Sparkle Every Day
Vinya's Allegra Angelo of Miami wants you to drink sparkling wine anytime
Allegra Angelo is on a mission.
The in-house sommelier at Vinya wine shop (328 Crandon Blvd.), in Miami’s tony Key Biscayne neighborhood, wants people to break out the bubbly — even if it’s a Tuesday evening of takeout and Netflix.
Traditionally relegated to holidays and special occasions, Champagne and sparkling wines should be enjoyed all the time, says Angelo. “Holiday or no holiday, you can never have too much bubbly.”
Angelo should know. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Angelo is a Master Sommelier and has worked with some of the country’s finest chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michelle Bernstein; she has also worked at some of the finest restaurants in the city, including La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental and Cafe La Trova, both in Miami. To further her studies in all aspects of the winemaking process, Angelo has also worked wine harvests in Burgundy, Tuscany, and Spain and was the 2016 winner of the U.S. sommelier competition, TopSomm.
At Vinya, Angelo curates a selection of sparkling wines and Champagnes that start at a budget-friendly $16 — which means that you really can enjoy bubbles every day.
Here, Angelo shares her five favorite bottles sorted from budget to splurge for New Year’s Eve — or just cuddling on the sofa. Vinya ships to most cities nationwide at vinyawine.com or visit Angelo at the shop when you’re in Miami.
Lambrusco di Sorbara, Emma by Cantina di Sorbara NV (about $12 to $16 retail).
“I typically don’t like Lambrusco because I find them too medicinal or sweet. What I love about the Sorbara style is that it is juicy, tart, and delicate. It’s like drinking a bowl of perfectly ripe wild berries. Now, who wouldn’t cheers to that?”
Prosecco Valdobbiadene, Superiore by De Faveri NV (about $20 retail)
“De Faveri's Valdobbiadene Superiore bottling is, hands-down, my favorite prosecco of the year because its bubbles are fine and its palate is luscious yet dry (yes, dry). At 9 grams of sugar per liter, it falls within the category of "Brut," which saves you from those next-day headaches and empty calories. On top of its super sleek packaging, it makes the perfect spritz (see recipe below). For this price, there's no better prosecco than De Faveri.”
Allegra’s Italian Aperol Spritz
3/4 oz Aperol
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz fresh peach juice
3 oz prosecco
Build all the ingredients in a wine glass, add ice, top with soda water, then garnish with fresh basil, mint, and a thick orange slice.
Grüner Veltliner Brut by Stift Klosterneuburg NV (about $20 retail)
”I recently just tasted this and I was impressed. It captures the love-it-or-hate-it spirit of Grüner with crunchy bubbles, savory root vegetables, and a hint of friendly spice. Totally crushable by itself, but I wouldn’t mind washing down some crispy bok choy or sweet potato fries with this one!”
Champagne, Brut Premier Cru by Aubry NV (about $45 retail)
“One of the most adored estates in Champagne, Aubry is located in the village of Jouy-lès-Reims, in the western sector of the Montagne de Reims. They are leading ambassadors of Champagne's obscure native grapes, farming Arbanne, Petit Meslier, Fromenteau (the local name for Pinot Gris), and Pinot Blanc in addition to “the big three." This entry-level cuvée is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir with 5 percent of the local varieties, but what makes it stand out is the impressive amount of reserve wine in the blend — 50 percent of the wine comes from a perpetual reserve solera (one barrel) started in 1998. Smoky, floral, vibrant, and citrusy, Aubry Premier Cru is a delicious alternative to the big brand names.”
Grand Cru Rosé Champagne by Eric Rodez NV (about $80 to $120 retail)
"I call Eric Rodez my “Va va va voom!” Champagne. Decadent, yet elegant, Eric Rodez Champagne wines are for hard-to-please bubbleheads. Almost equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Ambonnay Grand Cru, this former Krug cellar master uses a high proportion of reserve wine, giving the final wine its deep pocket of flavor and complexity.”