Mother’s Day Bubbly

Bubble Up

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s not too late to pick up a bottle of something nice as a gift. You can’t go wrong with sparkling wine and some of the best bubbly in the land is produced in Napa and Sonoma. Go with one of my reasonably priced favorites, a non-vintage blanc de noir made by Domaine Chandon, which sells for about the price of a 12-pack of imported beer. Or, for a few dollars more, try the current bottling of Mirabelle Brut (made by Schramsberg).

For an up-close-and-personal bubbly experience, I’d consider taking Mom to taste the wines firsthand at a Mother’s Day Brunch inside Domaine Chandon at the elegant Etoile restaurant. It’s a tough ticket, but who knows, they might be able to squeeze you in, so why not give them a call!

For a “budget-be-damned” escapade, upgrade to a serious sparkling import. Buy something sinfully French and decadently expensive like champagne. The really good stuff. The wine you’d drink if you won the lottery.You can pay a lot more for something with a label flounted by a movie star or singer, but for anyone else I’d recommend enjoying the sensational 1997 Salon blancs de blanc ($375-$440, various online retailers) sip by glorious sip.

Burp Me!

For beer lovers, a trip to Sacramento is in order. The West Coast Brew Fest, held on Saturday (May 9) in Miller Park on the banks of the Sacramento River, is one of the granddaddies of micro-brew festivals in the United States. I’ve got a ticket and will report back soon about the tasting.

Closer to home… There are two wineries you can walk to from the studios of KTVU-TV in Oakland, where this website is hosted. The first is Dashe Cellars, located about six blocks from KTVU! Dashe shares its space with another winery, JC Cellars, so it’s a two-for-one tasting opportunity. The other “walk-able” winery location is Rosenblum Cellars, but there’s a hitch. You’d first have to walk down to the edge of Jack London Square (about a 15-minute walk) and catch the Alameda-Oakland Ferry that drops you off minutes later within two blocks of Rosenblum’s tasting room door. On a pretty day, water travel can’t be beat.

For more information about urban wineries in this area, check out the East Bay Vintner’s Alliance.

Looking Ahead: It’s a Zin Fling Thing

If you like zinfandel, head for Lodi next weekend and dive into Zinfest 2009 — a three-day celebration of all things Zinfandel. The action starts Friday (May 15) with a winemaker dinner followed by a general tasting on Saturday and a series of winery open houses on Sunday. This is Northern California’s hidden Wine Country– the Lodi area has more than 60 wineries.

Do Talk Back

What’s your favorite “local” winery or wine spot? I’ll keep tabs of your responses and we’ll tabulate the results for future use.

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