WHAT’S POP­PIN’?

Wynn Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY ZA­VATTO

No need to keep a cork in it: Non-cham­pagne sparkling wines are one of the best-kept se­crets of the wine-sip­ping world.

When it comes to the sparkly side of sip­ping, who could blame you if the first word that springs to mind is “Cham­pagne”? But of course! These sto­ried bot­tles of bub­bly are the stuff of leg­end. Widow Clic­quot, any­one? The monk with the most, Dom Perignon? But there’s a zippy, zingy, zenith-seek­ing world of sparkling wine out be­yond the borders of France’s best-known, north­ern­most sparkling-wine-pro­duc­ing re­gion, of­fer­ing not just value by the case, but also dif­fer­ent fla­vors and aro­mas. “There are very in­ter­est­ing styles of sparkling that ex­ist out­side of the area of Cham­pagne,” says Wynn’s Di­rec­tor of Wine Mark Thomas. “And there’s a sig­nif­i­cant amount of value, given sev­eral ex­am­ples use the same fer­men­ta­tion process as the méth­ode cham­p­enoise. There’s a unique­ness that’s all about where they come from.” And that unique­ness can lend it­self to all kinds of oc­ca­sions—even the bar-cen­tric kind. Wynn Re­sorts Master Mixol­o­gist Pa­tri­cia Richards loves play­ing around with sparkling wine in her orig­i­nal cock­tails and twists on clas­sics. “When I’m com­ing up with a sparkling wine cock­tail, I look more at the ap­pli­ca­tion,” she says, “as well as what I’m mix­ing with.” One of her re­cent cre­ations blends the aro­matic sparkling wine Moscato d’ Asti (from pro­ducer Elvio Tin­tero; it’s also served by the glass at An­drea’s and Bar­tolotta) with pear vodka, fresh le­mon juice, and a lit­tle St-ger­main el­der­flower liqueur. Another fa­vorite: the Bel­lis­sima Spritz, which uses the friz­zante, semis­parkling-wine–based Mionetto IL Spriz. But for Richards, there’s no rea­son to leave the Cham­pers out of the equa­tion. She crafted her sig­na­ture cock­tail The Dream—a gor­geous mix of Per­rier Joüet Grand Brut, St-ger­main, hi­bis­cus syrup, and a pre­served hi­bis­cus flower—as an homage to Wynn’s spec­tac­u­lar show Le Rêve—the Dream. The key to com­ing up with such great bub­bly im­bibables? “I try to make sure there’s har­mony there,” she says. “When build­ing a cock­tail, you want the base—in this case the sparkling wine—to show through. Ev­ery­thing else you use is like a sea­son­ing that should com­ple­ment the main in­gre­di­ent.” “Ob­vi­ously, with all styles of sparkling wine, you can find heav­ier and richer ver­sions to more crisp and lighter styles. I like see­ing the sub­tle dif­fer­ence that comes with that,” says Thomas. “There’s al­ways that mea­sur­ing stick of try­ing to find the sparkling that tastes like a more ex­pen­sive bot­tle and that’s so good it can hold up against Cham­pagne.” What are his picks? “First, Fran­ci­a­corta from Italy. It’s made in the same style and uses many of the same grapes, as well as Pinot Bianco. There’s a lit­tle ex­tra oomph in terms of acid­ity and fla­vor.” If that pops your cork, you can sam­ple Bellav­ista Fran­ci­a­corta Cu­vée Brut NV, by the glass or bot­tle, re­spec­tively, at Si­na­tra and Bar­tolotta. “Other places I’d look are Cré­mant de Li­moux [from Langue­doc],” says Thomas. “I’m do­ing a cou­ple by the glass, like Ger­ard Ber­trand’s at Lakeside. The acid­ity that you want in a sparkling wine is there, and it comes along with a rich­ness at the same time. It’s fresh and very good for the price point.” Other sparklers Thomas likes? Cré­mant d’al­sace: “They’ve been the se­crets of som­me­liers, es­pe­cially the rosés.” Cré­mant de Loire: “Some are re­ally in­ter­est­ing, and you can get a great mousseux. Plus it’s fun to try sparkling Chenin Blanc and Caber­net Franc; they’re good value, worth grab­bing and ex­per­i­ment­ing with.” Spain’s Cava: “Great sparkling to start off a meal with.” And the dar­ling of the sparkling wine world, Prosecco: “Stylis­ti­cally, they have that ini­tial at­tack of fla­vor and are very aro­matic. They leave you with lots of bub­bles [and] in a very good mood.” Which, of course, is what any sparkler should do—cham­pers or not! n

The Bel­lis­sima Spritz, avail­able at Tableau and the Tower Suites VIP pool area, gets its fizz from Mionetto IL Spriz, which is made with friz­zante semi-sparkling wine.

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