Phiz Fest is a unique public Champagne AND Sparkling Wine tasting event and the first of its kind in the Philadelphia region on Thursday November 12th at the Grand Ballroom in the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue – 6:00 to 8:30 PM. Our goal is to highlight and promote the versatility of [authentic French] Champagnes & Sparkling Wines and their ability to be paired with any style cuisine – graciously donated in 2008 by some of the area’s finest restaurants such as – Caribou Cafe, Zinc, The Capital Grille-and many more! (click this link Food & Wine to see the entire list of restaurants, Champagnes & Sparkling Wines during the next few months)
It will prove that Champagne & Sparkling Wines can be consumed at any time – not just as an aperitif or dessert beverage or on New Year\’s Eve or other special occasions. Come enjoy these vivacious beverages and discover their versatility!
The timing of this event is perfect for you to test your new Champagne & Sparkling Wine pairing skills learned at Phiz Fest. Go ahead, serve them with Chicken, Seafood, Beef, Lamb, Duck or Tofu! Be bold! Be brave!
Phiz Fest provides an economical way to sample dozens of Champagnes and Sparkling Wine brands, from around the globe, for a fraction of the cost you would pay to purchase individual bottles!
Here is a rundown of some of the styles that will be featured -
All sparkling wines are naturally carbonated by trapping the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced during fermentation. The Champagne region\’s traditional method is undoubtedly the finest way to make wine sparkle, and is imitated worldwide.
1. Barely ripe grapes are made into a light, acidic white base wine.
2. Sugar and yeast are added, and the wine is bottled and sealed.
3. A second fermentation takes place in each bottle, under pressure.
4. The wines age for a minimum of 18 months on their lees (yeast sediment) to add toasty flavor. Longer aging increases intensity.
5. A complex process, called â€˜riddling\’, removes the lees from each individual bottle, in order to clarify the wine.
6. Each bottle is sweetened slightly just prior to being corked.
7. Champagnes are sold in the same bottle in which the second fermentation took place.
Champagne growers use the same grapes as their neighbors in Burgundy for their finest wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Pinot Meunier, a cousin of Pinot Noir, is also planted because of its cold-hardiness. Champagnes are blends based on red skinned grapes, unless they are made from 100% Chardonnay. Chardonnay-only champagnes are premium wines, often labeled Blanc de Blancs, meaning white wine from white grapes.
Great producers often exceed the legal minimum, holding such wines on their lees for up to fifteen years. The final result combines the refreshment of lemonade with the richness of Irish cream.
Catalonia, in Spain\’s mountainous Northeast, is home to one of the world\’s largest sparkling wine industries. While the â€œChampagne Methodâ€ is used for all Cava, shorter aging and less regulation result in far lower prices. Usually less than half the cost of Champagne, Cava represents outstanding value for the dollar. Native Spanish grapes like Macabeo and Xarel-lo dominate Cava blends, adding an earthy dimension to their citrusy flavors. Two giant Cava firms, Codorniu and Freixenet, dominate the industry. Almost all Cava exported to the U.S. is made by these two wineries, or one of their subsidiaries.
Pairings: Cava matches well with a wide range of foods, from bruschetta to Christmas turkey. It is equally gratifying as a holiday cocktail or toast.
Prosecco is not made in the traditional French manner, but its crisp pear-like flavor and suggestion of sweetness make it a home run for bargain hunters. Long the house sparkler in Italian restaurants, this light bodied bubbly delivers considerable bang for the buck in a category otherwise dominated by luxury items. Prosecco tastes more like fresh fruit and less like toasty yeast than Champagne method wines, so even non-wine drinkers enjoy it. As a result, this Northern Italian sparkler from the Veneto region is the ultimate crowd pleaser.
Pairings: Prosecco\’s up-front appeal and slight sweetness make it a natural before the serious food arrives. Pour it as a brunch tipple or a party pick-me-up.
To learn more about Phiz Fest 2009 and it’s offerings check out their Website.