Carnaval, derived from the Latin carne levare (to take away meat), is celebrated this year on Tuesday, March 4th. This feast to mark the beginning of 40 days of Lenten sacrifice is celebrated throughout Europe, the Americas, and the Caribbean. The most famous festivals are in Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, and Venice, but when it comes to partying, Puerto Rico and Cadiz, Spain can hold their own. The night has become synonymous with raucous behavior and overindulging, especially in the US, but there’s no reason why we can’t mark the date with a high-style party at home that gives a nod to the holiday’s religious and European origins while celebrating the mashup of culture in the New World.
Give some love to the Carnevale di Venezia by pouring wines from northern Italy alongside your Latin-inspired party food:
Cavicchioli 1928 Sparkling Lo Spumante NV is 100% Malvasia, so expect fresh stone fruit flavors with a light floral touch. At $14 a bottle, you can keep pouring these bubbles all night, especially if you are serving mariscos or ceviche. The festive bottle says fiesta before you even pop the cork.
Lamberti Rosé Spumante Veneto VSAQ NV is a pale pink sparkler that goes great with seafood. This is from the Veneto region just outside Venice, and it is a blend of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero, and Raboso, a native Italian red grape. Soft flavors of green apple and Turkish delight amid delicate bubbles (also at $14) are a terrific way to ring in the season of self-denial.
Cavicchioli Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC ‘Vigna del Cristo’ 2012: Light red in color with strong bubbles, this fruit-forward Lambrusco is a sparkling wine that you can drink with red meat (before you give it up for a few weeks, at least on Fridays). Strong flavors of cherry and black raspberry are enhanced by a bright finish. ($17)
Click on for great carnaval wines from Chile!...