Weekly Wine Infatuation

We love our events at L’Espalier. For me, it’s an excuse to open new and different wines with guests having gathered, eager to share in the excursion. The sommelier staff here tastes a multitude of wines over the course of a week, and some seem in particular to take a tenacious hold of our minds.

This week, I can’t get enough of the NV Barth, Spätburgunder Rosé Sekt from Germany’s Rheingau region. The German language befuddles me as well, but we can decipher this as a sparkling (sekt) wine of pinot noir (spätburgunder) and wow, is it a gem with summer salads, as well as flying solo as an aperitif.

Made in the traditional method of Champagne, it is fresh and bright – but my absolute favorite quality is that it tastes like pinot noir! Imagine that. Many sparklings (as much as we love them) do not express much varietal character. This one delivers in spades: ripe red berry fruit and a touch of spice.

It’s not even on the list yet, so this week’s attendees of Wine Monday and Cheese Tuesday had a sneak preview. Join us over the weekend to enjoy a bottle yourself!

Our upcoming theme for Wine Monday is Basque Country – one of my favorite areas of the culinary world. Not many wines make it to Boston from this small corner of Basque Spain and France, so come discover this unique line of summer refreshers. It will be a seafood-driven menu to complement the weather and the wines. Myself, I can’t wait, and hope to see you there!

Wine Director – L’Espalier

Salon Sessions: Searching for the Perfect Pairing

Although I am perfectly happy to eat a perfectly ripe cheese all by its perfect self, there is that added thrill of perfect contentment when it is combined with a wine or beer that, well, adds to the perfection and creates a proverbial “marriage made in heaven”.

Once a month my curd nerd self joins up with L’Espalier cork dork Erich Schliebe and a few guests in our Salon to explore a few pairings and see if we can come up with a few blissful combinations. This grew out of our Wine Mondays and Cheese Tuesdays, where we have been exploring wine/cheese pairings for ten years. But we wanted to do something a bit more focused and intimate, where we could interact with a few guests (we limit the sessions to 15 people) in a dinner party setting and talk about what we are tasting.

Our first Session was in August and we matched 4 styles of cheese with four styles of beer – sixteen combos and a simple rating system. Conclusion: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar tastes good with just about any beer, and Mystic Brewery’s Old Powderhouse tastes great with practically any cheese.

We skipped September, but in October explored some classic pairings (Port and Stilton, Sauternes and Roquefort, Champagne and Triple Creme, Sancerre and Chevre.)

On November 15 we are set for “Cow, Goat, Sheep; Red, White and YOU“. I’ve selected 3 cheeses that are similar in style and age but are of different milks, allowing the differences, subtle or not, in the three milks to be readily apparent. We will match these up with 3 wines that are notoriously cheese friendly, and see what conclusions we can all come up with.