Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco

Sorry for the blurry picture (must have had too much of this bubbly 🙂 )

There are times you just want to have a sparkling wine without having to pay a ton of money for. I’m getting to be a fan of Cupcakes’ offerings of late and their Prosecco is the latest I’ve tried.

Produced from 100% Glera grapes this sparkling wine opens with honeydew melon, peach, and grapefruit on the nose.

On the palate the flavors of citrus and lemon prevailed, had a creamy texture, and had quite a bit of effervescence. The ABV is 11.2% so take it easy as bubblies tend to get into your bloodstream quicker making you giddy all the faster – so pace yourself. It had a toast finish that was very smooth.

Cupcakes’ website has a suggested retail price of $13.99 but I was able to find this at Table & Vine in West Springfield, MA for $9.99.


Ever wonder what kind of bubblies you should get for the New Year’s Eve festivities. Actually, whatever you’d like and here are three that fit the bill.

Cline Cellars 2009 Nancy’s Cuvee: On the nose you get an aroma of toast with subtle hay nuances. Lemon and green apple flavors follow on the palate. Made with 88% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Noir this sparkling wine has 13% alcohol by volume. In my opinion the $21 price tag is worth every penny. Good luck trying to get this as I believe they are sold out. So, make this a reminder for next year!

Furnace Brook 2010 French Cidre Special Reserve: Next up is a local sparkling beverage with a pleasant aroma of apples but not overpowering. Think tart apple on the palate and you will have a delectable beverage that is low in ABV at 6.9%. A decent buy at $12.99.

Cavit Prosecco Lunetta: Peach, apple, and nectarine gently float through your nostrils giving way to citrus flavors and has an 11% ABV. Reasonably priced at $10.99.

Have a memorable New Year’s Eve Celebration!

Cupcake NV Prosecco

Okay, seeing as the second date with a home cooked meal went fabulous, let’s impress your date a bit more. Show your new found love that you can host a small gathering of each of your respective friends – 6 to 8 people, that’s enough to start (you can do full blown weddings at a later date). It doesn’t have to be an extravagant 5 course meal but more on a buffet style food collection. You’ll want the proverbial scallops wrapped in bacon, Swedish meatballs, maybe an antipasto, chips & dip, slicing pepperoni, black olives, pickles, some cheeses, and an assortment of crackers. Be sure to add in goat’s milk cheese rolled in basil (you have to show you’re open to new things) and of course a pasta salad consisting of tri-colored Rotini, pepperoni, cheese cubes, broccoli, and cauliflower all mixed with an Italian style salad dressing. Choose the Cupcake Prosecco to start the evening off with. As for the rest of the wines to serve be brave and just wing it. You can end the evening by attending a local theatre specializing in foreign or independent films, again to show your date your personality is adventurous yet mysterious.

The Cupcake Prosecco is a light golden yellow color with nuances of peaches, nectarines, grapefruit and orange zest – really great aromas. Flavors of lemon and lime (they actually complement each other) with a creamy citrus finish close out this delectable and easy drinking Prosecco. This goes well as an aperitif or as the main ingredient in a Sangria. You can also add flavored liquors to add a little zip to the Prosecco, $10.99, 7-8 out of 10 wine glasses and a value of 4 1/2 out of 5 corks.

Across The River

I grew up in a town on the Connecticut River and had some relatives “across the river” to whom we would visit often. One thing nice about having relatives live so close by is that you get to see them a lot. Which in this situation was great because my aunt was famous for saying what was on her mind like “relatives are just like fish, after three days, they stink”. Of course my aunt was a no holds barred type of Italian that would speak her mind no matter who was around, no matter the situation, no matter who got embarrassed. But we all knew that was her demeanor and we loved her for it.

Well, one weekend the parents went away for a visit somewhere and my brother and I were shipped “across the river” to visit with my aunt and uncle and our cousins but that wasn’t a bad thing because at least my cousin was only a couple of years older than me and we got along pretty well. Well, the morning after our arrival we were sitting down at the breakfast table and our aunt was making toast for all of us. I don’t know how my aunt did it but she was able to bring a plate full of toast for the hungry monsters anxiously awaiting for the slightly browned bread without missing a beat.

Of course my aunt was good at making it look like there was more toast on the plate than there actually was by slicing the toast in half and was piled at least ten inches high and we would gobble the toast and dunk it into our coffee/milk mixture quicker than a lightening flash. Anyway, my brother is six years younger than me and eight years younger than my cousin (there was another older cousin who was like ancient because she was in her teen years and we just didn’t understand what the fuss was about). Well, every time my aunt brought a new plate of the delectable toasted nourishment my brother managed to finagle half the prized toast and my cousin and I were left with the other half which we collaboratively shared equally. Seeing as with each plate of toast my brother’s stash was growing larger my cousin and I were starting to develop a plan independent of each other but I’m sure supernatural forces were involved to prove otherwise.

You remember that I mentioned that my aunt sliced the toast in half when she brought it to the table, well the next time a plate arrived my cousin and I both grabbed a pile of toast which left nothing for my brother (mind you he already had a stash greater than the plate of toast that just arrived) which prompted him to cry the blues. I can’t remember whether my aunt and uncle tried to be diplomatic with my brother or my cousin and I got yelled at, but every time I make toast I think of this. Memories, it is what makes us who we are, enjoy and cherish them.

Well, let’s try some wines, shall we?

Apothic Red 2008 Winemaker’s Blend. This blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, and Merlot grapes are crafted to bring us red raspberry, cherry, and hints of vanilla on the nose. I used to make a strawberry rhubarb jam when I canned foods, well this wine tastes just like that strawberry rhubarb jam and to top it off it had a mocha finish. $9.99, 90 rating. Pair this with a turkey pot pie with all the vegetable staples or a Shepherds’ pie.

Riondo NV Prosecco. This sparkling wine opened with floral notes, orchard fruit tones, graham cracker and a hint of vanilla on the nose – a really nice combination. Sweet lemongrass, honeysuckle, and pear flavors followed and ended with an elegant, delicate finish. I’m really surprised with this Prosecco which in my mind would give some of the best champagne a run for the money. $10.00, 91 rating. Buy a couple of bottles and let your next party be filled with wonderment from your guests on how much you spent buying them champagne. Pair this with anything you’d like. It will go well as an
aperitif, a wedding toast (not to be confused with sliced toast:), an evening on the beach (yeah, I know it’s winter), appetizers for the super bowl, for a quaint evening on the back porch with smoked salmon and crackers (yes, when it gets warmer), or for any special occasion. You won’t be disappointed. I think I’ll pick up a few bottles although I wouldn’t recommend keeping them for more than a year.

Bohemian Highway 2008 California Merlot. This wine opened with fruity notes with mulberry aromas and a hint of cherry. Black cherry, black raspberry, and pepper flavors were dominant with a fairly smooth cherry finish. A lot of cherry in this wine. Not a bad wine for a stand alone. $5.99, 78 rating. Probably would go well with a naked dog or one more complex – the dog, not the wine!

Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends…


Cooking At Home

Okay, I’m still on my quest, inspired by Cousin Carl, to find low priced reds. By the way, Carl what is your idea of low priced reds? Under $20, under $15,  under $10, do I dare decrease the price any further?

Although I’m not as familiar with French wines as I am with North American wines I still have a propensity to learn more in both countries. Come to think of it I can still learn more about wines from the following countries also: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and yes, Mike, Australia. Are there other wines from around the world we should be looking at? How about Germany, Japan, Greece, New Zealand? More???

Perrin Reserve 2003 Cotes Du Rhone. This French wine blended of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mouvedre, 10% Cinsault provided a peppery and spice aroma yielding a black cherry flavor with a hint of blueberry. A great wine to watch a movie with. I did not try this with food but I’m sure the possibilities are endless. Grilled meats come to mind whether you grill chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, game dishes. Yummy, I’m beginning to think I should have had this with food instead, ah another rating then. Someone try this with food and tell me if it went well or is this a better stand-alone wine.  $12.99, 87 rating.

As I was chopping mushrooms, onions (pearl & white), and draining fresh peas whilst my wife was painting a fresh look in our living area, we decided to open this sparkling wine on a whim. This is why my wife is the handy person and I prefer to cook and taste wine. Why you ask? Well, my wife has always had a level head, of course as long as she doesn’t drink too much wine and when I drink too much wine I can’t paint for beans but I can still cook and taste more wine : ))

Villa Yolanda NV Prosecco. This Italian sparkling wine provides maraschino cherry, ripe pear (most likely a Bartlett) and apricot on the nose and very profound. The palate discovered ripe pear and tropical fruits with a smooth bubbly finish. Have this with anything you like. I find that flavored liqueurs such as strawberry, pear, peach, or black currant pare pear pair well with this wine. Boy, I’m glad I never entered a spelling be, bee (Me thinks I’ve had too much wine..)-  Spelling is worse than rating wine. Don’t you agree? Well, this comes in a convenient 200 ml bottle (part of a three-pack) for $12 and is a great alternative to the more expensive champagne of which I will discuss in future reviews as well as other inexpensive sparkling wines. 89 Rating.

Next on my list of wines is a Laetitia 2005 Arroyo Grande Valley Pinot Noir. Black cherry, spiced clove, and hints of smoked bacon. Raspberry plum flavor with a distinct cherry hard candy finish. This bottle was a gift so I don’t know the price (although I don’t believe it will fall into Cousin Carl’s low priced reds category). However, I do give this a 92 rating – a great Pinot Noir!

We paired this with Perdue’s Italian seasoned perfect portions boneless chicken breasts, a medley of fresh peas, shallots, and pearl onions. Sauteed mushrooms in white wine, sauteed white onions in olive oil, and leftover rice pilaf and broccoli & cheese ravioli rounded out this meal.


Here’s to good wine, good food, and good friends….