A Girls’ Weekend, Grilled Branzino, and a Mag of Palmer & Co Champagne (#Winophiles)

A Magnum of Palmer & Co. Blanc de Blancs Champagne pair beautifully with an easy Branzino dish to kick off a Girls' Weekend.


February is all about the love. 

There’s Valentine’s Day of course. My husband and I also celebrate our wedding anniversary a couple of days after that. I love love and I’ve written several posts in the past in honor of both of those days. But as celebrating Galentine’s Day on February 13th has increasingly gained traction, February has also become a time for women to celebrate our female friendships. I actually met my childhood best friend on Valentine’s Day, so for me, the two things have been tied together as of way back. So, today I thought I’d raise a glass in honor of Galentine’s Day and all my girlfriends, even if we’re about a week past it. 

Image borrowed from Bustle.com

I’m lucky to have several groups of awesome women in my life, without whom it would’ve been REALLY hard to get through the last couple of years. I’ve been feeling sentimental lately (and a bit cooped up) and have been going through memories of good times with some of these ladies. Many of these memories are centered around food and wine, and today I thought I’d share one of them. 

Last September, a group of my besties decided to rent an AirbnB in Windsor, California for what was basically just a big adult girls’ sleepover. While we were in Sonoma County, and we did make an obligatory stop at Ridge Vineyards in Lytton Springs  (it’s a group favorite), this weekend wasn’t about wine tasting. It was the first time this group was able to all get together in person since the start of the Zombie Apocalypse, so this was mostly about just getting to hang around a pool together without kids or partners, and laugh and ride the wonderful emotional roller coaster that is an extended period of time with a big group of ladies. It was also a chance to be responsibly irresponsible and drink and eat too much. 

Most of our group at Ridge. A couple of other members of the group met us later at the house. 

As is often the case in these types of scenarios, I offered to run point on cooking lunch and dinner on our pool day. (Don’t ask me to do breakfast – I’m NOT a morning person.) My friend Selin had picked up some beautiful branzino at Costco for the occasion, and I picked up a few more things at the grocery store, and with her and a couple of others as sous chefs, I prepared a very pretty and tasty spread, if I do say so myself. The best part is that this was incredibly easy. When I say easy, it was EASY – this lunch was prepared while chaos was going on around all around me, and as you might guess, while being just a wee bit tipsy. 

The branzino were simply stuffed with a mix of garlic, herbs, and lime and grilled on the BBQ. We added some roasted zucchini and a salad as sides, and the lunch feast was served. A non-recipe follows, but it really about as simple as that.  My friend Dee brought a magnum of Palmer & Co. Champagne for the occasion – because nothing says it’s a party like a mag of Champers! 

Champagne Palmer & Co. Blanc de Blancs

Winery at Champagne Palmer & Co. Image borrowed from promotional materials. 

Champagne Palmer & Co was established in 1947 by seven grower-families with the common goals of “harmony, balance and the pursuit of excellence.” All of Palmer’s vineyards in the Montagne de Reims subregion of Champagne are classified as Premier Cru or Grand Cru. This represents more than 500 acres and over 50% of their vineyard area. The rest of it lies in the Côte de Sézanne area, the Côte des Bar and the Marne Valley, for a well-rounded selection. 

The company is also committed to sustainable winegrowing and winemaking. In 2019 they inaugurated a new, state-of-the-art HQE (High Environmental Quality) certified winery near their vineyards in Montagne de Reims. The winery incorporates a wide set of techniques and technologies to be as sustainable as possible including a gravity-flow system that utilizes the slope of the land and a water purification system that uses plants’ root systems to clean wastewater. 

For more details on the winery and its innovations, check out this interview by Jill Barth of L’Occasion with Rémi Vervier, managing director of Champagne Palmer & Co. for Forbes.

The Blanc de Blancs we enjoyed on our girls’ weekend is made up of 100% Chardonnay. Their B de B wine is typically aged on the lees for 5 years, and 8 to 10 years in the case of the Magnum. Find additional details on the wine here.

I did not take a proper tasting note for this wine – I was having too good a time during this lunch for note-taking. However, in my memory, it had bright fruit with lots of lemon mixed with some round stone fruit notes, hints of white flowers, and minerality on the finish. It paired beautifully with the food and hysterical laughter. 



The rest of the members of the French Winophiles (#Winophiles) blogging group are exploring Wines of Romance this month. Check out the rest of their posts to keep the love going.  

Additional sources used for this post and extra reading



  1. OMG these dishes are so simple and they look so beautiful! What a magnificent day it must have been. Drinking Champagne from a Magnum is always a treat and I'm a bit envious of your girls retreat...I'm in need of one of those.

  2. I love everything about this Nicole! Is there anything better than a magnum of Champagne? Thanks for sharing your gals weekend with us.


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