Friday, December 15, 2017
Features and More

Wine of the Week: Scharffenberger Brut Excellence

In the heat of a Florida summer the mind can play odd tricks. That must be the reason that our favorite quote from the economist John Maynard Keynes popped into our heads. He is said to have uttered on his deathbed: "My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

Thus were we admonished for not having tasted a sparkling wine lately, a terrible oversight, given that hot weather is the perfect time for this gift from a benevolent universe. One of our perennial favorites from California is Scharffenberger Brut Excellence, a nonvintage sparkler widely available for about $18.

Scharffenberger makes only sparkling wines and is very good at it. This toasty beauty is compounded of two parts chardonnay and one part pinot noir. It is a bottle fermented and aged two years on the yeast, yielding a creamy mouthfeel and a yeasty gust of freshly baked bread both on the nose and on the tongue, tempered in both cases by a light lemon kiss. Its bubbles are tiny and persistent. The finish is long, clean and lively.

First, a sparkling wine like this is the ideal aperitif, no matter what main course may follow, and is lovely all by itself on a Sunday afternoon. With what would we pair it? Absolutely anything, from white pizza to smoked salmon with lemon, capers and creme fraiche to a late-night snack of unadulterated Saint Agur blue cheese atop baguette rounds. Or cupcakes!

By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.

Comments
Straz Center reviewing Tavis Smiley theatrical tour in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Straz Center reviewing Tavis Smiley theatrical tour in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The theatrical tour about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that broadcaster Tavis Smiley is slated to bring to Tampa in March is still on schedule, according to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, though it is under review.PBS s...
Updated: 10 hours ago
This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

PARADES Homosassa Christmas Boat Parade Parade begins at Marker 75 by Bird Island. Free. Homosassa Springs Marina, 10806 W Halls River Road, Homosassa. 6 p.m. Dec. 16.   Indian Rocks Beach Boat Parade It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Updated: 12 hours ago
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17
New locations for Tampa’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, plus a Mario Lopez appearance

New locations for Tampa’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, plus a Mario Lopez appearance

New Year’s Eve fireworks in downtown Tampa will be a little different this year, as free, public viewing moves from Channelside Bay Plaza to Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park behind Amalie Arena due to ongoing construction. Meanwhile, the Pied Pipe...
Published: 12/14/17
Poll: Most Americans say 'Merry Christmas' and prefer Rudolph over Charlie Brown

Poll: Most Americans say 'Merry Christmas' and prefer Rudolph over Charlie Brown

The Monmouth University Polling institute released the results of their Christmas poll today.
Published: 12/14/17
‘This has gone too far,’ says defiant Tavis Smiley after PBS suspends his show for ‘misconduct’

‘This has gone too far,’ says defiant Tavis Smiley after PBS suspends his show for ‘misconduct’

PBS is "indefinitely" suspending distribution of the late-night talk show "Tavis Smiley" after multiple misconduct allegations emerged against the show’s 53-year-old host, PBS announced Wednesday.While a statement from a PBS spokeswoman did not say w...
Published: 12/14/17
Exploring the incredible color, cuisine, culture of India

Exploring the incredible color, cuisine, culture of India

DELHIAs I slid my shoes off and handed the man a five-rupee note before entering the Jama Masjid mosque, I could feel the heat from the red stone against my heels. I could also feel the intense stares of the Delhi locals. I don’t know which made me s...
Published: 12/14/17
Local craft beer of the week: Big Storm’s Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

Local craft beer of the week: Big Storm’s Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

The Tampa Bay Lightning is off to its best start in franchise history, racking up NHL highs in wins and points in their 25th anniversary season.That calls for a toast.And Odessa’s Big Storm Brewing has just the beer. Turns out, the brewery picked a g...
Published: 12/14/17
Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Why is eggnog a holiday tradition? Exploring fresh renditions of the classic drink

Eggnog dates back to medieval times when the British enjoyed a drink called "posset" that was made with hot milk, ale and spices. Later it became a drink for the wealthy who added expensive brandy or sherry. It was the alcohol that kept the milk from...
Published: 12/14/17