It’s been a life long love affair with the bubbly! And on the eve of the historic vote on new trade tariffs which will wreak havoc on the Wine and Spirits Industry, I thought it was appropriate to write about this love affair, throw in a Bubba and finish with a glass of Bourbon.
My parents were huge Champagne lovers. Dad’s range varied from the super yeasty, bread toast, honeyed, complex wines like Krug and Bollinger RD to our house Champagne (sorry folks yes we had a house Champagne when I was growing up) which was Perrier Jouet Brut NV. Every Chinese New Year’s my dad with Les Amis du Vin, always did a special Champagne and Chinese Food New Year’s Dinner for the members and we always started any dinner party with hors d’oeuvres and Champagne as people arrived. My first real job was as a tour guide in Reims at Champagne Mumm! I spent a summer there when I was a senior in High School and had the most amazing time taking people around the Champagne Caves and of course going to see other Champagne houses as well.
So this weekend when my dear friend who is a prominent retailer from South Carolina, came in to NYC, we made it a Champagne tour! I can remember a few years ago when I visited Charleston with another industry friend — and this is where the Bubba portion comes in– Bubba, we had a Champagne tour of Charleston. Actually it was a Champagne tour of mutual friend’s cellar where between the 4 of us (there was one other) we polished off a Magnum and at least 2-3 more bottles while sitting on her terrace overlooking the Charleston Harbor. Pretty much a perfect day. Most of what I remember is a Magnum of Ruinart followed by some older vintages of I think Moet and of course Pol Roger.
Prior to this visit she came with Bubba and stayed with me — my first house guests in my new/old place and of course she gifted me a Magnum of Ruinart so that we could start things off right! This time around we sat in the living room of the son of the owner of the store she works for (not a Bubba but a Junior) and toasted our day with a lovely bottle of Billecart Salmon Rose. Pretty much a perfect way to slide into a day of bubbly — a light salmon-pink, colored bubbly with zesty notes of citrus, raspberries and lovely crisp finish. Bottle polished off, it was now time to move onto the next venue! So around the corner we went to the local wine bar where we ate French Fries and drank glasses of Lanson Brut NV. Folks if you’ve never had French Fries and Champagne then you are missing out on one of the most perfect food and wine combinations! The crispy, saltiness of the fry is a great match to the drier styles of bubbly.
Full and filled, we were off to the next eating and drinking stop. This time it was for some Franciacorta and for those of you who’ve never had this Italian Sparkling Wine you are missing out! Nothing like Prosecco, Franciacorta is made according to strict methods just like a Champagne would be made. This one, Solouva is made with 100% Chardonnay and is an elegant balanced, fresh and crisp bubbly that went great with the fried arancini (rice balls.) So a few glasses later and along with an Aperol Spritz (it was a weird 67 degree F. day in middle January) we were ready to move on.
We enjoyed a lovely walk along the Highline and wound our way over to the new Hudson Yards. By now I hate to say it, I was tired of the bubbly and it was time for the Bourbon. I think you all know me by now so it’s not surprising that Bourbon would be my choice at the end of the day! I tried a terrific local NY State Bourbon from the Taconic Distillery. This is my new favorite local Bourbon. Tired feet and feeling a bit parched, my friends went for the wine and I went for the amazing smelling Taconic Dutchess Private Reserve Bourbon. Poured over a glistening block of whisky ice, the dark caramel colored liquid beckoned to be savored and it was. Honey and vanilla are the most prominent aromas with subtle notes of spice and a smooth long finish.
I was now finished. Great day filled with great friends, fun food, great bubbly and bourbon!