Carnaval, derived from the Latin carne levare (to take away meat), is celebrated this year on Tuesday, March4th. 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.
[i]Noche Vieja[/i] is a night to celebrate with family and friends, and nothing says “Cheers” like a glass of cold bubbly. While [b]Champagne [/b]often tops our list, we are also fans of more affordable but still delicious [b]Prosecco[/b] from Italy and [b]Cava [/b]from Spain. The finest Italian sparklers are made in the [i]metodo classico, [/i]while the best bubbles from Spain are produced using the [i]métode tradicional[/i], both of which mean they are made the same way Champagne is made—with a second fermentation inside the bottle.
Everybody who knows anything about wine can tell you that the Tempranillo grape comes from Spain and Malbec comes from Argentina. Period. While the first half of that statement is true—Tempranillo does come from Spain—Malbec’s home turf is actually the Cahors region of France, but it thrived and rose to fame as a single varietal wine in the arid soils of Argentina.
As the temperature drops and we begin to eat heartier meals, we move past the easy-drinking white and rosado wines of summer and start drinking more full-bodied wine, mainly red, along with lunch and dinner. Fall is the perfect time of year to look to the Southern Hemisphere and start drinking wine from Chile.
Although the season technically lingers on through the first three weeks of September, Labor Day “officially” marks the end of summer for many of us. Don’t tell that to the folks who run your local farmers’ market—harvest is in full swing, and late summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the bounty that area farms have to offer. Tomatoes, corn, and eggplant are still going strong, and early fall squash and root vegetables are adding a touch of color and texture to the crates we rummage through looking for the perfect specimen.
When Spanish wine comes to mind, many of us immediately think of the beautiful Tempranillo-based reds of Ribera del Duero and Rioja. While we enjoy Spain’s red wines immensely, in summer we treat ourselves to the wide array of Spanish whites that we find at our local wine shop. While each variety and style has its own characteristics, we find that Spanish white wines are ideal with lighter summer fare, especially the fresh grilled seafood and sautéed shellfish we eat this time of year.
One of the tricks to being a good host is making sure that all of your guests are having a good time while simultaneously looking like you are enjoying yourself. In other words, don’t let them see you sweat! On a hot summer afternoon or evening, a party featuring well-crafted libations is a special treat for all involved, but the last item on any party-giver’s to-do list is getting stuck behind the bar mixing drink after drink.
Lillet is a fortified wine made by blending wine with herbs and fruit essences. Although this favorite French aperitif is delicious on its own, you can turn it into refreshing sangria by adding lime juice, lemon-lime soda, and fresh fruit.
Citrus and agave add south of the border style to Chandon Rosé, a luscious sparkling pink wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Enjoy this punch for brunch, before dinner or watching a perfect sunset.
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