Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rose NV

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Ros_HIRESWhy do we save champagne only for New Year’s Eve and other special occasions? Are we afraid it would lose some of its distinction if we opened it more often? Perhaps. Yet, I’m in favor of increasing the frequency of celebratory events. Something along the lines of, “Hallelujah, it’s Saturday; break open the bubbly.”

And I especially like drinking champagne, or, if you must, sparkling wine, on a hot summer day. Sitting in the spa (once the temperature has been reduced so that it is more of a tepid tub than a hot tub) with a champagne flute (yes, real glass, no plastic, please) within reach is one of those moments when one is prompted to declare, “Life is good.”

I recently took a bottle of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte brut rose to the tub, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (The champagne, I mean; well, the tub, too.) Rose wines, long maligned thanks to the white zinfandel craze of decades ago, are finally reaching a level of appreciation among wine lovers. And rose sparklers are getting extra attention.

The Feuillatte brut rose is non-vintaged, and the product of 20 to 50 single crus. The blend is 10 percent chardonnay, 60 percent pinot noir and 30 percent pinot meunier. The pinot noir, of course, gives it its structure while the pinot meunier gives it fruitiness. Those fruits include lots of berries: blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and such. It has fine bubbles, too many to count, and a pleasingly pink color. I enjoyed mine with an assortment of cheeses and a few soggy crackers (hard to finesse crackers in the tub).

You should be able to find Nicolas Feuillatte brut rose for under $45, which puts it in a middle-premium range. But, hey, get some for a special occasion -- Saturday’s coming. If you'd like to visit Nicolas Feuillatte's Web site, click here.

Special 12 Year Vertical Tasting of Shafer Hillside Select

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Wine on the is offering a special wine tasting of Shafer Hillside Select on Thursday, September 2. It will be a verical tasting of 12 years of the popular cabernet sauvignon. Master sommelier Andrew McNamara, formerly of Orlando but now affiliated with Premier Beverage Company in South Florida, will serve as the evening's host.

Master sommelier Andrew McNamara

The tasting will be held in the Wine Cellar at Luma on Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $150 per person. Anyone who knows fine wine -- and especially those who know Shafer -- will see that as a bargain. For information, call 407-733-9463, or send e-mail to Adam Chilvers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here's a list of the vintages along with wine expert Robert Parker's ratings:

1994: 99 points
1995: 99 points
1996: 98 points
1997: 99 points
1998: 94 points
1999: 97 points
2000: 93 points
2001: 99 points
2002: 100 points
2003: 95 points
2004: 97 points
2005: 97 points

The Food and Wine Festival at Baldwin Park

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The weather folks are actually predicting a lovely weekend, so Saturday should be nice for the Food & Wine Festival at Baldwin Park, a festival of, um, food and wine. At Baldiwn Park. The event is a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis. I attended last year as a judge and had a great time (and a lot of really good food).

There's still time to purchase tickets in advance for $65; if you show up at the gate the fee is $75. You can stop by New Broad Street Realty in Baldwin Park (I'm pretty sure it's on New Broad Street) or you can click through here to purchase online. More info? Call 407-339-2978. There's a list of participants below.

Need to talk turkey about wines? The WineLine is there to help

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Butterball’s Turkey Talk-line is, of course, legendary. It was started 29 years ago by the giant turkey company to help frantic cooks deal with the frightening task of cooking the large bird for the first time -- or the 10th. That first year six home economists answered 11,000 calls.

Now there are 50 professional economists and nutritionists answering more than 100,000 questions about thawing the turkey, checking to see if it’s done, what to do if it’s still frozen, and how to cook the stuffing so you don’t send your family to the emergency room.

Less well known, and not dealing with things quite as life-threatening, is the Loew’s Hotels Wine Line, which the hotelier, owners of Portofino Bay, Royal Pacific and Hard Rock Hotel locally, is operating now through New Year’s Eve.

It’s also not technically a line. If you have questions about wine -- what wine to serve with dinner, how to store, how to chill or whatever -- you can send an e-mail request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a certified sommelier will answer you within 24 hours. Not much help in an emergency, but if you’re frantic because you need to know the fastest way to thaw a pinot noir, you’re probably beyond help.

(For the record, Butterball is encouraging e-mail inquiries to its talk-line, too.)

To help get you started, the Loew’s Hotels team have put together this list of recommended wines for holiday dining.

Master sommelier Brian Koziol to present wines at Ruth's Chris

Written by Scott Joseph on .

On November 23rd, Master Sommelier Brian Koziol will team up with Ruth's Chris Steak House on Sand Lake Road to present an upscale tasting of food and wine.  This special event will begin at 6:30pm, and finish at 8:30pm.  Over 30 wines from around the world will be featured, along with an assortment of delicious menu items from Ruth's Chris Steak House.  The ticket price to enjoy Ruth’s Chris’ unparalleled food with these exceptional wines is $55 per person plus tax & gratuity.  

A few of the wineries that will be showcased are:  Robert Mondavi Winery, Franciscan, Mount Veeder Winery, Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, Simi, Inniskillin, Ruffino, Nobilo, Kim Crawford, and more!

The menu will include: Roasted Beef Tenderloin, Deep-Fried Cajun Turkey Breast, Mini Crab Cakes, Bacon-Wrapped Scallops, Assortment of Fruits & Cheeses, Chocolate Sin Cake, as well as other traditional menu items.

Please call Marc Tilton at Ruth's Chris Steak House today to RSVP for this delightful experience.  Marc can be reached at (407) 797-5171.