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It’s bubbles for June, of course!

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What is so great about sparkling wines? Do they tickle our noses? Do they sparkle in our glasses? Are they fun to drink? Yes to all of the above and then some. For decades, bubbles in the glass have been used to toast, celebrate and dance the night away.  Now that we are in wedding season (June), sparkling wines and tying the knot are primed to be perfect partners.

Looking at the history of Champagne, Dom Pérignon (1638-1715), the monk and cellar master at the Benedictine abbey Hautvillers, is widely credited as one of the stars who helped improve the quality of Champagne. By the way, he did not invent or discover the champagne method, as some historians had implied. But without the good monk, the techniques of making sparkling wine may have taken a different path.

As a young wine professional, some 40 years ago, I found myself with one of the world’s finest Champagnes: Krug Grand Cuvée. By far one of my favorite sparkling wine memories. I just could not remember if the bottle or the room was spinning. All kidding aside, from Spanish Cava to Grand Cru Champagne, few wines provide smiles like a good bubbly. Sparkling and fun, there is a reason why they show up as invited guests at weddings, graduations (only for the adults, please) and other special moments. As I was looking at what to recommend, I found so many in my sweet spot that I couldn’t stop at three. I chose six that I felt needed to be showcased.

Bodegas Naveran Brut Cava 2011 is a sophisticated sparkler that is great when the whole family shows up and wants to dance the night away. Frisky, with appealing complexities, this is one of the best cavas in the marketplace. Also from Spain is the even more stylish Gramona Grand Cuvee Cava, dashing and almost handsome, this one is sure to sweep your guests off of their feet.

Going into one of the world’s secret sparkling wine regions, Adami Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut Bosco di Gica serves up seductive flavors reminiscent of the Champagne region of France. Many Americans enjoy drinking sparkling wines made in the USA and why not? Who can argue with the quality of the Domaine Carneros Brut 2009 or the Schramsberg Blanc de Noirs 2009? Time has already proven how outstanding both of those wines are. They taste delicious when they are released and age nicely over time.

You probably thought I forgot about Champagne from France!  Bruno Paillard Brut is one of the region’s finest. With plenty of fruit and complexity, this well balanced effort stands tall at the head of its class.

So go ahead and celebrate! Wine.com has sparkling wines from all over the world in a range of price points. You may also like to challenge the chef in the house to create a dish ideal for pairing with bubbles. You will be surprised how well it performs in a fine dining atmosphere.

Wine and the Working Mom

If you’re a mom, you’re working. You may do it at home, you may do it at home and at an office, but you’re working. Virtually all the time. You may be knee-deep in diapers and nap scheduling, or maybe you’ve moved on to shuttling to school, practice, doctor appointments, or maybe you’re trying to figure out what the heck goes on inside the mind of a teenager. But you’re there, working, in the thick of it. And you probably (because you’re reading a wine blog) think about wine. Possibly often. Possibly even before happy hour.

“Don’t forget to get you mom a bottle of wine for Mother’s Day. After all, you’re the reason she drinks.” 

The connection between wine and motherhood is everywhere. It’s like an  inside joke between every mother who has called it “mommy juice,” or talked about “wine that tastes good in a sippy cup.”  The Facebook page “Moms who need wine” has over 683,000 likes. That’s 683,000+ moms who can relate to wine as a necessity in their role as mom.

So do we NEED wine?
Makes us all sound a bit lushy, doesn’t it? It’s not really the wine we need. It’s definitely part of it, but wine reflects a lifestyle and that’s what I think moms need.   As a company, we try to promote the wine lifestyle through innoeleanorWinevation. As a mom of 3 young girls (5 and under), the wine lifestyle means slowing down.  The end of the day is a time to unwind,  decompress and relax, whether it’s from being at an office or herding kids. Or both. And I (and others) like to do that with a glass of wine. Beyond the calming effects of the alcohol, those sips are about taking time away from frantically picking up or unpacking school stuff. It’s about slowing down and taking a break. With the kids, without the kids, over dinner or in a bath. Wine helps us enjoy life, and more than anyone, Moms need to remember to do that! So when you “need” wine, remember you really need to slow down. Sip and savor the wine. And your crazy, busy, joyful life.

So Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I hope you celebrate with a delicious glass of wine :) And if you have a mom, go get her a nice bottle! She needs it.

Roast Pork, white rice and brown gravy

Okay, you intense wine guys and super health folks, I fully realize that white rice has no nutritional value, but this dish when made right is really delicious. My question is what is the wine match? I like cru Beaujolais, such as a Saint-Amour or Fleurie or Brouilly (three of the 10 crus). I like a gentle red with lots of fruit and choosing these three crus seemed perfect. Give these reds a slight chill and enjoy. A good friend of mine Terry Tenopir recommends the Andre Ostertag Riesling from Alsace, hmm, that could be good too. What do you think? @wine_com

Tempranillo Day

It’s International #TempranilloDay – time to celebrate by opening up your favorite bottle of Tempranillo and sharing what you’re drinking and why you love it.

This grape, indigenous to Spain, is actually the fourth most planted wine grape in the world. It produces wines that are medium to full-bodied, with flavors of plum and cherry and a slight earthy note. With a food-friendly structure and excellent value, these wines are perfect for the fall season.

Tempranillo is the base for the majority of wines from Rioja and the Ribera del Duero. But it’s not limited to these regions – Spain actually has over 60 different regional names for the grape. The variety takes well to oak and you can find some pretty long-lived Tempranillos out there.

Our favorite food pairings include: tapas, paella, spanish cheese & meat, and bocadillos.

Need help finding a great Tempranillo? Check out our selection. Also, today (11/14), you’ll receive 10% off 6 or more bottles. Use code RIOJA in your cart!

Cheers to #TempranilloDay!

What to eat with your Cabernet

Cab and steak. That’s the pairing that most often comes to mind when thinking of food pairings with Cabernet. And for good reason – it’s a great match.

A slab of steak with the Conn Creek Cabernet. And yes, that’s my child’s Tigger plate in the background.

What makes Cab and steak go so well together? It’s all about the food components matching the wine components… In basic terms: Fat + protein breakdown tannins in wine.  And what does steak have? Fat and protein. Cabernet? Plenty of tannins there.

Tannins are a hard component, fat is a soft component. They, in turn, balance each other out. Tannins cut through the fat in the steak, bring out the juiciness in the meat, while the fat and protein in the steak tame the tannins, bringing out the fruit in the wine. It’s one of those pairings where 1+1=3.

There are plenty of other great Cabernet Sauvignon pairings out there. And since many Cabernet Sauvignons differ in the level and style of tannins, a variety of foods can pair well.

To be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card from Wine.com, tell us your favorite pairing with Cabernet and WHY!