When it came time to choosing wine for the latkes I created for my Hanukkah feature in Rockland Magazine, I didn’t hesitate for even half a second. Sparkling wine was in order – after all, what holiday party is complete without a glass of bubbly?! And it just so happens that sparkling wine is the perfect complement for those flavorful, but slightly rich latkes.
The menu for this glamorous Hanukkah dinner party includes three seasonal latkes: classic potato latkes (with a gourmet twist!), butternut squash and leek latkes with pan-roasted cumin, and beet-scallion latkes spiked with a cayenne crème fraîche.
Tantalizing morsels require equally tantalizing sparklers!
Lieb Family Cellars, Blanc de Blancs 2007
Producer: Lieb Family Cellars
Region: Long Fork of Long Island, NY
Grape: 100% Pinot Blanc
The 2007 Blanc de Blancs is only made in “exceptional years,” the winery’s website tells us. It’s not the first vintage I’ve tasted from Lieb Family Cellars, and I’m happy to report that the 2007 is as spectacular as ever.
Pale-yellow with a green tinge, its tiny, lively bubbles rising eagerly to the surface the instant it is poured, this wine looks as special as you know it will taste… The aromas, too, although not overly pronounced, allude to what’s to come, filling the nose with apple, pear, white flowers and delicate yeasty essences.
On the palate, the first thing that strikes is the crispness, the liveliness of the wine. This Blanc de Blancs seems to dance in the mouth, and when that flirtatious waltz dissolves, lovely notes of green apple, lemon meringue and a hint of herb (sage perhaps) reveal themselves. I was completely seduced.
Ultimately, however, no matter how delightful its flavors, what really makes this 2007 Blanc de Blancs stand out are its crisp acidity, its structure and complexity.
All of this pairs beautifully with the flavors of the latkes, while keeping their richness in check.
This stunning sparkling wine will be right at home at any sophisticated holiday party.
Graham Beck, Brut Rosé NV
Producer: Graham Beck
Region: Robertson and Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Grape: 55% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir
The lovely salmon-pink color of this sparkler, and the thick foam that rises in the glass as soon as it’s poured, positively shout “Holiday Party”!
The aromas of the wine are very subtle, but a whiff of strawberry and summer red fruits does come to tease the nostrils. At first sip, though, the teasing is over and the mouth fills with delicious yeasty notes and flavors of cherry, cranberry and red apple.
The mouthfeel of the Brut Rosé is round and luscious, while its pronounced acidity saves the day. Without it the wine would have been a bit too sweet for my taste buds.
This Brut Rosé is a particularly good pairing for the beet-scallion latkes, the red fruit notes melding marvelously with the flavor of the beets.
All in all, the Graham Beck Brut Rosé is an extremely sippable sparkling wine – and, for the price, a terrific party wine.
To read the Rockland Magazine Hanukkah feature click on Lights, candles, latkes! How to throw an unforgettable Hanukkah dinner party