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TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Cocktails

The easy way out is to uncork the Champagne, pour and serve. The fun way is to offer a menu of Champagne cocktails.

When it comes to New Year’s Eve cocktails, we have a favorite: Champagne or other bubbly mixed with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, a French import made by a family-owned Parisian company. At about $30 a bottle, it’s one of our favorite gifts to fellow foodies.

While “elderflower liqueur” may sound like something from another century (and it is), it is exquisite to modern palates. It has a gorgeous lychee aroma aroma with flavor notes of grapefruit, orange, pear and peach. It’s simply luscious by itself or mixed with white wine, including any white sparkling wine. Here’s our review.


The classic Champagne cocktail. Photo courtesy Chambre de Sucre.


St. Germain liqueur: a perfect pairing with
Champagne and other bubbly. Photo
courtesy St. Germain | Paris.



  • Classic Champagne Cocktail: Sprinkle a few drops of bitters onto a sugar cube; let them soak in. Drop the cube into a flute with a splash of Cognac. Top with Champagne.
  • Ginger Champagne Cocktail: Add ginger liqueur to a Champagne glass, top with Champagne and garnish with a piece of crystallized ginger.
  • Grapefruit Mimosa: The classic Mimosa with orange juice is too much of a brunch standard to be special for New Year’s Eve. But a Grapefruit Mimosa isn’t something you come across often. Here’s a recipe; garnish with candied grapefruit peel.
  • Kir Royale: A Kir Royale mixes sparkling wine with crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). Add the liqueur to a Champagne glass and then pour the wine down the side. Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) is equally delicious (just don’t call it a Kir Royale). Optional garnish: a fresh blackberry.
  • Champagne Lemon Drop: Make lemon simple syrup by stirring equal parts of sugar and water over medium heat until dissolved. Juice three lemons; cut the peel into garnishes. Combine champagne, 1/2 to 1 ounce vodka, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon each simple syrup and lemon juice; garnish with peel.


    Champagne punch is another special way to usher in the New Year. The trick is to keep the ingredients as cold as possible before mixing the punch, so you don’t need to use a lot of ice, which dilutes it.

    This recipe is from the Hyatt Regency New Orleans: It combines our favorite Champagne-St. Germain cocktail with a vodka kick. It’s called “garden” Champagne punch because of the aromatic herbs used as garnish. It’s lovely at any time of year and the pretty herb garnish is an eye-opener.


    Ingredients For Pitcher Or Punch Bowl

  • 9 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (recipe)
  • 1 bottle chilled Champagne or sparkling wine
  • 3-1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish: basil, cilantro, cucumber, mint, rosemary, thyme

  • Punch bowl or pitcher
  • Ice cubes*

    1. COMBINE vodka, St. Germain, simple syrup and lime juice in a punch bowl or pitcher combine. Chill until ready to use. Prior to serving…

    2. ADD Champagne to the mixture and pour over ice; garnish and serve.

    If you can’t get a bottle of St. Germain, substitute orange liqueur (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, etc.) or other fruit liqueur, and add some orange slices or other corresponding fruit to the herb garnish.

    If you have lychee liqueur, use that with a garnish of herbs, oranges and lychees (available canned in the Asian foods aisle; fresh lychees are in season from spring through early fall).

    *The larger the ice cubes the slower they melt. One option is to freeze a block of ice in a small loaf pan or other container. You can add fruit and/or herbs to decorate the ice.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Champagne Recorker (Resealer)

    We have been using this indispensable gadget since it first came onto the market, back in our college days. Yet, when we use it in front of guests, most look on with amazement—they’ve never seen a Champagne recorker before.

    So today’s tip is: Get one for anyone who enjoys a bottle of bubbly. They’re less than $10 in chrome, and we received a plastic version freebie from Yellow Tail that works just as well.

    And for the price, it’s painless to include one when you give a gift of Champagne. Or give them as wedding or anniversary party favors.

    A Champagne recorker (also called a resealer) creates a tight seal at the mouth of the bottle, so the bubbles stay in. A rubber “cork” under the chrome cap fits the mouth of the bottle, and two “wings” clamp down to create the seal.

    It works like a dream, and makes us wonder why it wasn’t created centuries before. (Champagne has been around since the early 1700s, and rubber has been manufactured since around 1820.) We use it:


    A champagne recorker keeps it sparkling. This one is available from the Wine Enthusiast. Photo courtesy The Wine Enthusiast.

  • To keep the fizz in the bottle in-between pourings.
  • If we want just a glass or two but not the whole bottle.
  • If we need just a cup or so for a recipe.
  • If we have “leftovers” at the end of the evening.
    You can buy a Champagne recorker wherever kitchen gadgets are sold; online; and depending on your state of residence, in the store where you purchase the bubbly.

    The Champagne recorker keeps the wine fizzy for several days. The fuller the bottle, the fizzier it stays (i.e., if there’s only an inch or two of wine at the bottom of the bottle, there’s a lot of air into which the effervescence can evaporate). We just finished a bottle that was opened six weeks ago to taste just half a glass—and it was “like new.”


    According to Wikipedia, the Champenois (residents of the Champagne region) and other French who bought the wine drank it as a still wine (it’s made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes). Bubbles were considered a defect. They are the result of a secondary a fermentation process which takes place in the bottle, as yeast devour the grape sugar and create carbon dioxide.

    But the British—major customers for the wines of France—developed a taste for the unique bubbly wine, and the sparkling version of Champagne continued to grow in popularity, especially among the wealthy and royal (as opposed to the locals). More Champenois wine makers attempted to make their wines sparkle deliberately, but didn’t know enough about how to control the process or how to make wine bottles strong enough to withstand the pressure.

    In the 19th century these obstacles were overcome. Advances by the house of Veuve Clicquot in the development of the méthode champenoise made production of sparkling wine profitable on a large scale, and the modern Champagne wine industry was born. The house of Bollinger was established in 1829, Krug was in 1843 and Pommery in 1858.
    Do you know the different types of Champagne?



    TIP OF THE DAY: Deglaze The Pan

    Have red wine? Pour it in! Photo courtesy


    When you cook or bake with alcohol, you’re probably aware that the heat evaporates much (but not all) of the alcohol. The New York Times report that a sauce made with wine, then simmered and stirred for 30 minutes, can retain as much as a third of its alcohol content. (Results will vary depending on the particular cooking method.)

    But what about the health benefits* of the red wine in the sauce? Since the healthful compounds are in the grape concentrate, not in the alcohol itself, cooked wine without alcohol still appears to have some health benefits. Here’s the full article.

    And that bit of news inspired today’s tip: Use red wine (or other liquid) to deglaze a pan. This is no 30-minute undertaking: You can do it in three minutes.


    Deglazing is the simple process of creating a pan sauces after you sauté a protein: fish, meat or poultry.

    You simply add a cold liquid (beer, brandy, broth/stock, cooking water, fruit juice, vinegar, wine, etc.†) into the pan and scrape up the flavorful roasty bits of protein, called fond, that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.


    This is the same technique used to make gravy from the drippings in a roasting pan.


    Fond is the French word for bottom—in this case, the small, tasty bits on the bottom of the pan. Fond is concentrated flavor: Why scrub it away in the sink when you can turn it into something delicious? Deglazing is simply combining the fond with a liquid to create a sauce.

    Note that fond comprises roasted brown bits. If you you have burned protein on the bottom of the pan, don’t use it: The sauce will taste burned.

    “Fond” is also the French word for stock:

  • Fond blanc is white stock.
  • Fond brun is brown stock.
  • Fond de vegetal is vegetable stock.


    1. REMOVE the cooked fish, meat or poultry to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

    2. POUR off most of the fat in the pan. Turn the heat up to high and add the cold liquid. (NOTE: If using alcohol, remove pan from heat when adding). The liquid will shortly begin to boil.

    3. SCRAPE up the fond with a wood spoon or spatula, as the liquid boils. When all the fond is incorporated, turn down the heat. The sauce is ready.
    *Red wine, in moderation, provides antioxidants, including resveratrol, that may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. Resveratrol is a polyphenol compound found in red wine and certain plants that has antioxidant properties with possible anticarcinogenic effects. Here’s the scoop from the Mayo Clinic.

    †Don’t use cream or other dairy, which can curdle in the heat.


    Remove the protein, add red wine or other liquid, and deglaze the fond into a delicious sauce. Photo by Raz Marinkka | IST.




    GIFT: Downton Abbey Wines

    When Mr. Carson pulled a bottle of wine from the cellar for Lord and Lady Grantham, it was invariably a fine claret (Bordeaux), the wine of choice among the British nobility of Edwardian England. With fish, a “blanc” made from the Sémillon grape was served.

    So is it a surprise that the hit show “Downton Abbey”—120 million viewers worldwide—has engendered a licensing deal for “Chateau” Downton Abbey?

    While the nobility would never have commissioned “private label” wines with their family names and crests, the conceit is amusing to us moderns.

    We haven’t tasted it, but the caliber of the wine is probably not quite what the Crawleys enjoyed. Yet, the fun factor is up there and at $14.99 per bottle, you can afford it. Think of it as a gift for any Downton Abbey fan, or a fun surprise for Thanksgiving dinner.


    Food fun: Downton Abbey wines. Photo courtesy Downton Abbey Wine.


    The Downton Abbey Wine collection is made by Grands Vins de Bordeaux, a 130-year-old family-owned operation in the Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. While not well known in the U.S., the appellation is one of the largest in the Bordeaux region, and produces three quarters of the red wine sold under the generic Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Supérieur labels.

    Downton Abbey Wines are available online at and, and at selected wine retailers nationwide.

    Don’t forget to don white gloves before you pour.



    SPARKLING WINE: Limited Edition Chandon Blanc de Noirs

    The limited edition bottle for Holiday 2013
    is wrapped in snowy white and festive
    stars. Photo courtesy Chandon.


    If you’re looking for a special yet affordable bubbly for the holiday season, take a look at this limited edition sparkler from Chandon, a Blanc de Noirs champagne-style wine.

    Blanc de Noirs means “white from black,” referring to the white wine that is produced from black* Pinot Noir grapes. Its counterpart is Blanc de Blancs, a white wine produced from white (Chardonnay) grapes.

    Most champagne-style wines are a mix of Pinot Noir and chardonnay grapes. A Blanc de Noir is all Pinot Noir; a Blanc de Blanc is all Chardonnay. (The winemaker may add a small amount of a black grape, Pinot Meunier, to add structure to the wine.)

    Blanc de Noirs is a versatile wine, a great match with everything from fruity to spicy to salty foods, and the often hard-to-mach Asian, Latin American, Mexican and Southwestern cuisines. Pair it with just about anything.

    *Actually dark purple.


    Chandon Blanc de Noirs is a full-flavored, fruit-driven blend with a light copper hue. There are red fruits—strawberry, currant and cherry—on both the nose and palate.

    The suggested retail price is $24.00 at wine stores nationwide or



    HALLOWEEN: Wines For The Occasion

    Which witch is that on Les Sorcières wine?
    Photo courtesy


    Your wine store should feature some “special Halloween wines” if you’d like to serve (or make a gift of) a theme wine. While it might take some time to track down all of the following wines, consider this advance notice for a sophisticated Halloween event next year: a tasting of Halloween-appropriate wines.

    Intrepid searches are certain to find more options, but here’s a good starting list.


    Les Sorcières
    Producer: Clos des Fées
    Area: Roussilon, France

    A syrah-based wine from the southeast edge of France, this vineyard’s name means “the walled vineyard [clos] of the fairies.” “Les Sorcières,” the name of the blend, means “the witches,” one of whom is featured on the label, flying through the skies of Roussilon. Here’s the website.

    Casillero del Diablo: Assorted Varietals
    Concha y Toro
    Central Valley, Chile

    The name of this line translates to “the devil’s goalkeeper,” and the bottle does feature the head of the devil (or is it his goalkeeper?) at the neck. Reds include Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Malbec and Merlot; white wines are listed below. We couldn’t find the English version, but here’s the Spanish website.

    The Dead Arm Shiraz
    Vintner: d’Arenberg
    McLaren Vale, Australia

    To wine industry professionals, this wine’s name is not sinister—but no one at the party will know that. This top-of-the-line shiraz is made from old vines, which are known as “dead-arm” grapevines because, with age, a fungus known as grape canker slowly kills one or more of the branches. (There’s a benefit here: Fewer branches reduces the yield of the vine and intensifies the flavor in the grapes.) The elegant label features the d’Arenberg family’s coat of arms and a cordon rouge, but all of the wines from this vintner have colorful names. Check out the website.

    Vintner: Bogle Vineyards
    Area: Clarksburg, California

    Made in Yolo County, near Sacramento, the label describes the wine as “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” The label features a rendering of creepily gnarled old vines, which look like they could snatch you and have you disappear. The wine is a blend of old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and old vine Mourvèdre. To our knowledge, no old vines have actually snatched any living thing. Website.

    Phantom Rivers Wine: Assorted Varietals
    Vintner: Phantom Rivers Wine
    Area: Central Coast, California

    As with Casillero del Diablo (above), the spookiness is in the name of the winery, not a particular bottling. Whatever varietal you’re looking for, you’ll find it. Red offerings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Petit Syrah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Syrah, Zinfandel and a dessert Zinfandel. The whites are listed below. Website.


    Sinister Hand
    Vintner: Owen Roe
    Area: Wapato, Washington

    This grenache-based wine features a severed hand on the label. The image references an Irish legend where, in a race to be the next king of Ireland, one of the contenders severs his own hand to win. The wine may taste better if you don’t know the legend. Here’s the website.

    Spellbound: Assorted Varietals
    Vintner: Robert Mondavi
    Area: Lodi, California

    The Spellbound line features a ghostly moon on a black label. Inside the bottle: your choice of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Petite Sirah Reserve, plus Chardonnay. See them all at


    A wine based on a legend of a bleeding, severed hand. Photo courtesy Owen Roe.


    The Velvet Devil Merlot
    Vintner: Charles Smith Wines
    Area: Walla Walla, Washington

    With bold lettering and a prominent forked trident, this wine screams “Halloween.” The Broncho Malbec voodo-art motif and the King Coal Cabernet/Syrah blend skeleton king fit right in; and if you need more, the Boom Boom! Syrah features a lit bomb. Check them all out on the company website.


    Casillero del Diablo Reserva
    Vintner: Concha y Toro
    Area: Central Valley, Chile

    As noted above, this line also offers Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Phantom Rivers Wine
    Vintner: Phantom Rivers Wine
    Area: Central Coast, California

    As noted above, this winery also makes Muscat.

    Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay
    Vintner: Craggy Range
    Area: Havelock North, New Zealand

    This wine is named after Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, which itself is named for a 1769 attempt by local Maori to abduct a member of Captain Cook’s crew (details). Little did either side know back then that the area would become a great spot to grow Chardonnay grapes. Website.

    Spellbound: Chardonnay
    Vintner: Robert Mondavi
    Area: Lodi, California

    See the notes under Halloween Red Wines, above.

    And think of what a great night you’ll have, wearing a costume and tasting these wines. Perhaps the dress code should be: dress like one of the wines you’ll be tasting.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Try Some Cold Saké

    Saké Cider: a saké cocktail for harvest
    season. Photo courtesy Haru.


    Today is National Saké Day, or “Nihonshu no Hi,” as it’s known in Japan.

    In Japan, October 1st is the traditional beginning of the new saké season. Brewmasters across the nation begin the process of producing their saké.

    Today, forget the hot saké served at restaurants. It’s bulk saké, and often has an alcoholic burn of a lower-quality product.

    Instead, try saké flights or saké-infused cocktails made with a higher quality product. Chilled, premium saké is as appealing as white wine, and pairs easily with non-Asian cuisine.

    We’re doing flights, trying some different saké brands. We have a supply of traditional saké cups (masu), although any wine glass or shot glass will do. The traditional toast: “Kanpai!” (pronounced con-PIE).



    Consider this harvest-themed Mr. Beam’s Saké Cider, created with Jim Beam Black, Reiko Cold Sake and fresh apple cider. It was a seasonal special last autumn and winter at Haru Saké Bar and the Haru restaurants in New York City and Boston. We liked it so much, we’re reviving it on THE NIBBLE (although you’ll have to choose something else on the menu at Haru).


    Ingredients For One Drink

  • 1.5 ounces Jim Beam Black
  • 1.5 ounces cold saké
  • 3 ounces apple cider
  • 2 ounces sour mix


    1. COMBINE ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.

    2. STRAIN into a rocks glass or Martini glass.


    Quality cold sake. The cup is called a masu. Photo courtesy Tedorigawa Brewing Company.


    SAKÉ 101

  • Although some Americans think of saké as “Japanese wine,” it is brewed, just like beer. Traditionally vinified Japanese wines include rice wine and plum wine.
  • Saké, the drink, has an accented “e,” and is pronounced SAH-kay. Sake is the word for salmon, has no accented “e,” and is pronounced SAH-keh.
  • Learn all about sake and how to understand restaurant saké lists.
  • Glossary of saké terms and types of saké.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Sorbet Dessert Cocktails

    Drinking your dessert is especially delightful on a warm summer night.

    Start with a scoop of your favorite sorbet in a wine glass or stemmed dessert dish; top with sparkling wine and an optional garnish.

    You can have a higher proportion of wine to sorbet, as in the photo at right—a glass of sparkling wine with a scoop of sorbet.

    Or, take the other approach: A dish of sorbet with a sparkling wine pour-over, as in the photo below.

    Either way, you’ve got something light and luscious, with no more effort than scooping sorbet and pouring Champagne. That’s a win-win in our book.

    Beyond the simplicity of sparkling wine and sorbet, you can add a scoop of sorbet to a conventional cocktail:

  • Peach sorbet in a Bellini (Bellini Cocktail Recipe)
  • Orange sorbet in a Mimosa or grapefruit sorbet in a Grapefruit Mimosa (Grapefruit Mimosa Cocktail Recipe—substitute orange juice for the grapefruit juice in the recipe)

    A glass of Prosecco with strawberry sorbet. Photo © Auremar | Fotolia.


    You can also add the sorbet to non-sparkling cocktails, for example:

  • Lemon or lime sorbet in a Margarita
  • Raspberry sorbet (cranberry, if you can find it) in a Cosmopolitan
  • Pineapple sorbet in a Piña Colada
    Seek inspiration by looking at the flavors of sorbet in your market. Don’t be scared off by exotic flavors. One of our favorite creations is a French 77 (Champagne and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur) with lychee sorbet that we found in an Asian market. (Elderflower tastes a lot like lychee.)

    And then, there’s the ice cream cocktail. Two of our favorites:

  • Coffee ice cream in a Black Russian or White Russian (recipe)
  • Godiva chocolate liqueur with chocolate and vanilla ice cream

    Lemon sorbet with a Prosecco pour-over.
    Photo © Auremar | Fotolia.



    Asti or Asti Spumante, from the Asti region of Italy, is a sweeter style of sparkler made from Muscat grapes. The sweetness is perfect for dessert pairings, and the lighter body and low alcohol content (about 8%) help.

    Cava, from Spain, is available in white or pink. As with Champagne, it is made in different levels of dryness/sweetness.

    Champagne, the world’s most famous and costliest sparkler, is produced in the Champagne region of France. Although even the least expensive bottles are pricey, you can find something in the $25 range. Unless you’re a rock star, don’t pour Dom Perignon into a sorbet cocktail: The sweet sorbet will overwhelm the complexity and finesse of a great Champagne.

    Cremant, from France, is a sparkler that can be produced in any region. It has lower effervescence than Champagne, giving it a creamy mouth feel.


    Espumate, from Portugal, is light-bodied and very affordable sparkling option ($6-$8).

    Prosecco is an Italian version of Asti (using the same production method), but it is dryer due to the grapes used. Light in body, it is available in lightly sparkling and fully sparkling varieties.

    Other sparklers, less frequently found in the U.S., include Methode Cap Classique from South Africa, Sekt from Germany, Sovetskoye Shampanskoye from Russia, Sparkling Shiraz from Australia and Trento Doc from Italy.

    When you’ve created your signature sorbet cocktail, please share the recipe with us!



    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: CapaBunga Wine Bottle Cap

    CapaBunga is an airtight cap for open wine bottles. No leaks ever again! Photo courtesy CapaBunga.


    Cowabunga dudes: We just love the Capabunga.

    We get lots of pitches for gadgets that are also-rans. But every so often, we find something that’s simply superb. That’s how we feel about CapaBunga.

    And most of us can use a few of these inexpensive wine bottle resealers, so consider your stocking stuffers and small house gifts taken care of.

    CapaBunga is a reusable silicone cap that reseals a bottle of wine—no need to jam the cork back in, grab the Vacu-Vin, or other technique. It fits any wine bottle. And it just slips on, like a silicone sock.

    Once you remove the cork and re-seal the bottle with a CapaBunga, it creates a vacuum in the bottle and is liquid-tight. The bottle can be stored upside down without leaking (or more realistically, on its side in the fridge).

    At $7.95 for two, it’s a no-brainer gift for anyone who drinks wine.

    Read the full review.




    WINE: Summer White Wines You’ve Never Heard Of

    This guest post is from Jim Laughren: wine collector, former president of a Florida-based wine import and distribution company and founder of WineHead Consulting. A Certified Wine Educator, Jim has conducted hundreds of teachings, tastings and training sessions, and has visited wine regions throughout the world. He is the author of A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Knowing And Enjoying Fine Wine. He recommends three exciting white wines you’ve probably never heard of.

    As a kid in New England, growing up within earshot of chilly North Atlantic waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline, “summer whites” referred to lightweight, summer uniforms donned by the swabbies at nearby Newport Naval Base. While I’m sure the sailors were glad to trade in their peacoats and winter woolens for something a bit more comfortable, many modern day sailors—of the culinary variety—have grown tired of their summer whites and would love to find some delicious new wines for onboard entertaining.

    Whether grilling in the backyard, welcoming friends to the summertime table or lounging next to the pool. If you’re still reeling from the ABC syndrome (anything but Chardonnay), and have had your fill of not-too-exciting Pinot Grigios, take heart. There are some wonderful white wines out there just waiting to be discovered.


    Txakoli, pronounced cha-ko-LEE, from Spain’s Basque region. Photo © Jose Ortuza.


    Today’s recommendations are delicious, affordable and uniformly hard to pronounce. Pronunciation keys are provided, of course, so you can inquire with confidence at the wine store.


    The Basque country of northern Spain us one of the world’s centers of great cuisine. When a light white is needed, the locals call for Txakoli. Ppronounced cha-ko-LEE, it’s a lively, light-to-medium bodied wine with a slight effervescence.

    Typically pale straw in color with dramatic, mouth-watering acidity, expect to find honey, citrus and stone fruit notes that go beautifully with light, simply prepared seafood. It’s the answer to the question of what wine is perfect with grilled octopus.

    If the wine’s name isn’t enough to give you pause, consider that it’s made from the grape variety Hondarrabi Zuri (onda-RAH-bee THOR-ry, with a rolled “r” on rabi).


    Edelzwicker, meaning “noble blend.” Photo
    courtesy Domaine Mauler | France.



    Edelzwicker (AY-del-ZVEE-kur) is next in our lineup of who-named-these wines. The name means “noble blend.”

    Edelzwicker is a scrumptious, fuller bodied white that easily handles foods like smoked salmon, light pork and veal dishes. Higher in alcohol than Txakolis, these wines hail from Alsace, that northeast corner of France that’s been a ping-pong ball of territory batted back and forth between Germany and France since the Romans first established the region as a viticultural outpost around 50 B.C.E.

    Edelzwickers are a free-form blend of any or all of the best Alsatian varieties, including Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and/or Sylvaner. Despite the lack of uniformity in composition, these wines are usually a lovely yellow color with open, fruity aromas. A similar, and more easily pronounced, wine, called Gentil, hails from the same region and is nearly indistinguishable.



    It may sound more Italian than Greek, but Moschofilero (moss-ko-FEE-leh-roe) hails from the highlands of the central Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. This rather marvelous white wine is vying to become my new, new favorite.

    Moschofilero, a pink-skinned grape descended from the ancient Filero grape family, produces wine that is light in color and known for its effusive aromas of roses and violets, followed by some nicely textured, spicy fruit flavors. This wine has presence; in fact, it’s hard not to be impressed with this particular wine, regardless of the wine styles you’re normally drawn to.

    There you have it: three unique wines, three excellent summer sipping options. While you may have trouble getting all the syllables in order, you shouldn’t have any problem finding them at most good wine shops.

    Let your retailer know you want the best examples of these wines. After all, life is short; why drink anything less than excellent? Txakoli, Edelzwicker and Moschofilero are able, exotic and ready for deployment as your new summer whites. Do your palate a favor and welcome them aboard.



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