It was like returning to France and Italy, via Boston, but without having to go through Logan Airport.
Carolina Wine & Spirits last Tuesday sponsored its Season’s Best Sparkling Wine and Totally Tuscany wine tasting at Lucca Back Bay restaurant. The event blended the highlights of both countries, with around 200 wines to sample and generous amounts of fabulous food–from wafer-thin finocchiona to intense Pecorino Sardo, accompanied by a sweet and savory peperonata creatively made with such an abundance of eggplant and olives that it morphed into a cousin of caponata.
Even though I Ubered, I couldn’t possibly sample so many wines, so I carefully selected a few. There wasn’t a bad sip in the lot, from rustic Chiantis to rare Champagnes. But my personal winner was the Salon Blanc de Blancs 2006. It wasn’t just my favorite of the tasting; it was the best Champagne I’ve ever sipped. Balanced with notes of orange fruits and white flowers, I think it would pair wonderfully with shellfish, especially a perfectly steamed lobster. It reminded me of one of the lessons I learned in Paris: When something is truly exceptional, it doesn’t just satisfy in the moment, but it also leaves you glowing with contentment. And Salon Champagnes are no doubt exceptional, made exclusively from grapes from the small village of Le Mensil-sur-Oger and only in vintage years. The 2006 is the most recent release. To sip it is to feel elevated. Delicate and rich at the same time, it’s like sipping on good conversation; it expects something of you, but it gives back more.
I think it’s time for a return trip to France. And Italy.