Everything Pairs Well with Bubblies, Even Holiday Cookies...

Holiday cookies and champagne is a perfect pairing, but then everything seems to pair well with champagne. Forty neighbors recently joined me in my San Francisco winter pied-à-terre to toast the holidays and exchange cookies and good cheer. I hadn’t yet received all the notes below from Tahoe-based wine shop owners, so I was on my own at Costco. Since I also love Prosecco, there was plenty of that affordable bubbly too. You will find many nice choices at nearby wine shops without the bedlam of a Big-Box store during this holiday season.

First, a few official definitions, provided by The Champagne Bureau. Do an internet search for more interesting information!

• Brut NV (Non-vintage) is usually a blend of wines from several years and a number of 'crus.'

• Rosé Champagne is produced by macerating the black grapes or by adding locally produced red wine to the blend.


Debby Bullentini, proprietor of the L'uva Bella Wine Gallery in the Summit Sierra shopping center in Reno recommends Brut Souverain NV, which originates in Reims, France. $53.99 the bottle.

“First of all, I love the history of Henriot, since 1808 they have passed down the tradition of champagne making,” notes Debby. “The champagne is well balanced, but delicate. Beautiful small, tight bubbles race up the side of the flute with great white flowers, citrus and acidity on the palate. This wine can be served as an apertif, or even throughout a meal. To be specific, I think it will pair really well with fish, light dishes, and maybe something topped with an apricot/mango salsa.”

Marsha Wagner of Dockside 700 Wine Bar and Grill in the center of Tahoe City notes that they sell Freixenet Cordon Negro, Spain, for $12 per bottle. This is the Number One imported sparkling wine in the world! It is crisp, clean and well balanced with a medium body. Flavors are apple, pear and bright citrus and a crisp touch of ginger. Dockside 700 also offers many wonderful food treats to accompany your festivities.

Caroline Vogt, wine buyer, at the Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet near Tahoe City offers four bubblies for customers to pick up along with the wonderful appetizers, cheeses and baked goods that would go so well with holiday celebrations. Segura Vindas, a Brut Reserva CAVA from Spain, sells for $11 the bottle. It is created from a blend of reserve and non-vintage wines, and the aroma combines white fruits, citrus and tropical fruits, and light floral notes.

A California producer, J Vineyards, makes a lovely Brut Rose. At $27 the bottle, the winery describes this pinky sparkler well: “crisp, red berries, blood orange, lemon peel, concentrated flavors, perfect balance, effervescent, elegant The other J option is J Cuvee 20, which is their signature sparkling wine, made in a style that’ss both elegant and balanced. This is a blend from the fine cool-climate vineyards in the Russian River Valley. $23 the bottle.

The Piper Heidsieck Champage Brut, $39 a bottle, consistently gets high praise from Wine Spectator Magazine: "Firm and lightly toasty, this offers ripe flavors of quince paste, candied orange peel, grilled nuts and ground ginger. Shows fine balance and a pleasant juiciness that builds to the mouthwatering finish.”

Whatever you choose, your holiday will be so much more fun with a sparkling wine! Happy New Year!


L'uva Bella Wine Gallery, Summit Sierra Center, 13925 South Virginia St., Suite 248, Reno, NV 89511 tel: (775) 851-1110

Dockside 700 Wine Bar & Grill, 700 N Lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145. (530) 581-0303

Tahoe House Bakery & Gourmet, 625 W lake Blvd, Tahoe City, CA 96145 (530) 583-1377

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