The Carlton Restaurant

Archives: December 2009

Happy New Year from The Carlton Restaurant

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On behalf of our fine staff at The Carlton Restaurant and on behalf of my family and me,
I want to wish you a very happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

And, speaking of blessings, I’d also like to offer you this old Irish Blessing!

May all that you wish for be the least you get,
and may the best times you’ve ever had
be the worst you’ll ever see!
-an Old Irish Blessing

This Week’s Wine Wisdom

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new_years_toastTomorrow is New Year’s Eve and there’s no better way to bring in the new year than with the classic tradition of cracking open a bottle of bubbly and celebrating. asked a panel of wine experts their thoughts on what a good sparkling wine alternative would be to toast the clock striking midnight (source:

“At the turn of midnight, New Year’s Eve, you don’t want to be singing Ol’Langsynen with an expensive Champagne being carelessly flung around. However, you do want to think that you are drinking true Champagne. Well, there is one Cava that hits the jackpot. It is Montsarra at $16 a bottle, you cannot go wrong with this wine. It has a beautiful label and also a true Champagne taste. The three traditional grapes, Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada are enhanced by 5% Chardonnay, one of the three principal Champagne grapes [the other two being Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier]. This 5% Chardonnay lends it to being more true to Champagne, whereas those that add grapes which are neither true to Cava or Champagne may be fun but more of a fruit cocktail. Montsarra has been consistently the highest ranked Cava by the Wine Enthusiast and it is certainly the only sparkling wine that I like to drink as much as true Champagne.” – Bartholomew Broadbent, CEO, Broadbent Selections, San Francisco


“Rosé Sparkling Wine/Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé. Start off the New Year with a new wine! Cremant de Bourgogne is methode Champenoise sparkling wine from Burgundy and a celebratory at that. The NV Parigot Rosé (approx $20-$25) is 100% Pinot Noir juice with a great summer sunset color and moderatly priced in the low twenties.” – Jamie Koren, Buyer/Sales, The Wine House, Los Angeles


“Try an elegant, smaller production grower-producer Champagne rather than one from a larger, commercially run Champagne house. My recommendation is the 2000 Franck Bonville Brut Millesime Blanc de Blancs Champagne (Price range typically $30-$35). This Champagne is bright and clean with notes of green apple, white flowers and a hint of biscuit.” Mulan Chan, Rhône and French Regional Buyer, K&L Wine Merchants


Roederer Estate N.V. (approx $35). A California sparkler that has loads of fruit and body. This is the one I recommend when someone asks what’s your favorite “reasonably priced” bubbly that’s widely available in stores. Score: 89/100.” – Natalie MacLean, author of the best selling book Red, White and Drunk All Over, offers a free e-newsletter at


“Cava. My recommendation is the Colet Brut Cava ‘A Priori’ (approx $15). I love drinking Champagnes any day of the year. But as Terry Theise, the importer of most of the grower Champagnes that we sell, says, “happiness is being ticklish in more than one place.” My favorite place outside of Champagne to get tickled with bubbles is Spain, whose sparkling wine is called Cava. Colet’s ‘A Priori’ includes, besides the traditional Cava grapes Macabeo and Chardonnay, smidgeons of Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Muscat, which gives the wine wonderful aromatic verve.” – Mark Middlebrook, Paul Marcus Wines, Oakland, California


“Instead of mass-produced grocery store Champagne, why not try an estate-bottled beauty for even less money? My recommendation is the Ariston Carte Blanche Brut Champagne (Price range typically mid $20’s). Our best deal in bubbles? No doubt many on our staff would say yes! From the small commune of Brouillet in Champagne, the Ariston is made from 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Meunier. A balanced cuvee in every way, this Champagne is clean and powerful at once. No bottle in our inventory transports me to Champagne like this one. It is as true to the terroir and as pure as anything I could wish for.” – Gary Westby, Champagne Buyer, K&L Wine Merchants


“Prosecco. Specically, I would suggest Riondo Prosecco (approx $12). By the time midnight rolls around, most revelers have had plenty of libations so I suggest something softer and friendlier like Prosecco. This hugely popular Italian sparkler is all the rage because they have abundant fruit, softer carbonation and lively, crisp finishes.” – – Efrain Madrigal, Wine Director, Sam’s Wines & Spirits, Chicago, Highland Park and Downer’s Grove, Illinois

The Carlton’s Quick Picks

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New Years EveWe hope you had a great Christmas!  One of my favorite things about Pittsburgh, is that no matter what time of year it is, there are always so many fun and unique events in and around the city.  Now that Christmas is over, here are som events to get you ready for News Year’s Eve and 2010!

1. DREAMGIRLS. You know you loved the movie, now see it on the stage at Heinz Hall starting Tuesday, December 29!  CATCH THE DREAM! Direct from the world famous Apollo Theatre in New York City, DREAMGIRLS tells the rags-to-riches story of a 1960s Motown girl group and the triumphs and tribulations that come with fame and fortune. With music by Academy Award® nominee Henry Krieger and book/lyrics by Tony® and Grammy®-winning Tom Eyen, DREAMGIRLS features the unforgettable hits “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” “One Night Only” and “Listen.” Broadway director/choreographer Robert Longbottom and co-choreographer Shane Sparks (TV’s So You Think You Can Dance), re-envision DREAMGIRLS so it sparkles like never before!  Join us at The Carlton beforehand for dinner and enjoy a free limo ride to the show!

2. Noon Year’s Eve Celebration. What better way to get the kids involved in New Year’s than with a NOON YEAR’S EVE Celebration at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium?! Ring in the New Year with the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and Radio Disney. Come to the PPG Aquarium from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a Noon Years Eve Celebration of Time Square proportions. Count down to 12 o’clock noon with Radio Disney disc jockeys, make noise makers and party hats, enjoy live entertainment, and help count down for a special ball drop.  Also perfect for those of us have a hard time staying up until midnight (not me, of course!)

3. First Night Pittsburgh. Join your fellow Pittsburghers on New Year’s Eve throughout the Cultural District for Pittsburgh’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy the grand First Night parade, plus an eclectic showcase of live music, dance and entertainment. Kids young and old will delight in this festive evening. The celebration concludes with spectacular fireworks and the exciting First Night finale, The Future of Pittsburgh, Countdown to Midnight, courtesy of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.  If you need to warm up, visit us at the Carlton for a cocktail and/or meal!

4. Gateway Clipper New Year’s Eve Cruises. For a different kind of New Year’s, join the Gateway Clipper Fleet for one of three spectacular New Year’s Eve Cruises!  Enjoy live entertainment, food and beverage, and the beautiful view of Pittsburgh!

5. Make a New Year’s Resolution. What’s yours going to be for 2010?