Jul 062011

Hello fans of all things effervescent.  Shaker One is back with yet another prosecco for you to try.  You may ask, “do you do nothing but sample proseccos in your spare time?”  Well, I do cook as well.  :/

Here’s another from my beloved Trader Joe’s:

Villa Carlotti Prosecco.  Similar price point to my old pal Zonin.

I tried this one straight-no berries or additions.  It is a dryer bubbly, balanced and pleasant with a hint of apricots.  Oh man, now I sound like one of THOSE wine people.  Stop me.  Anyway, I enjoyed it and it has earned itself a seat on the bench.  If Zonin goes out of the game, I’ll send in this sparkler.


Now go pour yourselves a glass of something fun.


Jun 292011

Shaker One here-back for another sip of all things fizzy.   So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a wine drinker.  I enjoy hearty reds with meals.  But wine is a “drink with food” beverage for me.  And for some odd reason -bubblies aside- I only drink reds.  While grabbing a few bottles of my new friend Lambrusco (red) I noticed that they had the same brand in white….hmmmm.  I was intrigued.


You know the drill:  glass, ice, toss in a few berries for fun and here we go.

Nice!  Very nice.  Soft, not too sweet and none of that “oaky” chardonnay taste I loathe.  You could very easily make a white sangria from this for the summer….add fresh berries, nectarines, whatever fruit makes you happy.

I’m still crushing hard on my new bestest summer friend Red Lambrusco, but Whitey can stop by every now and then and join in the fun.

Oh Lambruscos, where have you been all my summertimes?

Jun 222011

Hello bubbly fans, Shaker One here with the latest taste of all things fizzy.  After my experience with that retro red Riunite, I became curious about lambruscos.  What are these fizzy chilled reds?  Was the Riunite a fluke, or have I stumbled upon the perfect summer red?

So on my latest trip to Trader Joe’s I poked around and sure enough, they had a few different types.  I grabbed one bottle of a red lambrusco and one bottle of a white lambrusco (to be tasted later).  And last night I had one of those “I’m too tired to make dinner” nights.  Out of the freezer came a Tart D’Alsace (from TJ’s, shocking I know)which is phenomenal by the way……a French style flatbread with ham, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese.  Yum, and a perfect meal paired with a nice arugula salad.  While it baked, I poked around in the fridge pondering a suitable adult beverage.  Hmmm, let’s try that red lambrusco.

Over ice, in a wine goblet with a strawberry and wedge of lemon thrown in for good measure.


Oh my.  This one is fantastic!  Poured out with a nice foamy pink head, it had a fruity smell.  One sip and I’m hooked.  It is refreshing and fruity tasting without being at all sweet.  This will become a regular in my basket on my weekly (ok, bi or tri weekly) TJ’s field trips.  Though we’re “enjoying” the typical June Gloom here in Southern California, I can see this being just the thing to hit the spot on a hot summer day/evening.

And I’ve saved the best for last-this lovely refresher chimes in at around $6 a bottle!  Wow.  Lambrusco, I’m beginning to develop a healthy crush on you.

Jun 152011

Welcome back bubbly fans.  Just a quick review today of  my latest stop on the Tour of All Wines Sparkly.  On my last visit to Trader Joe’s, I was restocking the prosecco supplies when I spied a different bottle on the shelf.  Same price range as my beloved go to Zonin,so I picked up a bottle to try.


Fast forward to last night, movie in the dvd player, strawberries in the fridge begging for a dip.  Out came our new friend Louise d’Estree.  It poured into the glass with a nice healthy head of foam.  I took my first sip and paused.  This may be a personal preference issue, and I’m not educated enough on wine to give you specifics, but I very much prefer the Zonin.  This one isn’t bad or unpleasant.  Yet it lacks the light sparkle of Zonin.  It also has a very slight hint of something bitter in the end notes.  Again, not bad or unpleasant, but it doesn’t make me want to keep drinking it.  I think it would be ok in a mimosa, but since it is the same price as Zonin and not equal or better in taste, I don’t see a reason to buy it again.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many enjoyable bubblies there are in the $10 and under range, so I can afford to be a bit selective.  If someone brought this as a hostess gift it would end up as mimosas.  Otherwise, I don’t think it will make it into my shopping cart a second time.


Zonin, you are still my prosecco hero.

Jun 082011

Bonjour and welcome to the latest episode of Bubbly Tales.  Shaker One recently enjoyed a fabulous trip to Paris.  While there, I may have sipped a Kir Royale or twelve.  (no, not all in the same day)

But the drink that knocked my chaussettes off in a city that isn’t exactly known for it’s cocktails was this:

Ordered on a whim from a menu at, of all places, The Left Bank Marriot hotel bar…….The Paris Chic.

Wow.  Spectacular in both visual appeal and taste.  Had I discovered this beauty earlier in my trip we would have enjoyed a brief but passionate affair of the glass.  As it was, it was the perfect cocktail on my last night to bid au revoir to The City of Lights.  And the fact that the waitress spilled the first round on me made me feel like I’d been baptized by Paris.

It’s impossible not to feel good while holding this in your hand:

I can’t wait to gather the ingredients to make this at home.  And bring a bit of Paris to an evening whenever I wish.

Je t’aime Paris, J’adore Le Paris Chic!

Jun 012011

For this week’s episode of Bubbly Tales, I’m going to ask you to take a trip in the Wayback Machine with me all the way to 1983….Ah, fluffy hair, men’s suits still suffering from the 70’s hangover, and Riunite.  Yes, I said Riunite.

In the aftermath of Shaker Two’s move, I found myself the new owner of a few lonely bottles.  One of which was Riunite Lambrusco.  Now I knew nothing about this except half remembered jingles from decades past.  They still make this stuff?  People drink it?  Huh.

My first thought was-its red wine, why is it in the fridge?  I was pretty sure I’d never open it.  Then over the holiday weekend I was craving something different…..not a martini, not even a glass of the old standby prosecco.  I opened the fridge and spied that retro bottle.  Figuring the worst that would happen is that I’d be pouring it down the drain I pulled it out and unscrewed the cap.  Yep, screwcap.  Heh.

You know, it was surprisingly pleasant!  A very subtle fizz, more of a hiss than a foam and not too heavy.  Full disclosure:  I poured it over ice in a glass and squeezed a lemon wedge in for good measure.  Next time I’d do an orange slice.  It drinks a bit like a naked sangria-no fruit juice, no extra booze additions.  I can see this being a decent picnic wine or tailgate beverage.  And its cheap.  Like $6 a bottle.  Who would have thought?

Now I’m not going to tell you that this is a fine wine.  But it does make me curious to try other lambruscos.  And though it barely falls into the ‘bubbly’ category, it is good to go outside your comfort zone now and then.

Would I buy it again?  Maybe.  Will I look for other Lambruscos?  Definitely.  Would I get my hair feathered?  Not gonna happen.

(Now if I could only get that damn song out of my head…..)



May 182011

Shaker Two deserves all the credit for this lovely find.

Schlumberger White Secco



A sweet (pleasantly so, not at all cloying) fizzy pour of sparkles in your flute.  The perfect end to a summer dinner, perhaps with some fresh fruit.  This is not a mixing bubbly and I would definitely not cook with it….except perhaps to make a champagne sorbet.

Under $20 a bottle.  Shaker One grabbed the sole bottle on hand when she spied it at the Candy Store (Beverage Warehouse).

A sweet kiss to end the evening.



May 112011

Welcome bubbly aficionados to another episode of Bubbly Tales.  Today I’d like to introduce you to one of Shaker One’s favorite players:


Purchased at Trader Joe’s, this go-to sparkler retails for under $8.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It is perfect with mimosas or other mixed cocktails and really very pleasant on its own.  I often enjoy a glass or three simply with a strawberry dropped into the bottom of the glass.

And as I am not a white wine drinker, other than the bubbly types, I also use this to deglaze a pan or make a sauce….anywhere you’d use a dry white wine.  At this price point I don’t even feel bad if I open a bottle, enjoy a few glasses over two or three days and end up pouring the rest out.  Not what I’d select for a celebration or fancy dinner, but a solid choice for your everyday workhorse bubbly.  Affordable, drinkable, mixable, cookable…….this bubbly is one to keep on hand.


Give it a try.  Unless you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby.  Then I’m so, so sorry for you.

May 042011

So, aside from our obvious enjoyment of all things martini, the Shakers love a nice sparkling wine.  Champagne, prosecco, cava…..each of them do the happy dance on our tongues.

As a bit of a break from the stronger drinks, Shaker One would like to introduce you to the first in a series of all things bubbly.  Our favorite brands, tools, storage tips, bubbly friendly cocktail recipes….if it sparkles I’m determined to cover it.  The world of bubbly is infinite and magical, so we shall take our time with this journey.


But to begin-Blackberry Prosecco Cocktail:

Blackberry Prosecco Cocktail


Fresh blackberries muddled with just a splash of Cointreau or Triple Sec, topped with prosecco and a bit of orange zest.  I also threw in a few drops of Bitters, but if you prefer a sweeter experience leave those out. And of course you can use champagne or cava in place of the prosecco if you prefer.

Oh my,  I do love berries in bubbly….as when you’ve finished drinking the liquid you get to fish them out, plump and succulent from their marination.  They are the Crackerjack prize at the bottom of my glass.

Summer is just around the corner….the perfect time to stamp your libation passport with as many effervescent trips as you can take.  Cheers!


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