Our New Year’s Toast to Sparkling Wine

We are ringing in 2013 at Gigi Trattoria the right way which means popping open some bottles of bubbles!  And we have some great sparkling wines to celebrate.  From toasty and luscious French Champagne to refreshing crisp and very affordable Spanish Cava, we have some sparkle for everyone.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva is an all-around crowd pleaser as far as cavas go.  Cava, like champagne, is produced using the traditional method where the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle. Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine for fizz and a 1-1.5% increase in alcohol. The sediment of the dry yeast gives this wine a bit of a savory flavor.  Many regulars and staff find that the Segura Viduas Brut Reserva is not only affordable at $26 a bottle and $8 a glass but also crisp, delicious and dry.  It drinks like an expensive sparkling wine would.  Pair this cava with fried foods, such as our Patatine (aka Tuscan Fries) – or really any salty nibble – a Gigi Skizza™ or simply by itself.

If you are not an avid cava consumer, chances are you are pro-prosecco.  And if so you must know that the Prosecco di Treviso from Azienda Casalini is not only rare and unique, it is simply superb.  Prosecco is named for the grape variety, Glera that is generally used to make dry or extra dry sparkling wine.  This particular Valdobbiadene prosecco we sell for $32 a bottle and $10 a glass has the perfect balance of dryness, acidity and sweetness.  Try Azienda Casalini Prosecco with our special New Year’s Skizza made with lobster, chive ricotta and shaved black tartufo.  It is also enjoyable as an after dinner drink.

Another wonderful prosecco we offer is the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene ‘Primo Franco.’  Slightly sweeter and creamier than Azienda Casalini Prosecco, Primo Franco is medium bodied.  Made with 100% prosecco grapes, this DOCG is only $45 a bottle.  It pairs beautifully with risotto.  The creaminess compliments it while the crispness helps to cut the richness.

Like a little pink in your bubbles?  Try the Rose Cantine Ferrari produced using traditional metodo classic.  The grapes for this sparkling wine are hand harvested and then the wine undergoes a gentle press and maceration process in order to achieve the lovely salmon color.  Ferrari Rose is dry and clean with a slight hint of sweet almonds.  This bubbly at $50 a bottle is especially perfect with seafood, such as the Seafood Salad on our NYE menu.

And finally our selection of sparkling wines would not be complete without the Excellence Brut Gosset Champagne.  From the oldest wine house in France, this balanced champagne has notes of apple, pear, almond and a creamy finish.  This 45% Pinot Noir, 13% Pinot Meunier and 42% Chardonnay still goes through first fermentation in oak barrels, as many champagnes no longer do.  The result is champagne you truly cannot pass up.  The CRUDO, Meiller’s Farm beef tartar with black truffles and sunny side up quail egg, on our New Year’s Eve menu is the perfect complement to a glass of Gosset.

Don’t think we forgot about dessert!  The Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato di Asti is a sweet finale to brilliant meal.  Produced mainly in the province of Asti, north-west Italy, this dessert wine is slightly sweet and low in alcohol. The Moscato Bianco grape offers a lovely “frizzante” and elegant floral aromas, as well as delicate flavors of peaches and apricots. The Blood Orange Panna Cotta with Citrus Supremes would be a perfect pairing for this festive sparkler!  For only $10 a glass or $32 a bottle, it is just sweetness you are looking for.

Whether you prefer cava, prosecco, champagne, or a dry martini, there is something at Gigi Trattoria for everyone to toast with!  Come ring in 2013 with Chef Wilson’s 4-course menu for $55, 5-course menu for $75 or our regular a la carte menu.  With bubbles in hand, we wish you all a safe and happy new year!  Cin cin!

To learn more about Gosset click here.  If you are interested in Ferrari Rose read more here.  And if Primo Franco is your favorite you can find more information here.

Wine Weekly – Sparkling Wine

Some people think that bubbly is only for celebrations, but we think every day at Gigi is a celebration, especially when we have affordable and tasty sparkling wines on our menu! 

Our Segura Viudas Cava and our Gama Prosecco are two of our best selling wines by the glass.  We find, however, that customers are either Cava drinkers or Prosecco drinkers.  The fact of the matter is Cava and Prosecco are so different that one really doesn’t substitute for the other.  Both are delicious bubbly wines, but each is unique in its own way.

Prosecco is the white grape variety (Glera) that generally is used to make dry or extra dry sparkling wines.  DOC prosecco is produced in the regions of Veneto or Friuli Venezia Guilia, and traditionally in the areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.   Up until the 1960’s prosecco was unbearably sweet.  But with some improvement in production, prosecco has become a popular sparkling wine.  Unlike Champagne or Cava, prosecco is produced using the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks.  It has about 11-12% alcohol content.  Prosecco is the main ingredient in a Bellini since its peach and apricot characteristics are enhanced by peach nectar.  On its own or with food such as the HV cheese plate, prosecco is best enjoyed chilled and in a flute.  It even pairs well with a lighter dessert!

The most distinguishable difference between prosecco and cava (other than the fact that one is Italian and one is Spanish) is the way the wine is produced.  Cava, like champagne, is produced using the traditional method where the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle.  Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine for fizz and a 1-1.5% increase in alcohol.   The sediment of the dry yeast gives this wine a bit of a savory flavor.  Also unlike prosecco, cava is named for the type of wine not the grape.  It is produced mostly from Penedes near Barcelona.  The majority of cava is made with Macabea, Parellada, Xarel-lo grape varieties.  Recently even some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes have made their way into cava.  With its outstanding effervescence, cava holds up to even richer dishes and actually is a refreshing accompaniment to our Tuscan Fries. 

Next time you are in the mood for a celebration, stop by Gigi Trattoria for a little bubbly.  We recommend sampling the Gama Prosecco next to the Segura Viudas Cava and deciding which one is your favorite.  We would love to hear your feedback!  And if you are in on a Wednesday, whichever bubbles you chose will be 30% off by the bottle!  Now that is something to celebrate.

Learn more about Segura Viudas Cava here.

Learn more about Gama Prosecco here.

Wine Weekly-Manzoni Bianco

Gigi Trattoria is always looking for new interesting wines that are exclusive to our restaurant.  When our good friend Stephen Strumza brought us a taste of Villa Brunesca’s Manzoni Bianco, we knew there was a home for it on our wine list!  This vine was created by Luigi Manzoni, the Principal of the Viticulture and Enology School in Conegliano.  He made a hybrid of Riesling and White Pinot resulting in a truly exceptional wine. 

Villa Brunesco is the birthplace of some other delicious wines including the Gama Prosecco and the Sauvignon which also made it on to our wine list.  The Villa was built in 1845 by Sponza Ship owners, but they did not start bottling and selling wine there until 1922.  The vineyard of about 70 hectares has balanced soil including clay, lime and sand.  Being close to the sea, a summer heat and late summer breeze gently allow for the grapes to ripen and for flavor to develop.  After being picked, the Manzoni Bianco grapes mature in steel vats for about 4 months.  The end result is a balanced wine that has notes of peach and apricot as well as an elegant acidity characteristic of a Pinot Bianco. 

We’re of the opinion Mr. Manzoni had a stroke of genius when he created this hybrid.  Pairing this wine with our summer menu is a dream. The balance of fruit and citrus in this wine would be a lovely accompaniment to the Bigoli Al Pesce Spada, the Salmone or the Hudson Valley Cheese Plate.  And of course, it is lovely on its own! Don’t miss coming in to the Trattoria to try this unique wine.  A glass of Manzoni Bianco is just $10, but you are going to want to get a whole bottle for just $30!  Stop in this Wednesday (or any Wednesday) when all of our bottled wines are 30% off! 

Learn more about Villa Brunesca here.