Sparklers like our Wine of the Week, Schramsberg 2009 North Coast Brut Rosé ($43), are, in a word, delightful. The delicate bubbles tickle as we raise a just-filled flute to take a first sip. As the wine splashes onto the palate, we immediately feel lifted, lighter, happier. If the sparkler happens to be beautifully made, with pretty aromas and layers of flavor, which is just what this beautiful wine has, so much the better. For however many sips you savor, life is good.
There's a suggestion of roses in the wine's bouquet, along with a slight suggestion of buttery toast or warm popovers fresh from the oven.
On the palate, you'll notice raspberries and a bit of cardamom rising above a foundation of earthy yeast and another little flourish of that toast. It is fully dry and refreshing, with a lingering finish.
The texture, while rich, is clean and delicate. This is a refined, sophisticated sparkler but not a stuffy one. It's more of a flapper in a red chiffon dress doing the Charleston than, say, a dowager in black taffeta sniffing at a racy comment. Still, you can enjoy it almost anywhere, with anything.
It is extraordinary with a good paté, one of the best pairings possible. It is also outstanding with wild Pacific King salmon, smoked salmon and other smoked fish, raw oysters with raspberry mignonette and many types of sashimi and sushi. It is equally good, or nearly so, with simple roasted chicken, pasta with rock shrimp and sweet pepper butter, and whatever you like to grill outside on a warm night. Enjoy it at midnight with scrambled eggs and at noon with eggs Benedict. The possibilities are nearly endless; we should all live so long as to run out of ideas for happy companions with this wine.
For today's recipe, I've chosen a terrine of smoked trout that is very easy to make. Not many of us take time these days to make a true paté, but this simple preparation takes just minutes. If you don't have smoked trout, use your favorite smoked fish.