Drinks are the centerpiece of just about any celebration - revelers toast with Champagne on New Year’s Eve and rarely is a summer barbecue complete without a brew in hand. To help in choosing which wines to chill and cocktails to mix up for your spring soirees, AFM asked a few of our favorite beverage experts for their delicious input.
Owner of NOCA
“There is so much great juice out there that I try to find wines that tell a story or that speak specifically of the place from which they came. Smaller producers doing things soulfully really resonate for me.”
How do you choose a spring wine?
“Fresh and bright, perhaps with floral accents—just like spring itself.”
Best wine to bring to a barbecue?
“It really depends on the style of barbecue but ripe and spicy zinfandel or syrah will pair well with most southern-style sauces. I also love some big ole ripe Cali pinot noir with pig, as well.”
Favorite sparkling wine/Champagne?
“If you are buying, then Krug Rosé every time. If not, then the Henri Billiot Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV from Ambonnay. It is an incredible pinot noir-based rosé from a tiny estate in the Montagne de Reims.”
Favorite bottle under $20?
“You could ask me this 20 times and get 20 different answers. Right now I am loving the Cuatro Pasos Mencía from Bierzo, Spain. Smoky blackberries and silky tannins; it should be about $14 retail.”
Favorite bottle more than $20?
“Again, I have hundreds of answers for this, but right at this moment I will pick Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja 2004. Produttori was the world’s first wine co-op and their single vineyard wines are without a doubt the best values for world-class nebbiolo ($65 retail). Some other favorites are Peay Scallop Shelf, Hirsch San Andreas, Gemstone 10, EFESTE ‘Big Papa’ and Karl Lawrence Cabernet.“
Cantonese Peach Recipe
1 oz. Fresh yellow peach puree
1 1/2 oz. Canton Ginger Liqueur
2 oz. Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Rim martini glass with gingersnap crumbs. Shake peach puree with ginger liqueur and ice until well chilled. Strain into rimmed glass and top off with Schramsberg.