A Sparkling Tasting

Thursday, December 30, 2010 - 
Last week, hubs and I attended a champage tasting from the Moet-Hennessey distributors.  It was full of great bubbly and educational information.  But, it didn't have something our tasting last night had - food.  Great food made by our friend Steven at Tastings: A Wine Experience

Aperitif - Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail: a great way to begin the meal as I adore Champagne cocktails.  This was a mix of cranberry juice, triple sec and champagne.  The citrus of the lime was the main smell, but the cocktail itself was delish.

First Course - Schramsberg 'Blanc de Blancs' Brut with Caramelized Apple Tart & Gorgonzola Potato Bite: The sparkling wine (made in California) was overwhelming in carbonation, but it did break up the typical "dryness" of a brut disolving like air in the mouth.  The tart consisted of diced caramelized apples with creamy St. Andre brie, all on top of a buttery and savory dough.  The roasted baby yukon gold potato was hollowed out and filled with sharp gorgonzola, savory toasted cashews and a Bleu cheese sauce that worked well with the sparkling wine.  Both were delicious, two of my favorites.
Second Course - Poper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne with Spiced Plantain Crostini & Goat Cheese Crostini: I was dissapointed with this champagne, as it was so subtle in flavor, I really expected more out of the wine.  But the crostini's would have overshadowed the champagne either way because they were absolutely fantastic.  Though mild in flavor, a spiced plantain puree burst to life with roasted pineapples and feta to finish it off..  The other was a savory Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor cheese with a rich toasted walnut pesto and white balsamic spring onions.  It smelled amazing and the richness of the cheese with the truffle balanced the nutty pesto. Divine
Third Course - Carras Vinas 'Vino Espumoso de Calidad' Brut with Tuna Skewers with Fennel and Spanish Shrimp Cocktail: This was the most interesting wine of the evening, as it had an extremely nutty smell and flavor to it.  Hazelnuts stood out making you want to wrap your head around the flavors (it took us quite a while).  Though intriguing, I don't know if I would order this out, but would sip it again if offered.  It was paired extremely well with both appetizers we were served.  The tuna, though a little fishy, was cooked medium rare and served with a crunchy shaved fennel salad in a bright lemon vinaigrette.  The other was a deep smelling paprika roasted shrimp, boasting sweet hints of honey, with a rich toasted almond romesco. 

Fin - Banfi 'Rosa Regale' Sparkling Brachetto with Lemon Tarts & Brownie Bites: I've had the rose colored wine before and thought it was great, but this time around it got sweeter with each taste.  And the two desserts were also too sweet for me this evening (I think I was in a savory mood!)  The lemon curd was tart, but still sweet, as it was paired with a crisp pie crust, light fluffy whipped cream and a tarragon raspberry jam.  The chocolate-Wenselydale brownie was rich in deep chocolate flavor, but the black currant Rosa Regale sauce gave it the sweet factor of a dessert.

After trying all of these sparkling beverages, I've decided to bring back a philosophy of mine that faded about two years ago: a girl should always have a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge.  You just never know when you might need to entertain the day with a celebration.  Thus, I may bring this back, along with a few other resolutions, this New Years...but moreon that later.

If you are popping some bubbly this New Year's, what will you be drinking?