I must admit I'm a complete novice when it comes to wine, especially sparkling wine. If you’re anything like me you simply reach for the nicest looking bottle or the name you recognise the most. So House Curious decided to partner up with wine connoisseur Jess Hue Williams to put on a sparkling wine and charcuterie evening. Our friends at the Humble Grape provided us with several top notch sparklers and we had a few trendy alternatives from Grape night in.
It turned into a bit of ladies night with a few surprises and lively debates over which sparklers we rated most. Jess, with her extensive knowledge, guided us through several sparklers, pairing with food, along with the latest trends and skinny alternatives. Yes, skinny alternatives that are still delicious and are the real deal. Who would have thought it?
With Christmas just around the corner I wanted to share our top four sparkling wines from the night.
1.* Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010* - Wine of the night
2. Alfred Gratien Grand Cru 2007
3. Cava Llopart Burt Reserva 2012
4. Franciacorta Corte Aura Pas Dose (skinny!)
If you want to hear more about our lovely night of wine tasting and feasting I'll hand you over to Jess who will take your through the runnings of the night in a little more detail below. Over to you Jess...
The first question people asked as they looked down the tasting list was "Wow, a Cava, am I allowed to like it?". Luckily Humble Grape had provided the most delicate and creamy sparkling Cava Llopart Reserva Brut 2012 that proved so good that it changed everyone's opinions about the Spanish sparkling. In fact, in the final vote, four people chose it as their wine of the night - not at all bad when you consider the competition! Lively debate raged around the "skinny" Franciacorta - do you or don't you think of calories when you're enjoying a delicious bottle of bubbles? Thankfully the next wine out was Bernard Lonclas Cuvee Prestige from Humble Grape and it was so good that it refocused everyone away from calorie count and on to pure enjoyment. It was a real delicacy, off dry but so beautifully balanced that it was almost impossible to taste the residual sugar - it went beautifully with a pea, creme fraiche and filo pastry that was on the tasting board. The "intruder" Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010 slipped through the blind tasting almost unnoticed and half of the guests said it was their favourite in a flight of three blind tasted "champagnes”.
Down at the "Scotch and Ted" bar, we drank two Petillant Naturels kindly provided by A Grape Night In that really shook things up - the funky, hip and wild cousins of the refined wines upstairs were a huge hit. When people had got over the shock of the cloudy liquid, the idea of natural, minimal intervention and true expression of place really struck a chord. People loved their honesty and soul which some may argue has been lost from some of the more "designed" sparklers drunk earlier that night.
In the final reckoning, Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2010 won as the group's Wine of the Night - on the back label, Nyetimber states that it will rival all other sparkling wines, including Champagne. Tonight, at least, it went one further and beat them all.
If you would like to host a wine tasting event or have a special occasion coming up and want some expert knowledge on all things wine then Jess is your lady. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org