The year was 2017, a trip to see one of my very best friends whom I’d never met over the course of a five year friendship. We met through work, chatting over Skype and here we are years later still friends and still endlessly chatting regardless of the eight hour time difference between us. It helps that I am an insomniac and a night owl. On a whim I booked a ticket two days after Christmas to spend the dog days in between and New Years’ in San Francisco. I didn’t have to worry about paying extortionate prices for a hotel at that time of the year; she had a room for me, actually an entire floor for me in her house, never mind that we’d never met face to face and I could very well be a serial killer. But my girl was like come stay we’ll go to Napa and get really sloshed.

We did. Or I did because she was driving and we are both light weights.

I know champagne. I love champagne, and I get the hype of Dom Perignon; its smooth right the way through, with just enough of that something. But when it comes to wine I’m growing; I’m still educating my nostrils on imbibing wine cultures and layers that make up the different types but one thing I know is I don’t want another fucking Merlot; if you got the reference, good on you. As far as wine goes, Vivino is my saving grace and for the most part I go according to star power but also with guidance from in-store help at hand. Every time I travel I have a tradition of buying a couple bottles if only to bring home the memories. La Fantasia is a wine with good memories for me and I had the pleasure of meeting her at Castello di Amarosa in Napa Valley, a stone castle complete with a grand ballroom, barrels and lots of places to explore, but I didn’t come here to explore another castle, I live in Europe, sorry the UK…and have had my fill. We came for the wine.

I’m a sweet tooth with an even sweeter palate, I gravitate towards sweet wines and aperatifs, Asti, D’Asti and Moscatos being a firm favourite. Rose feature on the outskirts for their lightness. La Fantasia is the best of all those combined, its actually a sparkling, sweeter rose blend; a most darling and delicious wine, enchanting; just like her name with an impish sex appeal.

  • Her notes are bold, soft on the acidity so the after taste hits right on the palate, and just enough bubbly.
  • A blend of grapes from the Rhone valley region in France make up the body of this wine, Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre,
  • Her style is lightly sparkling with hints of berries and cream.

This is a bottle one can drink without thinking about it; pleasant, enjoyable, elegant and delightful; there is nothing complicated about her. It can and should be enjoyed with the Scarlett Pasta, grilled fish and vegetables, or with a cheese plate; its a sweet wine therefore as an accompaniment to sweet dessert means it’ll be sickly, so balance the sweetness with savoury.

There is a myth that goes with La Fantasia which the somelier at the tasting told us; about a couple who’d been trying to conceive but couldn’t, then one evening, wife introduces husband to La Fantasia and wouldn’t you know it… or is it the other way around? I would imagine he tells that to everyone. Anyway that’s the version I’m sticking with.

La Fantasia was the first bottle of wine I drank in my apartment after I moved in last summer, paired with cheap Chinese, and it was perfection. I sat on the floor of my kitchen, surrounded by a mess of things and I re-lived that moment in Napa, the moment I first tasted this gem of a wine, those memories are special. It is also a wine to be enjoyed with friends, whatever the season, brunch, lunch or dinner, a bottle to be shared as stories are swapped whilst making good memories. It is a wine that will always remind me of the time spent with one of my best friends in a castle in Napa Valley, making happy memories that will always be unique to our friendship.

To the best friendships out there!