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AOC Fine Wines Makes Holiday Celebrations Sparkle
Dec 19, 2011 (03:12 PM EST)

Champagne, sparkling wines and dessert wines from AOC Fine Wines of Greenwich (CT), Westchester (NY) and Manhattan (NY) shine in festive holiday meals and celebratory toasts.

NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Purveyors of the best and most unique red wines and white wines for all palates, AOC Fine Wines is helping hosts and hostesses make the most of their holiday festivities this month. Selections of sparkling wines and dessert wines are featured in their shops and online to help customers expand their toasting tools beyond Champagne and pair bubbly with a variety of dishes. Exposing various wine styles and winemaking regions is part of AOC's dedication to artisanal, affordable and flavorful wines.

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Once referred to as "the devil's wine," sparkling wine has earned its place in many of life's celebrations. The term "sparkling wine" refers to those with higher levels of carbon dioxide that exhibit bubbles during pour, making the once undesirable effervescence the perfect celebratory beverage. Most sparkling wines are white or rose; the dryer varieties are referred to as "brut" while the sweeter choices are labeled "doux." Dessert wines are typically produced to have higher sugar and alcohol contents and may be white or red.

While the moniker Champagne is reserved only for wines produced in the Champagne region of France, vineyards across many other countries produce sparkling wines as well. Portugal, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Germany, Austria, and even the U.S. are all contributors.

Beyond toasting, AOC encourages the enjoyment of sparkling wines and champagnes in supporting roles with meals. "Sparkling wines are perfect for much more than toasting," encourages Emmanuel Dupuy d'Angeac of AOC Fine Wines. "Dryer versions such as bruts provide subtle aromatics that don't interfere with more delicate dishes' flavors. Their elevated acidity levels pair perfectly with higher acidity foods such as asparagus risotto or lemon-infused artichokes and clams. And the yeasty character of many sparkling wines supports Japanese foods such as sushi and tempura very well."

This month, members of AOC's wine club will enjoy three sparkling wines from three unique winemaking regions: Sumarroaca Cava Brut ($14.99) from Spain, Moncontour Cuvee Predilection ($19.99) of France and Ida Agnoletti Selva 55 Frizzante Prosecco ($19.99) produced in Italy. Each brings hints of fruit and yeast to the nose and mouth with varying degrees of sweetness and fizz.

At a time of year when families and friends are more likely to linger at the table, featuring a dessert wine at your party may be just the thing. Served in smaller two-ounce portions, dessert wines best accompany baked sweets and fruits. "As a rule of thumb, select a dessert wine that offers a more intense, sweeter flavor than your dessert," suggests Dupuy d'Angeac.

Among the dessert wines featured by AOC are sweet French wines called Sauternes, including Chateau Rieussec, Chateau Guiraud and Chateau Suduiraut. AOC also suggests trying Jurancon from Domaine Bellegards, Bonnezeaux from the Loire Valley and Atwater - Celsius from the Finger Lakes of New York. For more traditionalists, AOC offers a full selection of well-known Champagnes including Gruet, Bollinger, Pierre Morlet, Roederer, Krug and Gosset.

More AOC wine suggestions, food pairings and recipes are available online at and in their wine shops in Greenwich, New Rochelle and Manhattan. This holiday, don't be afraid to serve sparkling wine throughout your meal. With a little consideration, flavors can be combined to make the whole evening feel like a celebration. "Time to move beyond champagne and strawberries. Even popcorn tastes better with sparkling wine!," declares Dupuy d'Angeac. Cheers!