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Taste Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee at Reserve Sonoma Valley 2013

To be completely honest, I’m not just rehashing a line from a press release here when I say that Gloria Ferrer’s “Royal Cuvée” is the perfect wine to enjoy this season. Point of fact, the line that accompanied this sample of wine was that it’s perfect for pouring with Mom on Mother’s Day; “the royal treatment” was, I believe, the key phrase. Not that I object to such well-timed wine pairing suggestions. I’m sure that this would be a great Sunday brunch wine. It’s just I type fast, but blog slow, and the moment passed. Sorry, Mom. (Mom prefers a nip of red Sonoma County Zinfandel, anyway).

All summer long, the “Royal” languished in the cellar, or in its wine shipper in my office, anyway. A summer sparkling it is not; no crisp and refreshing, spritzy and citrusy fizz is this. Now that the sweater stays on after noon, and the light is as golden as a lingering leaf, this is the time for the Royal Cuvée.

The Gloria Ferrer 2004 “Royal Cuvée” Carneros Sparkling Wine ($32; the current vintage available at the winery is the 2005, $35) boasts a big, roiling mousse which dissipates early, but leaves an energetic enough little bead of bubbles in its wake. It’s a pale, platinum-gold, with rich aromas of toasted almond and flakey pie crust—the kind made with real lard, and I mean that in a good way, aromatically speaking. Fruit aromas trend more to pear cobbler than fresh stone fruit, and, as this vintage-dated, two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay Brut blend was aged five years on its yeast, it’s more like holding a fresh, white linen that was placed over a pear cobbler while it cooled yesterday, and pressing it on your face the day after, and inhaling.

The dosage gives this wine a sweet, creamy richness, with nutty amaretto highlights. I’d keep it chilled, but I don’t believe it would pair well with a hot day. Serve with fall brunch (who wants crème fraiche, fig and bacon pizza?—see recipe, below) or sign up for a sparkling wine tour to learn more about Gloria Ferrer’s Carneros estate and caves as part of Reserve Sonoma Valley.

Unlike many of the other fine events that take place in wine country, Reserve Sonoma Valley is an activity-driven exploration of the cultural, aesthetic, and of course, vinous heritage of the Sonoma Valley (from Kenwood to the City of Sonoma in the southeastern part of our county). Participants may choose from activities such as a bicycle tour under the oak-shaded streets of Sonoma; a sommelier tour; and a sparkling wine tour, including the historic bodega of Buena Vista, where Sonoma sparkling wine began, and, naturally, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards. Visit Reserve Sonoma Valley for more information and the whole, may I say “cuvée,” of activities.Reserve Sonoma Valley, October 19 & 20, 2013, 10:00am to 5:00pm.


Wood-fired Pizza with Crème Fraiche, Figs, Bacon, Arugula and Parmesan

From Naomi Crawford of Pizza Politana:

  • 1 5-ounce pizza dough
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche, preferably Cowgirl Creamery
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella, organic
  • 4 black mission figs cut into 1/6ths
  • 2 strips thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup wild arugula
  • Parmesan
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt

Roll out pizza dough and brush with olive oil. Season with salt. Paint dough with creme fraiche. Top with mozzarella, figs, and bacon. Cook in 500 degree oven for 8 minutes. Add wild arugula and shredded parmesan before slicing. Serve immediately.

Find more information about Wineries & Wine, Things to Do, and Hotels & Lodging in Sonoma County.

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