While the cartoon above does not deal exactly with the question about what wines to serve with Holiday dining through Christmas and New Years,, it clearly resolves the answer about turkey. The answer is everything since Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc go great with the white meat and Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon certainly match up with those always moist and succulent legs. The big surprise is that Sparklers well priced around the world seem to go great during Holiday revelry from the opening toast to the end of the evening …and the great thing is all that cheer can come at Bargain prices. The best selling wine worldwide is about $6 and available everyware .
See below So here we go again for “That Time Of The Year” when the spirits flow as do the wines.Topping the list as always this time of the year are Sparklers and where they come from, In recent years Champagne has experienced explosive growth and a tremendous range of pricing. Thus the classic French “Methode Champenois” double fermentation can be found in wineries worldwide. The United States ,Spain and Italy are now prime producers of Sparkling wine . It cannot be called Champagne unless it is grown, pressed and aged in that small area 60 miles East of Paris. But remarkable progress has been made in the above countries with accompanying very competitive prices. The French continue to think that the rest of the world is stupid and will run head over heels only for The Sparklers that say “Champagne” from that small area.. We disagree and see below for FAF choices as shown, Far to the right is Charles Heidseck- Silver Top Lable which last year was the best true Champagne value available as low as $26. They are now in the mid $30s. If you must have the French stuff LOOK FOR MONTAUDON at TOTAL WINE saled at about $28 Next on the right is the perenial priced right domestic Louis Roederer Reserve- Black Top Lable made in Napa by the French vintner of $300 Crystal. It can be found in all Supermarkets for around $18. One step from the left is far away our #1 Choice Sparkler, the Gold Top Label !!!!l Louis Buillot Cremant De Bourgogne hated by the overrated Louis Vuitton Moet and Chandon Dom Perignon Champagners and located a few miles out of their vaunted district. BUT in blind tastings equalled about 1/2 the Champagnes in the world. Buy Brut only. Rose Rose is also available but perhaps not the equak. Total Wine now has 50 cases!!!! (600 bottles ) on hand all the time since I recomended it in FrankAoutFood.com last year. It is under $14 on sale. It constanty beats Veuve Cliquot in blind tastings by the supposedly expert Champagne “Mavens” especially if they are lawyers. Finally at the left in the white upper lable is The Spanish made Methode Champenoise dual fermenation sparkler Cristalino. It is reputed to be the #1 wine seller (en toto el mundo ) in the world at $6 prox. Von’s Westlake tell us it sells more of it than any other Von’s based upon my constant rec. Think aboud that New Years Party !!! A case of 12 is under $72. Serve with a towe cover and your friends will think you have hit the lottery. Again Brut only. Note that all the Sparklers pix were taken on my desk at home in Westlake so you know I have imbibed all.
Finally and quickly the basics!!!! As we have observed for 50 years now, Asia and Europe dominate the car biz in this country because of lower personnel cost,land cost and dedicated workers. The same thing has taken place now in Australia, Portugal, Spain, Argentina ,New Zealand, Italy and South Africa when priced against high land and labor costs in this country. Southeast France now also competes strongly in The Provence area with its great value Rhone wines. The Guigal name dominates legitimately from $12 for Southern Rhone to $100 plus for Chateauneuf Du Pape. If you must be loyal to your country consider anything from COLUMBIA CREST in anything they make (always 100,000 cases and more) at a time from Cabs to Chardonnay etc. The French cannot believe what comes from them and insists they are subsidized. They are not. They are brilliant. Most around $10. Now simply to quick basic points, our #1 choice in Red along with the rest of the World is Malbec Reserve by Norton fom the highlands of Argentina. They have been doing it for almost 150 years. Under $12. Our #1 White value is Kim Crawford., a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand at $11 prox. If you love Chardonnay consider Ausralia as you search. Last year it was hinted that they had 100,000,000 cases, yep!!!! cases in their warehouses. That’s more than 1 Billion bottles ,,,and as you know those Aussies drink mostly BEER. If you are looking for a domestic step up look for Loeb in the Sonoma- Napa area. Their Pinot and Cab are great and saled under $20. New Zealand’s Framingham offers wine that tastes like $50 from Napa especially in Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. I love them both at $20 and $16 My background is such that I would prefer to recommend small businesses for you to visit. But the facts are that Costco and Total Wines dominate so strongly in different ways. If you know what you want. Costco is the low price leader but with no help and lesser choices. Total Wines offers 6 times the selection plus trained help that will lead you to what you are looking for. If you have time and courage look for anything that Cameron Hughes is offering only at Costco, Try a bottle or two. He is the #1 worldwide upscale NEGOTIANT who is considered to have the greatest palate ..period. He travels the world…..THE WORLD .looking for values for which to put under his label. He is very strong on Pinot Noir but has great values on Cabs, Chardonnay.Most of his stuff is under $15
Now for taking the visitor from Idaho and Kansas who may have never seen the ocean. Clearly every one has heard of Malibu,the home of the drunk, drug taking Maserati wrecking bigoted movie stars. And you certainly would like to take your guests to dine there a mere 20 minutes away from your home via an exciing drive through the hills to one of the most interesting beach areas in the United State with homes on the water worth up to $50 million. Well there are places to visit and places to avoid. Below is the pier at Malibu, Malibu Farms Cafe is a down to earth fairly priced dining spot owned by a grower artisan that offers flavorful dining for lunch or dinner with fresh products from the farm served as you look at the surfing . You will connect with the beach.Daytime is preferred or visit early and stay for dinner. There are places to see and places to avoid. Malibu Nobu Sushi is now overrated and overpriced. If your guests are serious about Sushi take them to the #1 Sushi bar in Ventura county. Kaminari, It may be 5 minuter from where you live on Village Glen off Agoura Road, one block East of Wesdtlake Blvd. The three Sushi masters have almost 100 years of training in choosig fish . You will be transported to The Ginza. especially if you order that day fresh Uni from the Santa Barbara channel or a special oyster. The latter will stay on your mind for the rest of your life. Kaminari is to Sushi what Nobu Matsuhisa was 20 years ago before he went to NewYork and copped out. Howard is the owners name at Kaminari . Mention that Frankaboutfood.com sent you and you will have a meal that you will never forget. It could, howecver cost about ?$100 prox per person… but worth every penny.
Malibu Farms Dining Area on The Malibu Pier Mastro’s on the beach is the most expensive steak joint in the US. Dinner for 4 can easily cost $600. Need a closer look at the beach and sea lions drive 5 minutes down to Duke’s Food is OK for the price but not as satifying to me as Malibu Farms , Avoid Gladstone’s at Sunset completely. It is tremendously overpriced. Malibu Farms is fun and real. If you are planning a visit to downtown to The Disney, The Dorothy, Staples,Nokia or Moma and you have some hot shots from Manhattan who will rave about the restaurants of Manhattan with prices to match consider astonishing them with either WP 24 or Rivera. Both are expensive but worth it. WP 24 is a Wolfgang Puck product on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carleton overlooking the city in a beautiful room that features upscale Chinese food served by pros. A one block walk to Staples or Nokia. Dim Sum bar dining is also available at a much lower cost.
When Thomas Keller left the Los Angeles Hotel Scene to eventually expand his talents nationwide, he did not leave the town bereft of cooking talent. John Sedlar had been around at the top level from spots in Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and now in downtown L.A. with perhaps more adventuresome food than Keller. He currently operates Rivera in a remarkable room in downtown LA 7 minutes from all the big attractions. It is impossible to describe his style since he attacks from all angles, Small plates, Tapas, Full courses from the world. He has been a risk taker for 40 years and delivers world class food at superb levels. Expensive!!!! Avoid the ethnic Chinese or Japanese area downtown Hard to park, overprices suspe3ct. . If you want the best Chinese food in the United States,go to Monterey Park 15 minutes from downtown .It is worth the trek. For serious Japanese food consider The Sawtelle area around the 101 freeway and Pico and Olympic or farther South in Fontanas Gaardena a large Japanese liviong area. For serious Italian food at fair prices consider Tuscany or Rustico locally. They are as good as any in the state….yell ‘em I sent you. or downtown near all the attractions . in a spectacular room Check out Drago Centro on 5th st. I am now going to take a nap!!! FrankAboutFood.com