La Crema Sparkling Brut Rose
A lovely pale pink-salmon in hue, the La Crema Sparkling Brut Rose Russian River Valley ($45) epitomizes Valentine’s Day in a glass.
Girly yet sophisticated, it fairly bursts with bright strawberries and raspberries with just a twinge of ginger on the finish. Crisp and zingy with plenty of acidity, it’s a blend of 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Chardonnay.
This nonvintage sparkling wine, of which I received a sample, is right at home, be it at a romantic holiday dinner or a casual backyard get-together. It’s sure to make any occasion feel that much more festive.
Cheers: Did you know that La Crema was founded in 1979 in Sonoma County, when most wineries in California were focusing on Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and turning a blind eye to Pinot Noir? It took the late-great winemaker Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke, founders of Kendall-Jackson Winery, to shine a spotlight on Burgundian-style Pinot Noir with a cool climate, single-vineyard focus with their La Crema wines.
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher
What has hops, brewer’s yeast, but no alcohol? And isn’t beer or even non-alcoholic beer?
Meet Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher by the clever folks at that legendary Petaluma brewing company.
This uncanny, clear beverage pours with a thick foamy head just like beer, as I found when trying sample bottles. But it doesn’t try to mimic the taste of beer whatsoever.
Instead, it is its own thing — akin to sparkling water in texture and weight on the palate. It’s quenching and refreshingly dry, with a moderate hoppy bitterness on the finish and unexpected bursts of mango, orange and grapefruit on the palate.Read more