salt, minced garlic and potatoes.
3. Cook for about 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the potatoes, are to your desired crispness, remove the pan from heat and transfer the potatoes to a plate with a paper towel. Reserve the oil.
4. Using the same oil, heat the pan back to a medium heat. When the oil is hot, fry the eggs one at a time - making sure the yolks don't break. 5. Split the fries into two shallow bowls with torn pieces of the prosciutto. Top the fries with the fried eggs.
6. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with parsley.
Huevos Rotos con Prosciutto
1/2 cup of avocado oil
1 tsp of paprika
pinch of salt
3 gold potatoes
1 garlic clove (minced)
fresh parsley (chopped for garnish)
4 slices of Prosciutto
Cava is the sparkling wine of Spain, made using the traditional method. It is made primarily using a blend of Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo grapes and sometimes Chardonnay. Rosé Cava varieties include Grenache, Monastrell, Trepat and Pinot Noir. Cava ages on the lees for a minimum of 9 months, Gran Rerserva requires a minimum of 30 months. It becomes more complex, nutty and creamy the longer it ages on the lees.
Cava is tart and fresh, with aromas and flavors of green apple, cherries, cucumber, citrus, pear and apricot. It pairs deliciously well with fragrant vegetables like artichokes and asparagus, fried foods, sushi, salad, seafood, cheese, creamy sauces or a flaky croissant.
Oenophile fact: If a sparkling wine in Spain is made using the tank method, it cannot be called Cava.
Champagne Marie de Moy Premier Cru
This is the ultimate salad that will fill you up and leave you wanting more! The savory Ahi Tuna juxtaposed by the tang of the olives and asparagus, somehow become harmonious with each bite. Each element of the salad, brings a different flavor and quality to the meal. The Champagne allows the dish to explode with flavor, while providing delicate aromas of white flowers and pears.
1. In a mason jar or small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and set aside.
2. In a large pot, cover the potatoes (2 inches of water above the potatoes) in well-salted cold water, and place over high heat.
3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the to heat to medium, simmer for 10-15 minutes (until the potatoes are fork tender). Drain the water and cover the pot, let the potatoes steam for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a medium sauce pan to high heat. Toss the asparagus with avocado oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the asparagus for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally. Asparagus should be cooked, but not stringy.
5. Season the tuna with a generous amount of salt and pepper, press it in to adhere. Drizzle avocado oil in a medium pan and bring it to high heat. Sear until the outer edge is browned and the inside is still pink (30 seconds each side).
6. Assemble the salad, pour 1/2 the dressing into a large bowl and add in the lettuce to toss. Split the lettuce onto 2 plates. 7. Divide and add the cherry tomatoes, cooked asparagus, olives, radishes, red onion, hard-boiled eggs, potatoes and sliced tuna to each plate. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and garnish with parsley.
8. Serve warm or at room temp.
Produce: 1 pound mixed baby potatoes (1/2 in discs) 1 bunch asparagus 1 bunch radishes (thinly sliced) 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved) 1/2 red onion (thinly sliced) 4 cups chopped romaine parsley (for garnish)
Produce: lemon (juiced) 2 tsp fresh thyme (chopped) 2 tsp fresh tarragon (chopped) 1/4 cup shallot (finely diced)
1/2 cup Niçoise or Kalamata olives (pitted) 2 tbsp avocado oil
4 hard-boiled eggs, (sliced)
1/2 lb of tuna (sliced into 1in steaks)
3 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup avocado oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Perhaps the most famous sparkling wine comes from the Champagne region of France. Champagne is predominantly made from Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay. It's made using Méthode champenoise (traditional method) and it is required to age for 15 months in the bottle, 12 of which must be aged on the lees. The minimum aging for a vintage wine (the year is on the label) is at least three years.
Champagne is an elegant and fresh wine, with mouthwatering acidity. The fine bubbles release aromas of brioche, orchard fruits, and creamy rich textures. Champagne is pretty much good with everything! From fried foods to bacon wrapped dates, to pungent cheese and flavorful salads.
Loaded Mediterranean Pizza
There are ubiquitous savory and acidic flavors in Mediterranean pizza, which calls for an impartial wine. The high acidity and flavor of lemon cello in the Prosecco, make a refreshing pairing to this loaded pizza - without muting any of the flavors.
1. Preheat your oven or Traeger to 425° with a pizza stone inside - the hot stone will prevent the pizza from sticking.
2. Meanwhile, build your pizza.
naan > marinara > sliced tomatoes > mozzarella > olives > artichoke > peppers > sundried tomatoes > arugula > feta
3. Cook your pizza for 7-8 minutes, the bread should begin to crisp and the feta will begin to melt. Pull, at your desired crispness.
4. Drizzle Tzatziki sauce over the top of the pizza.
5. Slice and enjoy.
Loaded Mediterranean Pizza
Produce: arugula Campari tomatoes (sliced)
Refrigerated Goods: shredded mozzarella feta Tzatziki sauce
Dry goods: Stonefire Naan marinara sauce Kalamata olives (pitted) artichoke hearts banana peppers sundried tomatoes
Due to its low price and easy drinking, Prosecco was the most popular wine in 2019. It is made using the Glera grape and the majority of the time it is made utilizing the tank method. These wines are less aromatic and flavorful than their, traditional method counterparts.
They have aromas of fresh flowers, citrus fruit, green fruits, stone fruits and almonds. Prosecco has great versatility, that makes it ideal to pair with appetizers, meat, fish, fresh Mediterranean style dishes, and rich salads. It also has the acidity to withstand strong cheeses and heavily spiced dishes like Pad Thai.
I hope you enjoyed learning about Sparkling Wine and checking out these pairing suggestions. If you have feedback, comments, or questions please feel free to comment below, post to The Wine Tails Facebook Page, or message me on Instagram.
Thank you Wine Simple, Wine for Normal People, The Wine Bible, and Wine Folly for providing me with amazing research materials. Follow along with The Wine Tails Pinterest page to see what gets me motivated and gives me inspiration for these pairings.
Cheers and happy sipping!