December 1, 2016 – Tis the season to be bubbly! Hello there, I’m certified Sommelier, Leslee Miller, and regular guest contributor for the fabulous ALDI blog. While we’re amidst the season of entertaining, I thought it the perfect time for sharing one of my favorite tips for creating what I call ‘A Bubbly Bar! I can easily indulge with a number of bottles from the bubbly wine department at ALDI, without breaking the bank. One of my favorites this season is the Chiaré Blanc de Blancs from Monterey County, California. While the region of Champagne, France is the only wine region in the world allowed to call their sparkling wines, Champagne, this new world version makes my sparkling wine obsession easy to afford!
Today, I’m excited to share my love for bubbles and Chardonnay. And if you missed my posts on reds and whites, be sure to check those out!
Chiaré Blanc de Blancs
One of my favorite pairing tips? Sparkling wines and fried food – that’s right! So grab a bag of Clancy’s Original Potato Chips or try a new ALDI holiday recipes, Caprese Shrimp Fonduta with a bottle of the Chiaré Blanc de Blancs. This super luxurious, toasty, pineapple, mango, guava and ripe peach-driven bubbly will not only cut the richness of the cheese perfectly in the fonduta, but match the crunchy, salty goodness of the Clancy’s chips to a tee.
- Blanc de Blancs denotes that the wine is made with all white grapes – in this case, as it is in Champagne, the wine is made from only Chardonnay.
- If the label were to read “Blanc de Noir,” it means that the wine will be made up of all black grapes (In Champagne, those are the grapes Pinot Noir & Pinot Meunier).
- The Chiaré is sparkling, which means it is the perfect wine for pairing to all fried eats!
Broken Clouds Chardonnay
And, while we’re on the subject of Chardonnay…try ALDI exclusive wine, Broken Clouds Chardonnay (which just received an 87pt rating from Wine Enthusiast!), paired to some of the same goodies. And if you’re looking for something a little more substantial in the food department, I’m completely smitten with pairing the juicy ripe pear and melon notes of this Chardonnay with this season’s Ginger Spice Roasted Chicken with Pears recipe – what a combo! Whatever the season, ALDI has a super affordable wine department, making it easy to enjoy these pairings any time of year!
Holiday ‘Bubbly Bar’ Made Easy!
So what goes into making a Bubbly Bar? First, start with an area that is slightly out of the way of your entertaining space – a small table against your dining room wall, a small bar top area, or a side board table like the one you’d use for serving appetizers. Next, grab a few small evergreen tree bows from outside, or even an easy piece of burlap to throw across the area you’ll be serving from. Then, head to ALDI – my favorite part! Grab a variety of ALDI sparklers from various grape varietals, styles and regions like the Chiaré Blanc de Blancs, the Belletti Prosecco and the Moiselle Sparkling Moscato. While you’re at ALDI, you’re going to pick up all of your bubbly bar fixins including strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, licorice, gummy candies, decorative straws, and a few juices like cranberry and pineapple. Lug your goodies back home, and then it’s time to set it all up!
I like to separate all of my berries, candied items, etc. into cute little bowls, mason jars or random cups. Put your straws in a mason jar, and fill a few small pitchers with your separate juices. Fill up an ice bowl of sorts and pop in your three bubblies. You can always throw a small decorative kitchen towel around the outer edges of the bowl if you need to pretty it up. Then organize a few glasses for your guests.
Remember, they don’t all have to be proper Champagne flutes. In fact, I think it’s much more adorable to use whatever you have on hand such as mason jars, coupes and small wine glasses. Last, lay out your station in a way so that your guests can now make their own bubbly concoctions! From gummy bears to fresh fruit (if you’re feeling fancy, purée some fresh fruit for guests to use as juice, along with your purchased juice), there are a million ways to toss up a bubbly bar. And for the little ones or a non-alcoholic addition, fill a small carafe with sparkling water or ginger ale and add it to your bubbly bucket!
Both, a great way to allow your guests to entertain themselves and make you look like the entertaining pro this holiday season!
Leslee Miller is a dually certified Sommelier through the International Sommelier Guild and the Court of Master Sommeliers. She is the sole owner of wine consulting firm, Amusée, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
We want to see your #WineDownWednesday posts! This holiday season tag us using #WineDownWednesday and #ALDIgram, then follow us every other Wednesday starting November 9, 2016. We’ll be pouring out more of Leslee’s ALDI Wine reviews and pairings. Cheers ALDI fans!
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