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 – Lambrusco

One of the most recent debates at Gigi Trattoria is if our delicious Lambrusco should be served in a flute or a red wine glass.  Despite the split amongst our staff members and customers, this Graparossa di Castelveto Lambrusco produced by Barbolini is simply superb. 

Lambrusco grapes are most often from Emilia-Romagna where there are five DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) regions. Graparossa di Castelveto is one which the Barbolini family owns.  It is the smallest wine producing region in Modena, where 85% of the wine must be Lambrusco Grasparossa to be called a lambrusco.  The Barbolini lambrusco is 100% Lambrusco Grasparossa. This is one of the most tannic lambruscos out there, making it perfect for Gigi Trattoria since it pairs beautifully with pizza or in our case Skizza. 

You may be thinking summer is not the right time to drink a red wine let a lone a tannic one. However, the fact  that the lambruscos are “frizzante” (slightly sparkling) makes them incredibly enjoyable and refreshing even in the heat.  Served in a flute as Gigi has been doing it for years, it is elegant and drinks like a red sparkling wine.  Served in a red wine glass it gives off aromatics of violet and fruit, especially darker berries. 

Stop in to Gigi Trattoria to try the Graparossa di Castelveto Lambrusco both ways.  Either in red wine glass or a flute, this effervescent wine is $10 by the glass and $32 by the bottle.  If you happen to be dining with us on Wine Wednesday, you can order a bottle for 30% off!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Plum and Honey Spritzer

The heat of summer is already starting to settle into our bones. Flushed and sweaty, we end up with hair don’ts instead of hairdos, as the humidity wrecks havoc. Hot car seats burn our thighs as we struggle to keep our cool.  We are in definite need of a delightful and refreshing T.G.I.F. cocktail this week!

Voila – the plum and honey spritzer!

2 ripe yellow plums (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)

1/2 ounce honey simple syrup*
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1 1/2 ounces gin (we use Hendrick’s for it’s clean and refreshing taste)
2 ounces dry sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava

Cut plums in half and remove pits and skins. In a cocktail shaker, muddle plums with honey simple syrup and lemon juice. Add gin and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Use your muscles to shake this one, you want to shake it hard enough to fully liquify the muddled plums. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with your favorite dry sparkling wine. Enjoy!

*Honey simple syrup is made by combining equal parts honey and very hot water. Stir until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and refrigerate.