This past weekend I was in Boston for a bachelorette party. I’m still in recovery mode. Since we did a lot I thought it would make more sense to break it all up into a few posts.
What I did want to share first was one of my favorite outings, the North End City Wine Tour. That’s right — the beer drinker went on a wine tour, and very much enjoyed it.
We started at Aragosta at the Battery Wharf Hotel. It was gorgeous. Black toilets and marble. Very swanky.
We arrived about 30 minutes early since we were a larger group. There were others that showed up for the tour but we allowed them to stay since clearly that was up to us. There were five other people not including our guide.
Our guide, Alicia, was fantastic. She jumped right in, telling us about her love of wine and that we’d be beginning with her favorite: sparkling.
We started with Prima Perla Prosecco from Treviso, Italy and began snacking on that above gorgeous charcuterie plate with cheese. Cheese makes me so happy.
We ended with Cantina Santa Maria La Palma Aragosta Vermentino di Sardegna from Sardinia, Italy. Alicia was able to say all of that without stuttering. Once that bottle was drained we utilized the black marble toilets and were on our way.
We wore matching shirts. They read on the front “Pop the bubbly, she’s getting a hubby.” Of course when I described the shirt to someone who has not seen it, I said “Yea, it says ‘pop the bubbly, she’s getting a hubbly.'” To which people responded by nodding slowly.
Our tour was all walking between the three locations which was great because it gave me the illusion I could somehow replicate this on my own one day or convince PK to go wine tasting/hopping with me as the guide.
Our second location was Gennaro’s 5 North Square restaurant. It felt like being back in Italy and the view from the upper level where we did our tasting provided us with a fantastic view.
We started with a white: Gennaro’s Pinot Grigio
Followed by a red: Gennaro’s Valpolicella
We snacked on calamari fritta and another artisinal cheese plate. I light a candle every day in thanks to the higher power that decided I would not have a lactose intolerance.
Our last stop was the Wine Bottega bottle shop.
We were taken to the basement for our tasting which was led by Lauren. She explained that the philosophy of the shop was “beyond organic” which basically means all the wine in the store is made by farmer’s who make wine the traditional way without pesticides, fertilizer, or large scale production.
A gross fact she shared with us was that in the US a wine can be labeled “organic” so long as the grapes are grown that way. When in actuality 55 additives are allowed to make mass produced wine taste and smell more like wine. What?
We began with a white: Cellario Favorita
Followed by a red: Montauto Maremma Toscana
We know I’m not traditionally a wine drinker but I swear I tasted a distinct difference, especially with the white, I haven’t experienced with wine tasting before. It was much more light and refreshing than what I’m used to. I normally stay away from white wines but this is one I will be picking up again. What did I just say?
When you visit look around at more than just the bottles, there’s little hidden surprises everywhere. I won’t give them all away because where’s the fun in that?
Of course I found the beer shelves. Of course that’s what I ended up leaving with. Some habits are hard to break kids.
The look you get when buying beer in a wine shop.
Bonus! Facts for beer drinkers to bring along on wine tours/tastings so you can fit in:
-white wines pair well with meats and cheeses, acidity balances the fat in salts in both
-when someone asks you what you smell in the white wine? Say you smell apple and you’re almost always right
-the darker the wine, the older
-you swirl the wine to oxygenate it, you’ll notice after swirling there a much more intense smell
-after swirling, what drips down the side was always traditionally called legs (but that’s sexist, duh) but now it’s called tears (because that sounds a lot better)
-there are 5000 varieties of grapes to make wine with, 2000 of them can be found in Italy
Ordering wine at a restaurant:
-ask for help, what else is your waiter being paid minimum wage for?
-go with a bottle instead of glass if you have at least one other person interested in the same brand/style/taste
-don’t pick the least expensive bottle, get something middle of the road with a common name, that will provide you with the best value
-ultimately drink what you know you like
-when your server shows you the bottle, nod you head — they just want you to acknowledge it’s what you ordered
-the server may place the cork on your plate (this is considered an outdated ritual), just check to see if it looks moldy and once again, just nod your head
-you don’t require a new glass if you move from white to red
More Boston fun coming your way this week.