On The First Day of Vino-Christmas, my True Love Gave to Me: Tomac Brut Rosé NV from Jastrebarsko, Croatia.
Today ‘s wine was going to definitely be a sparkler, for a few reasons. First of which, my drinking partner Christine Carlsen and I had a smokin’ hot date to get together in the afternoon and bake Christmas cookies, for her holiday party later this week. This would be her Christmas party in which we were all expected to show up with a satchel of Christmas cookies in tow for a jolly old cookie exchange. So I’m thinking, cookie dough batter pairs with…Bubbly! Well, any excuse to drink bubbly is good enough for me, but the ever-bubbly Mama C (as we’ve dubbed her) is reason enough. Bubbly also works here on so many levels, such as the fact that it’s the FIRST day of this project, and coincidentally, bubbles are the first thing I hand guests as they walk through my door for a party. Plus, my True Love, knowing me would definitely give me bubbles to set the tone for a great evening (or afternoon, as it were).
So, without any further ado:
Tomac Brut Rose NV from Jastrebarsko, Croatia.
April: At first this wine came off a little, well, alcohol-y. That was the predominant note on first taste. I didn’t study up on this wine because I just wanted to make an honest impression, so I don’t know what grapes they used. Also, it tasted a little over-the-hill, slightly maderized and lacking acidity. This is a little tricky with NV wines, since you don’t know how long they’ve been sitting on the shelf, but I received this wine as a gift only a couple months ago so I would think it’s reasonably fresh…
The first taste was unanimously unimpressive. Bummer, since I’m usually a big fan of sparklers and I think I’m pretty forgiving in this category provided the quality at least hits the decent mark. Both the A-Teamers (Christine and Kim, who joined us a bit later) were pretty unresponsive, leading me to believe that either the wine didn’t do much for them or that I needed to give them some more wine to get them talking. I wanted to give this wine another chance, so we sat the glasses down and decided to revisit them later.
One hour later:
Christine busts out a suh-weet plate of cheeses she scored on a recent trip to Italy’s Northeast. Once we’ve taken a stab at a few of these cheeses, namely the cranberry-studded crumbly cheese, the wine perks up considerably. Kim makes the comment that this would be a good wine for a pre-dinner drink, something that seems to work well with the salty foil of cheese. Christine agrees and also likes it with the cookie dough for my Chocolate-Espresso Snowballs.
I think that A) it takes a glass of wine down the hatch to lubricate your friends enough to give an honest opinion about the wine and B) some wines demand a companion nibble to make them rise to the occasion.
Give it a shot. It’s not my favorite Croatian wine by any stretch, nor my favorite inexpensive sparkler (I’m assuming it’s inexpensive). But it’s totally decent, a great party starter with some nice cranberry tones and, hey, it’s very pretty in the glass. I think that if you’re passing it with some salty apps, it’s a very appropriate wine to serve to get things rolling.
Can you see the recipe below? I tried to link it with the recipe from Food and Wine mag’s website, but it’s in the December 2011 edition (of the magazine) and it’s not online yet. If you can read it, and you want to make these seriously killer Christmas cookies, I recommend adding another stick (1/2 cup) of butter to the recipe. They were really crumbly prior to doing that. I also used salted butter which I preferred.
And oh, did you see those adorable aprons (ok you can’t really see mine but it’s cute as heck)? Christine gifted these vintage gems to us last year around Christmas time (see I told you she was incredibly thoughtful!). I couldn’t resist the temptation to pair them up with my new patent leather red heels, which is a little ridiculous for baking cookies, but nobody said you have to be sensible all the time. Too bad they didn’t make the picture, they’re totally badass.