Thursday, March 25, 2010

bubbles, grub, cork'd, and icswi

A sparkling wine tasting with accompanying food pairings for free? FREE?! Promises of lamb neck ragu*? Free?! Looming illness or not, I was undoubtedly going to be in attendance for yet another Cork'd Tasting. Giddy up.

So up and over to the Roger Smith Hotel we went last Sunday for this special little event hosted by the ICSWI, the Independent Champagne and Sparkling Wine Invitational and led by Alva Johnson, Laura Maniec (one of 16 female Sommeliers in the world and the wine director of the B. R. Guest restaurants), and Jon Troutman of Cork'd. As a total amateur in the world of sparkling wines, I was ready and beyond willing and excited to learn as much as I possibly could from the arsenal of experts around me. Oh, and eat and drink my face off amongst fabulous company. Did I mention it was free?

The first pairing was Fish Tacos (and chips and guacamole) with a Champagne I most unfortunately did not note the name of. My apologies. Laura mentioned that while most would typically gravitate towards a margarita or corona with lime, the beauty of this champagne pairing is how much straight up lime zest comes through on the palette. It cut beautifully through the seriously spicy yet creamy guacamole and added just the right amount of piquant and vibrancy to the grilled fish. Flavor wise, this was a no-brainer pairing and one that should be considered as an option more often.

Next came the real show stopper of the night. Rosé and ribs. Who knew, right? Let me just spell this out for you: smoky, sweet, perfectly charred and meaty ribs (I forgot how much I love me some BBQ ribs) matched up with a light, fruity, and slightly floral rosé with strawberries on the nose for days? I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go for that beer the next time I'm presented with a big ole platter of BBQ ribs. I'll be waiting to be served a glass of NV L. Aubry Fils Champagne Rosé Brut. You're looking at a convert. This was absolutely divine. And kind of thrilling, really.

Bill's Burgers. Ever had one? This was my first go around at the burger from the place that I can practically see out my window at work. And while they had certainly been sitting out for far too long, I didn't seem to have any problem polishing most of mine off. And with some fries to boot. I was rocking quite the bottomless pit. But when you're matching it up with NV Paul Berthelot Champagne Brut Réserve you can't help but be dumbstruck by the seemingly lavish yet approachable fabulousness of it all. Burgers and champagne? I mean give me a break. Genius, really.

What's even more ridiculous about it all was the price tag on these bottles. Not a single one was under $50 and all generously poured for all of us extremely lucky attendees. Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday night? No. You really, truly can't.

*You should have seen the look on my face when the news broke that we would not be served the lamb's neck ragu over gnocchi. But that frown was quickly turned upside down when half a grilled fish taco came my way, thanks to a super generous Troutmonster. What lamb's neck?


  1. Kiira, speaking of learning about sparkling wines, I just read an amazing book about the amazing life story of the Widow Cliquot! AKA the Founder of Veuve Cliquot. As an internet entrepreneur, and a woman, you should read it. The Widow Clicquot, by Tilar Mazzeo.

  2. thanks, jessica! i'll have to check that out. i'm due for a new book soon ;)