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In December, we drink Champagne at closing at K&L- and we prefer to drink it out of magnum when possible. The highlight this year was the Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L) magnum ($74.99) that we had on Christmas eve. This single vineyard beauty comes from the Gouttes d’Or, a very steep east facing parcel in the little village of Brouillet. It was creamy, delicate and perfectly refreshing! We all say to cheers to you, and hope your holiday is filled with fun and friends!

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Prosecco with Power!

I have been looking for a Prosecco producer that we could import directly for a few years. Last April in Italy I met with the very young bother-and-sister team of Silvano and Alberta Follador. We didn’t even taste their wines when we first met. They just wanted to meet me before we even thought about the wine. We liked each other immediately. In today’s world of fast-paced business it was very refreshing to see that producers were more interested in who was going to take care of their wines rather than how much we were going to buy. I walked away hoping that they made wine that was at the very least good. A month later we tasted the samples and YOWSA! We were stunned by the quality; I have never tasted better Prosecco than these. Dumfounded by the quality, humbly I asked for the price list knowing the quality and the stunning package would demand some outrageous price. The prices matched their personalities, however, humble and honest. Prosecco, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, is a grape, just like chardonnay or cabernet. As a grape, it can be made into sparkling, semi-sparkling, still or sweet wine. The towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano are the center of the DOC production and lay about an hour to the northwest of Venice. In the Silvano Follador Prosecco Valdobbiadene Brut ($10.99), the first thing you notice is the incredibly perfumed nose. Beautifully balanced and delicate, it is followed by refined fruits with hints of yeasty complexity without being ponderous. This sparkling wine is a perfect aperitivo—long, pure and refreshing. It makes you want to drink glass after glass. The Silvano Follador Prosecco Valdobbiadene Extra Dry ($10.99) has a slightly higher dosage, and that gives this wine a slight more heft on the palate. Prosecco is generally made at the Extra Dry level, where its creamier feel gives more body to the generally slightly lower alcohol levels of 11.5%. It is truly an exceptionally versatile food wine! The Silvano Follador Prosecco Valdobbiadene “Superiore di Cartizze” ($17.99) comes from the most famous “vineyard zone” in the region, a 266-acre slope framed by the villages of San Pietro Barbozza, Saccol and Santo Stefano (from where the Folladors hail). Cartizze traditionally has a higher dosage than the rest of the wines, but its increased power carries it off well. More complexity, broader on the palate, richer flavors, this is certainly a marvelous match for spicy cuisine. Although we weren’t originally given any samples of the Silvano Follador Prosecco Valdobbiadene “Sui Lieviti” Frizzante ($10.99), when I saw it in their catalog I had to ask about it. Silvano said, “Oh that’s just what we drink locally here.” I said that’s what I’d like to drink here! It is Prosecco fermented in the bottle and not disgorged, so there are still some dead yeast cells in the wine that make it a little cloudy. If you are a beer drinker, it is sort of like a Hefe-Weizen Prosecco! Enjoy! —Greg St.Clair

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