June 2009

Washington State "Sparkling Wine"

It's summer. Why not celebrate with North American "sparkling wine" (yeah, I know, it's made using the same methods, and the same pinot noir and Chardonnay grapes as the "legal" Champagne wines from France)?

I'm rather partial to Washington winery Domaine Ste. Michelle. All they make is sparkling wines. They produce a number of different kinds of champagne, and are distributed widely enough that you can find their wines fairly reliably—and extremely affordably. Domaine Ste. Michelle lists their sparkling wines in terms of their styles, ranging from dry to sweet. I want to make something very clear; this is not the "cold duck" sort of wine your parents might have served; these are sparkling wines made using the traditional Méthode Champenoise. In fact, according to this article, New York Times Columnist Steven D. Levitt says that

A Perfect Champagne Picnic for Two

Now that it’s summertime, it’s the perfect time for a romantic picnic for you and your partner. A clear sky, a comfy (and pretty) blanket, and a basket of goodies for two should set the scene.

Be sure to have some delectable delights in your basket. Some brie and grapes or strawberries is always romantic, as well as nuts and caviar, if you have a taste for it. Sushi works well for fish lovers (fish is said to be an aphrodisiac!), and anything dipped in chocolate is sure to please. If nothing else, stick with simple sandwiches—either homemade or store-bought.

For a little ambiance, you may want to bring candles or an iPod with speakers, but why ruin what nature already provides? Chances are the natural scenery and auditory magic will be more than enough for your date.