Bring on the bubbly

BY November 30, 2011

Without the cold to act as a beacon to the holiday season, you have to have traditions that get you into the spirit in Southwest Florida.

There’s the tree lightings on Third Street and Fifth Avenue and the annual Christmas parade. But for me, the one event that signals the start of Christmas is the annual Champagne and sparklers tasting at Tony’s Off Third. For the past few years, my wife and I have dutifully paid our $25 to stand around tables at the bakery/wine shop’s patio bar and delved into all things bubbly.

The first year we found a lovely sparkling wine from Argentina, by Pascual Toso, which we served at our wedding a few weeks later. We became enamored with Rose Regale, a semi-dry sparkling red that goes down like the alcoholic version of strawberry soda—an adult version of a youthful indulgence.

The next year, we sampled a cava from Poema that has become one of our go-to celebration drinks and delighted at the inexpensive, but elegant Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve.

Now in its 13th year, the tasting offers something for both oenophiles and folks who just like the feeling of the bubbles tickling the nose. And best of all—you get $10 of your $25 admission to spend on a bottle of wine.

If you want a spot at Friday’s tasting, better hurry. They go quickly. Call 262-7999 or go to for more information.

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