Just in time for Feast and Field’s Sparkling Wine issue, we discovered a fabulous new reality competition on SOMMTV, a streaming service dedicated to the worlds of wine, gastronomy, travel and hospitality.
“Sparklers” pits five wine professionals against each other in the kitchen while showcasing sparkling wine. (And, yes, we’re a little addicted.) We chatted with sommelier and founder of Dirty Radish, Chevonne Ball (one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40s of 2020), the guest judge for the Dec. 28 episode, who just happens to present one of our favorite new finds, Faire Le Fete.
How did you get involved in “Sparklers?”
My dear friend and “Sparklers” contestant, Maryam Ahmed, put me in touch with the producers. It was an easy yes for me to participate!
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Can you tell us a bit about the episode you are judging?
It was filmed at the beautiful AtTheJoy house in the even more stunning hills of Eola-Amity, which is one of my favorite sub-AVAs in the Willamette Valley. (I made Gamay Noir from there in 2020, still a few bottles available!) It’s known for the consistent winds in the Van Duzer Couloir, which make wines from this region bold and beautiful. I was definitely surprised at the secret ingredient they were supposed to use but I’m now a fan! (Sorry, no spoilers!)
Something that will surprise viewers?
If you haven’t already noticed, they took this contest very seriously. I was very impressed with the dishes each of them offered. The details and ideas were truly top notch.
Since this episode airs right before NYE, what are your tips for serving sparkling drinks at NYE? Crowd-pleasing tips and tricks?
- If you can splurge on the good stuff, do it! But don’t feel obligated to do so. There are excellent sparkling wines for small budgets.
- Better keep it really cold, so break out that ice bucket or make it yourself, but keep those bubbles cold!
- If the flutes are festive, they do not release the aromatics. Don’t be afraid to serve your sparkling wine in a white wine glass or even a Burgundy bowl. Truth be told, I love a good sparkling wine in a porcelain teacup. Do not ask me why !
Finally, do you have a website we can link to?
“Sparklers” airs on SOMMTV every Tuesday. Watch the trailer HERE.