Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Birthday Bubbles

Saturday was my S.O.'s birthday and for once, I wasn't completely stressed out about the day.  Normally, I send myself into a tailspin trying to find the perfect gift; debating if some type of activity, such as a play or a massage, should be a part of this day; finding the ideal spot for pre-dinner cocktails, etc.  My biggest stressor?  Finding the PERFECT place for dinner.   To  his credit,  he has told me multiple times, at various times during the year, that IT DOESN'T MATTER; as long as it's delicious he's happy.  I, on the other hand, want restaurant nirvana and often spend weeks looking for spots, then have day-of anxiety and doubt my choice, where I then proceed to looking online and call around to see if any magical last-minute reservations at this mythical restaurant have appeared.  Do I know this is crazy?  Absolutely. Do I do it annually?  You bet.

This year, though, I was ON IT.    I bought his present weeks ago (huge sense of relief there) and had a solid game plan for pre-drinks.  In addition, I was taking his talk to heart and not going to worry (too much) about where we go to dinner.  Did I still call that call-one-month-to-the-day-if-you-dare-to-even-dream-of-getting-a-reservation Restaurant in hopes of any last-minute cancellations?  Yes, yes I did.  But, overall, I was feeling pretty good about the evening.

So, how'd it go?

Dinner exceeded even my expectations and we had a great meal enhanced by some fantastic wine.  (Osteria Morini in case you are wondering.  Go.  Seriously, go).  However, we eschewed a bottle for a celebratory glass of sparkling wine, followed by a lambrusco tasting flight.  What better way to celebrate a birthday than with an all-bubbly dinner?

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Spumante “Per Lugo”, Pievalta, NV (Marche) 
As I've previously mentioned, we have a tradition of calling ahead and arranging for two glasses of sparkling wine to be brought out upon arrival during special occasion dinners.  For this meal,  I was intrigued by a rare sparkling verdicchio.  On the nose, the wine indicated notes of pear, kiwi and citrus.  After a few sips, the same fruit notes remained present but the wine finished with delicious almond nuttiness.  This was fairly medium-bodied for a sparkling wine and maybe it was the wide-bowled, stemless glass they served it in, but this wine wasn't very effervescent.  Regardless, I really enjoyed this meal opener.

Lambrusco di Sorbara, Francesco Vezzelli, 2011 (Emilia Romagna)
This was the lightest of the lambruscos. Tart cherry and cranberry appeared on the nose and right away on the palate, along with pronounced acidity and quite a bit of efferevence. The effect was of drinking a sour patch kid, but not in an unpleasant way.  Overall, though, this was my least favorite.

Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro "Gibe", Tenuta Pederzana, 2011 (Emilia Romagna)
Cranberry was the main player in this lambrusco and danced all over the glass. With every sip, I felt as if I was drinking a sparkling glass of Ocean Spray . Less acidity than the first one, this was one smooth, easy drinking lambrusco that finished dry.  There were some soft tannins that gave this one a little more heft than the first one and paired well with our dishes.  I found myself trying to sip and savor this one through the entire meal.

Lambrusco dell'Emilia "Il Mio", Camillo Donati, 2010 (Emilia Romagna) 
This lambrusco was the closest to a flat red out of the three. It has the least amount of sparkle and texturally was heavier than the the other two. Tons of black cherry and fig wafted up from the glass, comingling with earthiness on the palate.  This is a great gateway lambrusco for red drinkers who don't understand what a lambrusco is all about.   I also really enjoyed this one and found myself debating which one should be the favored last sip: this one or the Gibe.

We finished with (copious amounts) of dessert and headed out of this dinner feeling very festive.  Happy Birthday!