two of my favorite things

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The local Chickenland wine shop held the most ingenius tasting last Saturday: various sparkling wines paired with French fries.

Of course, I went.

For $10, I got a flight of four sparkling wines (Gloria Ferrer, Domaine Carneros, J and a Spanish cava with a name I can't quite recall), with pours so generous these were pretty much like four glasses instead of just tastes, plus two kinds of fries specially prepared for the tasting by the folks over at Pazzo. One kind had extra salt, and the other was seasoned with truffle oil and parmesan.

I was in heaven.

And I learned some things, too. For example, you are probably used to hearing about bubbly being paired with sweet stuff. (I remember once going to a Champagne and chocolate tasting when I lived in SLO so long ago.) But the truth is, sparklers go extraordinarily well with salt. Hence the fries.

I also learned it takes exactly five-and-a-half twists to get the cage loose on a Champagne bottle. (But don't take the cage off completely, and keep a finger on the cork at all times, just in case that bottle decides to open on its own. Which actually happened to us once when we were pouring at an event. Oh, the dirty look we got from the oldish woman who was walking by and thought we were a bunch of irresponsible kids out to break every bone in her body with our out-of-control Champagne corks.)

Anyway, if you are ever in Chickenland on a Saturday afternoon when the Vine & Barrel boys hold their events, go.

Finally, on another wine-related note: I just finished reading wine writer extraordinaire Jancis Robinson's autobiography, Tasting Pleasure. What's funny to me is that this book came out in 1997, which was my sophomore year of college and which also happens to be the first time I ever really attempted to drink wine (outside of church, that is).

And alas, I was violently, violently ill after that first wine experience.

But I kind of suspect that was because I made the mistake of following those few glasses of Pinot Grigio with the high-class drink known as Zima.

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