Our Wine of the Week, Korbel 2016 California Champagne Brut ($16), may be the best Korbel sparkler I’ve ever tasted. It is elegant, with restrained effervescence and beautifully integrated flavors that range from delicate orange and lime notes to raw green apple, slightly toasty yeast, and a subtle suggestions of sweet lemon on the wine’s lengthy finish.
That it is made with organic grapes adds a layer of cerebral pleasure to the sipping experience.
Generally speaking, thoughts on pairing sparkling wines are divided into two categories, a belief that Champagne and other sparklers go with pretty much everything and the opposite belief, that they don’t and should be paired carefully. I’m of the former sensibility and, honestly, have never encountered anything edible that wouldn’t welcome a glass of bubbly alongside.
I’m also of the mind that we should drink more sparkling wine. There is still the tendency to save it for a special occasion, but as far as I’m concerned, the sun coming up in the morning is special enough.
At this price, you can indulge daily if you like. And there’s always the added benefit of lower alcohol; this one weighs in at 12 percent, well below some of our bigger still wines, that can climb as high as 15 or even 16 percent, which limits not only the foods that work with them but also limits how much we can enjoy. Most hangovers — wine headaches, if you prefer — have to do with alcohol.
To enjoy this wine with, say, steak, leg of lamb, or other meat, add a spritz of lemon just before serving it. Otherwise, choose foods that are in season and enjoy yourself: It’s that simple.
Today’s recipe is inspired by a dish in “The White House Cookbook,” published in 1887. It is said to have been a favorite of Grover Cleveland, our 22nd and 24th president, who liked the fritters — neat, without the sauce — on his Thanksgiving table.
They are also perfect as a Christmas appetizer. If you serve prime rib for your holiday dinner, the horseradish sauce that accompanies the fritters suggests what is coming up. If you like, you can always make a double batch so you have plenty for the main meal.
Parsnip Fritters with Horseradish Cream
Serves 4 to 6
— Peanut oil for deep frying
11/2 pounds parsnips, trimmed and grated on the large blade of a box grater
6 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
— Generous pinch of ground cayenne or other ground chile
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
— Black pepper in a mill
3 pastured eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons peeled and grated horseradish root
3/4 cup creme fraiche
Pour 3 to 4 inches of peanut oil into a deep saucepan or deep fryer, set over high heat and bring the temperature to 360 degrees.
While the oil heats, combine the ingredients. Put the parsnips and two-thirds of the parsley into a mixing bowl and set aside. Put the flour, nutmeg, coriander, cayenne or other chile, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt into a small bowl and mix well. Tip it into the parsnips and use two forks to toss together. Add the eggs and mix quickly but thoroughly; do not over mix.