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May 20

Springtime Sippin’ in Chelsea: Another Cultured Wine Event Rocks the House

photo 5 (7)Last Wednesday saw WAC’s first wine event of 2014, and a wealth of free-flowing delight amongst its participants. Spring & Summer Sipping, an informal investigation of warm-weather wines and their suitable food accompaniments, was attended by seventeen ladies (and two gentlemen) with their tasting caps on, their appetites ferocious, and their need for networking unbridled. If you couldn’t be a part of the evening, allow me to bring it to you.

The Flavors of Spring

After being individually greeted with a magical glass of uncommon sparkling wine from the north of Italy, our crowd took their seats for Deborah’s juicy crash course in what makes certain wine styles more appetizing in the mild seasons. She explained the regional and varietal attributes of each wine being presented, and gave some food-pairing tips for when we embark on our own spring and summer culinary explorations.

The wines presented and examined (gulp!) were mostly from single estates and farmed organically. They ran the regional spectrum from Lombardia to the Germany/Alsace border to the North and South Forks of Long Island. Even Beaujolais and Burgendland, Austria made appearances, in order to demonstrate how strategically-chosen, “chill-able” red wines can work their way into the mix with our summertime feasts.photo 4 (9)

The Vino Lowdown

A sip of this, a nibble of that, a brief tasting lesson from a personal moderator, and a conversation with a new cross-industry comrade….before everyone knew it, it was time to rotate to a different wine and food station and do it all again. Wine highlights included 2012 Becker Family Estate Pinot Blanc, with its classy, bold structure and tension, 2013 Channing Daughters Winery Rosato di Refosco, which opened people’s eyes to the possibilities with New York wines, and 2011 Nittnaus Blauer Zweigelt, possessing that soft, elegant, spicy red wine personality that lures us over to the dark side. All 3 wines have current availability in limited markets.

Getting Our Eat On

photo 5 (6)More than a half-dozen different foods were freshly-prepared by Deborah that afternoon, turning an event that was promoted as a tasting into a seasonal smorgasbord. Composed mainly of natural, organic ingredients, many of which were scooped up at the Union Square Greenmarket that morning, these dishes accentuated the wine lesson, exploiting the elements of wine that scream out for summer! Preparations like Spring Ratatouille, Quinoa with Shittake, Asparagus & Radicchio, and “High-Class Hotdogs” with Celery Root Slaw highlighted some of the wines’ earthbound flavors, while dishes like Tortilla Español, Spinach Pesto with Ricotta, and Black Bean & Sweet Potato Flapjacks with Chipotle Cream & Avocado Mash demonstrated how certain herbal/spicy food components can coax a sassy, zesty edge from otherwise straightforward varietal wines. Keep an eye out for recipes in upcoming blog posts.

Keep It Cheesy

Several artisan cheeses acquired at Murray’s Cheese made appearances, adding additional layers to the investigation. Quadrello di Bufala and Preferes des Montagnes provided the subtle, creamy, mushroomy aspects that earthy wines find affinity to, whereas the obscure and sensational Flory’s Truckle Cheddar from Missouri dropped jaws when paired with the sleeker high-acid wines as well as the moderately-tannic Zweigelt.photo 4 (10)

The Final Fantasy

As the academic phase drew to a close, participants revisited some favorite wines and munchies while getting to know one another better in a relaxed business networking setting. Those who were ready to take the palate plunge were served the final decadent homemade delight of the evening, with ingredients purchased entirely at Murray’s Cheese: Berkshire Prosciutto-Wrapped Pitted Medjool Dates Stuffed With Cambozola Blue Cheese & Marcona Almonds (whew!). See our recipe for further insight.

photo 3 (9)Many thanks to NYC Wine Co for the dynamite event space, to Suburban Wines for discovering many of the wines offered, and to our participants, community members and friends for spending their valuable after-work hours to help propel their interests and ours. Cheers!

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