Tag Archives: Champagne

This #ValentinesDay: #Champagne, #caviar, and beauty tips from a burlesque queen

12 Feb

There’s a black leather Betsey Johnson moto jacket hanging in my closet. It’s a smidge too tight, and the leather has seen better days. But I cannot, will not, flat-out refuse to hand it over to Goodwill. The reason: the jacket was a Valentine’s Day gift from 25 years ago.

It wasn’t from my husband (we didn’t know each other then), nor was it from an ex. The giver was me. I was single at the time, and while not quite ecstatic about my solo state, I decided go shopping that Valentine’s Day. While 99.9 percent of the U.S. population sat in pairs swilling cheap sparkling wine at the neighborhood Romantic Restaurant, I was falling crazy in love with a minimalist but cool leather jacket that purred, “I’m single. Got a problem with that?”

Betsey

Which brings us–at warp speed–to today. Two days shy of V-Day.  I dedicate this post to all the single chicas out there. And hey, why not single chicos, too.  This Valentine’s Day, it does not take two to tango. It just takes you, a splash of sparkling wine, some caviar, and a little help from the delectable Dita Von Teese (ah, now I have the guys’ attention!).

Start your sublime solo celebration with some bubbles. Here are some recommendations to get you on the road to blissful:

Salton Intenso Sparkling Brut. Did you know Brazil produces some kick-ass sparkling wines? This is one of them. This dry white sparkler is made from a blend of Chardonnay (70%) and Riesling (30%) grapes. You’ll get beautiful yellow apple aromas with pear and pineapple on the finish. Best of all, it sells for about $15.

Salton

 

Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava. Cava is Spain’s signature sparkling wine, and this one retails for about $10. And I commend the folks at Freixenet for coming up with a Valentine’s cocktail recipe that’s fitting for today’s post. It’s called..wait for it…the Heartbreaker. Put a hibiscus flower in a wine glass, add two teaspoons of hibiscus syrup, and fill the glass with some chilled Freixenet Cordon Negro. Watch the flower bloom (oooooh, pretty!). Sip daintily. Repeat.

FX_Valentine'sCocktail

Champagne Taittinger Brut La Francaise NV. Why not have French Champagne on your Sublime Single Valentine’s Day? You deserve it. Made  from 40% Chardonnay grapes, 35% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier, Taittinger Brut La Francaise displays mouthwatering traces of honey and peach, with vanilla, white flower and fresh white peaches on the nose. Suggested retail price is $59.99.

Taittinger

And speaking of Champagne, Taittinger teamed up with “burlesque super heroine” Dita Von Teese to launch her new book, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour (Dita Von Teese with Rose Apodaca, Dey St., 2015). This bible of self-love is 400 sumptuous pages of exercise, skin care, makeup and hair styling tips from the muchacha who brought back the Naked-in-a-Martini-Glass form of self-esteem building. Me, I’d rather buy a leather jacket. But who am I to judge anyone for inspiring us all to shimmy into a gargantuan cocktail glass au naturel and revel in the decadence of it all. And a big, bodacious ¡ándale pues! to Rose Apodaca, the accomplished journalist and East L.A. denizen who wrote the book with Ms. Von Teese.

Beauty Mark

What’s a little self-love without some caviar? To round out your Sensational Solo Valentine’s Day extravaganza, I hereby empower you to order yourself some Khavyar, a new caviar brand that professes to take the snobbery out of this dreamy delicacy. For anywhere from $12 to $99 an ounce, you can indulge in local varieties. If you wake up feeling particularly royal (happens to me all the time!), treat yourself to an imported variety, which will cost $50 to $150 an ounce. As I said earlier, don’t ask why – you are worth it. In all, Khavyar offers 15 different caviar varieties from around the world. Um, yes please!

KHAVYAR-GALILEE_PRIME

Et voila. You can see that you don’t need anyone to tell you what you can and cannot do when it comes to celebrating el día de San Valentín. Love is far too complex; it’s not something that follows rules or conventions. The most important rule of all is to love yourself before you love someone else. Amen, and salud, to that.

 

 

 

El full disclosure: I received samples of the Salton and Taittinger wines, as well as a copy of the book for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

 

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Happy #NewYear! How to open a #Champagne bottle

30 Dec

Happy New Year, darlings! Ring in 2014 by showing that Champagne bottle who’s boss. By popular demand, here’s a post on how to uncork a sparkling wine bottle in five easy steps without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo. Cheers and may your glass be always full in the New Year!

Step 1: Remove the foil.

Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.

Step 2: Remove the cage.

Six twists is all it takes.

That wire you see at the top of the bottle  is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.

Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.

Condensation may cause the bottle to be slippery. You don’t want that. Take a dish cloth or towel and wipe off some of the moisture so that you can get a good grip.

Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.

Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it.  You’re preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down firmly, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.

Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.

Twist the bottle, not the cork., you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you should hear a fiesta-inducing pop, not a heart-attack-inducing BANG.

Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve  just won the Monaco Grand Prix.

What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Wasn’t that easy? Before your New Year’s bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini-Old Faithful.

¡Feliz año nuevo!

A disclaimer:

I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’

Vino 101: If you can’t call it Champagne, what is it?

24 Oct

Raise your hand if you’ve ever referred to a glass of bubbly as “Champagne” and were told by the nearest wine snob that [Audio Cue: a whiny, uptight voice]: “You can’t call it Champagne because it’s not from Champagne, France!”

Step 1: Removing the foil. Easy-peasy!

Well, I hate to say it, but he–or she–was right. Unless the wine was indeed Champagne. In which case you would have had Señorita Vino’s permission to douse the fool with a glass of ice water (why waste good wine?).

But not to worry, because in a matter of minutes you’ll be so well-versed in sparkling wine that you’ll never again be on the receiving end of some insecure know-it-all’s estiercol bovino (that’s polite Spanish for B.S.).

In a nutshell, the European Union has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) system, which protects the integrity of certain European food and agricultural products. You may be more familiar with France’s traditional term for its PDO wines: Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or AOC.

Think of it this way: There are authentic designer shoes, and there are knock-offs. If off-label companies can make covetable stilettos that make your legs look like Tina Turner’s, fantastic. But if those companies all labeled their shoes Christian Louboutin, that would be a problem. And Louboutin himself would throw une tres grande hissy fit. Can you blame the guy?

Photo credit: Arroser via Wikimedia Commons

Photo credit: Arroser via Wikimedia Commons

Like Louboutins, Champagne is  world-famous for its quality, and it’s produced in a very specific manner. The AOC designation distinguishes French Champagne from sparkling wines made elsewhere.  Back to the shoes, not every shoe with a red sole is a Louboutin unless it’s made by the house of Louboutin.

French Champagne must be made in the traditional method, that is, the wine gets its delicate bubbles from a secondary fermentation in the bottle. By contrast, cheap sparkling wines get a dose of carbon dioxide (like carbonated soft drinks). Other quality sparkling wines are made using the tank method. These wines are fermented in large, sealed tanks that trap the carbon dioxide (hence, bubbles).

DSCN1331

Under AOC rules, Champagne can be made with only three varietal grapes that must be grown in the region: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Sparkling wine that is not from the Champagne region can be made from other grapes. Which leads us back to the original question: If it ain’t Champagne, what the heck is it?

In very broad terms, you can call it sparkling wine. Depending where you are in the world, different countries have their own signature sparkling wines:

1. Cava – Produced primarily in Spain’s Penendés region and made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and local grapes, Cava is made using the traditional method. It’s got a crisp green fruit flavor with yeasty aromas.

2. Prosecco – This Italian sparkler is made from the Glera grape and produced using the tank method. You’ll get apple, peach, apricot and delicate floral aromas.

3. Asti Spumante – From Italy’s Piemonte region and made with Moscato grapes, you’ll taste sweetness with lovely peach, grape and rose aromas. Asti is also made by the tank method.

Because we live in an imperfect world, you’ll see sparkling wines that are labeled Champagne, but aren’t. This is where I get to use a $3 word: Eponym. The word Champagne is used by some as an eponym for sparkling wine. It’s like tissues. We know that not all tissues are officially branded as Kleenex®, yet we reach for a “kleenex” when we’re watching a sappy movie or crying tears of joy.

Me, I’d rather reach for a glass of sparkling wine. Care to join me?

¡Salud!

How to uncork a Champagne bottle

28 Dec

Happy holidays, my darlings! Señorita Vino has been on a much-needed Navidad break, so just in time for New Year’s Eve, I’m re-blogging a popular post on how to open a bottle of bubbly. 

My longer-term readers may recall that I originally wrote this post to coincide with the Academy Awards and my annual Oscars party. So just insert “New Year’s Eve” where you see “Oscars” or “Academy Awards” and you’ll be fine. Most important, here’s hoping your wine glass is always full in 2013.

Champagne will be flowing freely Sunday evening as Hollywood celebrates the 84th annual Academy Awards. Seeing the stars decked out in their finest is nothing like the kind of stars you’ll see if you’re hit with a rogue champagne cork at an Oscars party. If you’ve ever dreaded opening a bottle of sparkling wine, fear no more. Here, in five easy steps, is how to open a bottle of bubbly without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo.

Step 1: Remove the foil.

Step 1: Removing the foil. Easy-peasy!

Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.

Step 2: Remove the cage.

Step 2: Opening the cage. Six twists is all it takes.

That wire you see at the top of the bottle  is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.

Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.

Step 2a: Towel off! You don’t want a slippery bottle.

If the bottle has condensation on it, you may want to wipe it down with a towel so that you can get a firm grip without it being slippery. This will prepare you for Step 4.

Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.

Step 3: Cover the cork, don’t pull on it.

Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it.  You’re preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down with all your strength, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.

Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.

Step 4: We’re almost there! Twist the bottle, not the cork.

, you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you should hear a fiesta-inducing pop, not a heart-attack-inducing BANG.

Keep the bottle tilted to avoid getting sparkling wine all over your outfit, hair, pets, furniture, etc. It’s that dignity thing we mentioned earlier. See step 5 below.

Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve  just won the Monaco Grand Prix.

What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Step 5: Keep the newly-uncorked bottle tilted at an angle and pour the first glass.

Wasn’t that easy? Before your big Oscars bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly on your own a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini La Bufadora.

May your Academy Awards fiesta be a showstopper.

My 15-second acceptance speech:
I would like to thank my wonderful husband for taking these photos, for sharing a toast afterwards, and for making life one big Oscars party.

A disclaimer:

I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’

How to uncork a Champagne bottle

14 Jun

Chicas y chicos, Señorita Vino has been sequestered away studying for a wine final exam, which she passed with an ‘A’ !

What better way to celebrate than with a bottle of bubbly, no?  Here for your reading pleasure is a re-post of my pre-Academy Awards primer on how to pop open a bottle of sparkling wine without hurting yourself or a loved one. Yes, the Academy Awards are over, but this information is timeless, so read on!

And remember, any day is the perfect day for a glass of Champagne. ¡Salud!

Champagne will be flowing freely Sunday evening as Hollywood celebrates the 84th annual Academy Awards. Seeing the stars decked out in their finest is nothing like the kind of stars you’ll see if you’re hit with a rogue champagne cork at an Oscars party. If you’ve ever dreaded opening a bottle of sparkling wine, fear no more. Here, in five easy steps, is how to open a bottle of bubbly without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo.

Step 1: Remove the foil.

Step 1: Removing the foil. Easy-peasy!

Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.

Step 2: Remove the cage.

Step 2: Opening the cage. Six twists is all it takes.

That wire you see at the top of the bottle  is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.

Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.

Step 2a: Towel off! You don’t want a slippery bottle.

If the bottle has condensation on it, you may want to wipe it down with a towel so that you can get a firm grip without it being slippery. This will prepare you for Step 4.

Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.

Step 3: Cover the cork, don’t pull on it.

Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it.  You’re preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down with all your strength, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.

Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.

Step 4: We’re almost there! Twist the bottle, not the cork.

, you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you should hear a fiesta-inducing pop, not a heart-attack-inducing BANG.

Keep the bottle tilted to avoid getting sparkling wine all over your outfit, hair, pets, furniture, etc. It’s that dignity thing we mentioned earlier. See step 5 below.

Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve  just won the Monaco Grand Prix.

What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Step 5: Keep the newly-uncorked bottle tilted at an angle and pour the first glass.

Wasn’t that easy? Before your big Oscars bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly on your own a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini La Bufadora.

May your Academy Awards fiesta be a showstopper.

My 15-second acceptance speech:
I would like to thank my wonderful husband for taking these photos, for sharing a toast afterwards, and for making life one big Oscars party.

A disclaimer:

I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’

How to open a Champagne bottle

23 Feb

Champagne will be flowing freely Sunday evening as Hollywood celebrates the 84th annual Academy Awards. Seeing the stars decked out in their finest is nothing like the kind of stars you’ll see if you’re hit with a rogue champagne cork at an Oscars party. If you’ve ever dreaded opening a bottle of sparkling wine, fear no more. Here, in five easy steps, is how to open a bottle of bubbly without losing an eye, your dignity, or a close amigo.

Step 1: Remove the foil.

Step 1: Removing the foil. Easy-peasy!

Some sparkling wine bottles will have a small tab, much like a bottle of olive oil or balsamic vinegar, that makes it easier to remove the foil.

Step 2: Remove the cage.

Step 2: Opening the cage. Six twists is all it takes.

That wire you see at the top of the bottle  is called the cage. Find the little piece of metal that looks like a twisted loop, pull it straight and untwist it six times so that the cage opens. Fun fact: Every twisty loop on every bottle of bubbly in the world takes six to six-and-a-half turns to come loose.

Step 2a: Wipe the bottle dry with a dish cloth.

Step 2a: Towel off! You don't want a slippery bottle.

If the bottle has condensation on it, you may wish to wipe it down with a towel so that you can get a firm grip without it being slippery. This will prepare you for Step 4.

Step 3: Hold the bottle at an angle and cover the cork firmly with one hand.

Step 3: Cover the cork, don't pull on it.

Take note: cover the cork, don’t pull on it.  What you’re doing here is preventing the cork from going flying by placing your hand on top of the bottle and pressing down with all your strength, or, as my mother would say, sin asco.

Step 4: Turn the bottle gently while keeping a firm grasp on the cork.

Step 4: We're almost there! Twist the bottle, not the cork.

, you heard right. You’re not pulling on the cork. Trust me – it has all the motivation it needs to dislodge. Instead, you’re rotating the bottle itself while firmly grasping the cork until you feel pressure escape from the bottle. Make sure the bottle is not pointing at anyone, yourself included! It’s important not to panic here, chicas y chicos. Ideally, you shouldn’t hear a heart-attack-inducing BANG but a pleasant, fiesta-inducing pop!

Voila. An uncorked champagne bottle…with no casualties!

Notice how I'm keeping the bottle tilted. This is how you can avoid getting sparkling wine all over your outfit, hair, kitchen, pets, furniture, etc. It's that dignity thing we mentioned earlier. See step 5 below.

Step 5: Keep the bottle tilted unless you’ve  just won the Monaco Grand Prix.

What happens when you hold a just-opened bottle of sparkling wine upright? Two words: Champagne Volcano. So resist the urge to turn the bottle upright once the cork comes off. Unless of course you’re christening a new cruise ship, winning the World Cup, or channeling F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Step 5: Keep the newly-uncorked bottle tilted at an angle and pour the first glass.

Wasn’t that easy? Before your big Oscars bash, you may want to practice uncorking the bubbly on your own a few times, or with close friends who’ll still speak to you if you inadvertently shower them with a mini La Bufadora.

May your Academy Awards party be a showstopper.

My 15-second acceptance speech:
I would like to thank my wonderful husband for taking these photos, for sharing a toast afterwards, and for making life one big Oscars party. Here’s to you, mi amor!

A disclaimer:

I took artistic liberty in using the word ‘Champagne’ in this post. The only sparkling wines that can be called Champagne are those that are made in the Champagne region of France. Generally speaking, all others can be considered ‘sparkling wine.’ Stay tuned for a future post on this topic.

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