Last night Brad and I went to the 2nd annual Battle of the Bubbles at Vinology (my anniversary gift to him) -- Champagne? Our favorite restaurant? Chef Johns making a special three-course appetizer tasting for us? You can imagine we were pretty excited! So off we went, and upon arrival, we were ushered downstairs into what I assume is their tasting space but is probably also available to rent. It was So. Cute. Bubbles all across the ceiling, super cute bubble sconces on the wall, dark wood and stone... Hmm... What excuse do I have to rent this space and throw a party???
There were two tables of 8 and two tables of 4 set up, with a delicious-looking cheese and fruit plate on each. We were the first to arrive (of course), but the room slowly filled up and finally it was time to taste our first champagne, a Cava from Spain.
The tasting was MC'd by, um, some chick (I forgot her name almost instantly), who is Vinology's lecturer/tasting host person (I also forgot her title almost instantly). She discussed each champagne specifically but also covered the basics about it -- how it's made, stuff like that. She also had lots of interesting tidbits. Did you know that 50% of champagne is sold between November and January, and 25% of that is sold during the week between Christmas and New Years? Makes sense, I suppose, but our goal for 2009 should be to spread the champagne love throughout the year!
Anyway, back to the tasting... We started with that Cava, and then we learned that all the champagnes to be served were bruts. Bah! Me no likely brut as much! Oh well... It was still bound to be tasty. (And it was.) There were two that I thought were just horrible: J Cuvee from California (it smelled like a public bathroom) and, surprise surprise, Shady Lane Brut. Remember the buttholes from Leelenau that carded me then chucked my wine on the ground?
Alas, there was lots o' yum, too, including a Taltarni brut Tache, which, our neighbor said "looks like a wedding from the '80s." Ha! Of course, the yummiest of yummies, a Delamotte brut, from France, was the most expensive bottle, and by far the most expensive champagne I've ever had. Lucky for me, once you finished your glass, if it wasn't time to move on to the next champagne, they gave you seconds... and thirdsies! Mmm.
And the food... Ahh the food... The first appetizer we had was sweet potato french fries -- apparently chips and popcorn are a perfect champagne pairing (classy!) because the oil tempers the acid in the champagne and the salt "accentuates the flavor profile." The second appetizer was a sweet potato o'gratin with duck confit. YUM! I would love to try and re-create the o'gratin -- I'm not a huge sweet potato fan, but this was delicious. (Oh! Brainstorm! Maybe I'll try and make it for Thanksgiving... Hmm...) The final course was a pork confit with pickled watermelon on a toasted brioche. This too was simply delicious (and luckily I'm mostly over my Zingermans-induced pork phobia).
Oh oh oh! And a final note... My lovely L. Mawby (Sex maker!) got a shoutout as the pioneer of Michigan sparkling wines. She said lots of other stuff about him and his methods... blah blah blah... I can't focus that well with oodles of bubbly in front of me... But I did catch that L. is Larry -- he IS a real dude.
What a night. A perfect evening with my Bradford and my bubbles.