Hey all! I know it's been a little while, but I just came from one of the best wine events and I can't wait to share it with you.
A few weeks ago, one of the instructors of my wine class, Sharon, was promoting A Tasteful Experience, a charity event that her wine store was sponsoring along with several ofthe best restaurants in New Jersey. After reading the list of restaurants participating (most notably CulinAriane whose chef, Ariane, appeared on Top Chef Season 5 and Passionne whose chef, Michael, was a winner on Food Network's Chopped), I knew I was in. Plus, my favorite wine store was hosting AND it was for a local charity. The only way there could be more reasons for me to buy a ticket was if they were giving away massages at the door - though the swag bag I received with my upgraded VIP ticket came pretty close.
I could write a short novel on the 3 hours I spent tasting and drinking, but I'll keep it to the highlights so as not to bore you (or make you jealous).
-Pork loin with apple and walnut chutney from CulinAriane. Thanks to some sound advice from Will, the other instructor of my wine class, I paired it with a 1987 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rioja. It was like a celebration in my mouth.
-Butternut squash soup with hazlenut creme fraiche from Table 8. Table 8 is one of my favorite places in Montclair and unfortunately I don't get there often enough. This soup was like eating silk made of squash with a touch of nutmeg. Most people ignore the soups at tasting events like think I steered at least 10 people to the Table 8 booth.
-The afore-mentioned 1987 Rioja. Bright fruit, but not jammy with some subtle oak and dust. I went back for 5 pours.
-2006 Groffier Chambolle-Musigny "Les Sentiers." 1er Cru Burgundy. Yum. Perfectly balanced earth and fruit.
-30 year Casa de Santa Eufemia Reserve Especial Blanco Port. White port. Elegant, nutty, oaky. I think I introduced at least 15 people to this port.
Of course the least expensive of these is $90 per bottle. Figures.
-Sharon acting as a personal sommelier for a few other members of the class and me. I think I figured out who I want to be if/when I grow up!
-Slipping my favorite wines to Chef Michael of Passionne. I hope he remembers me the next time I stop in for a meal!!!!
All in all it was a great night and I learned even more about wine. Slowly but surely, my palette is developing - though that means I'm appreciating less fruit forward and more restrained and old world (e.g. dusty, gamey, earthy) styles. Hopefully you can learn to enjoy these wines with me.
This Friday I'm heading down to 10 Arts by Eric Ripert in Philadelphia to have dinner with 4 fun women and I'm sure I'll have some good wine moments to share.
Unil the next sniff, sip or quaff,