Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Champagne & Sparkling Tasting at ENO - Revelations!
My friend Kalisa - a genuine Bubbly Girl - joined me for a beautiful afternoon of sipping international sparkling wines in the sun-filled wine room called ENO at the Hotel Del Coronado. I won't bore you with every detail of every wine we drank, because I think a virtual wine tasting is no fun. But I will point out some notable aspects and share some fun pictures from this two hour ENO-versity class taught by resident sommelier Ted Glennon.
The biggest treat for me - a rose (as in ro-zay) lover - was the Barth Rose Sekt made in Germany from pinot noir grapes. Sekt is the German term for sparkling wine and the best are made in the same traditional method used in Champagne. It's available locally from a shop run by the importers, Damon and Sabrina Goldstein of Truly Fine Wines. And at $25 a bottle, a wine of this quality is a real value when compared to champagnes and would be delicious with ham or turkey (holiday hint).
The wine was served in a red Burgundy style Riedel glass and the bowl filled with the lovely aromas of earth and plums and soft cherry. Plus there's something about drinking fine bubbly out of a lush glass that makes you feel like you're really living -- try it!
We also drank a J Vineyards Brut Rose that had a nice mineral character, but what captured my attention was the way the bubbles streamed constantly from the bottom of the glass, forming a halo on the surface of the wine. I suspect it's because the bottom of the bowl was knotched ever so slightly to give the streams of bubbles a launching point. If you're really fascinated with the fine points of etching your stems for maximum bubbles, check out this article by the erudite food science writer and Curious Cook Harold McGee.
For the dessert flight, we tasted the Marumoto Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake, a pretty package and a delicate bubbly that tastes of pears and a hint of yeast. But of course, the best way to finish any exploration of international bubbles is with Brachetto d'Acqui, the sweet, gently sparkling red wine from Piedmont that reminds me of cranberries, raspberries and roses. This is by Marenco Pineto and is ideal with blue cheese, turkey and stuffing or dark chocolates - such as the ones we tasted made by talented San Diego confectioner Jack Fisher.
For more news from food and drink expert Maria Hunt on the latest in great drinks, restaurants and fun things to do, visit www.thebubblygirl.com