On the outside, it was a blustery, dark, rainy Sunday evening in December. On the inside of Chestnut Hill’s The Urban Grape, however, the clinking of glasses, chatting of old and new friends, bottles of Champagne, Port, and oysters cozied up the space and quickly made guests oblivious to the inclement weather.
When I heard about this special free tasting via The Urban Grape blog a few weeks ago, I was excited to actually be in town. They have had a variety of weekend events I have missed due to a busy fall travel schedule, but if there was one event to be at it was for oysters and Champagne. Winter is my absolute favorite time of year to sip chilled Champagne and to eat briny oysters. It’s so luxurious and festive!
After meeting friends for wine, mussels, and cheese at Aquitaine, we headed next door to The Urban Grape event. Even though we were on the early side, a small crowd had already formed around the long wooden tasting tables. After hanging our coats on coat racks in the back of the store (A++ for thinking of this!), we scoped out the Neptune Oyster raw bar and decided to return after tasting some Champagne.
The Champagne and Port portions of the event including tasting the following:
- NV Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs D’Ay, Grand Cru
- NV Guy Larmandier Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru
- NV Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Blanc de Blancs, 1er Cru
- NV Marc Hebrart “Cuvee de Reserve,” 1er Cru
- NV H. Goutorbe Rose, Grand Cru
- NV Louis Roederer “Carte Blanche” Extra-Dry
- Warre’s “Otima” 10 Year Tawny Port
- Warre’s 2000 Late Bottle Vintage Port
Both TJ Douglass, owner of The Urban Grape and Alicia Towns Franken, a Best of Boston Sommelier were pouring through the entire lineup at separate tables, making sure that lines never really formed. TJ was truly in his element, pouring for dozens of people, telling us about the wines, and somehow remembering where each of us was in the tasting.
Rarely do we get to taste through and compare so many Champagnes, and being that bubbly wins over all for me, I loved each of them. My favorite, however, was the citrusy NV Marc Hebrart “Cuvee de Reserve” which was described in the tasting notes as “racy”. Maybe it was the weather or the fact that we had a delicious spicy curry for late lunch, but the acidity and bright flavors of this Champagne had me thinking about how it would go well with many of my favorite foods. For $48, it was a pretty good deal as well!
We took a break halfway through the Champagne tasting for some oysters, including my favorites, Island Creeks from Duxbury, topped with mignonette or zesty cocktail sauce.
We finished off the evening tasting two very different Ports. The Warre’s LBV was what we all expected from a Port, deep red, fruity, and slightly sweet. The Warre’s “Optima 10” Ten Year Old Tawny was light, almost closer to the color of a dark rose wine, not very sweet, and something I could see being a nice summer drink
Before we left we did some shopping for my husband’s team at work and also got a little something for ourselves. The Urban Grape has put together some beautiful holiday gifts like this basket below; they really have something for just about anyone’s taste and budget which is why this store continues to impress me.
The whole way home we talked about how much fun the event was: well organized, not too crowded but still with a fun, bustling vibe, a great selection of Champagne and Port, lots of oysters, and a warm and welcoming staff.
Which makes me all the more excited to attend their Christmas party tonight at Ted Baker on Newbury Street! Tis the season for lots of fun!
I have been a bit busy with studying for my wine final exam, visiting family (a new niece will be born today or tomorrow!), and having a bit of fun, but I promise to post the winner of the Kerrygold giveaway by the end of the day tomorrow. Until then, you can still enter and spread the word! And don’t forget about the go2 giveaway if you live in NYC or Boston.
How was your weekend? Did you attend any fun parties or partake in any holiday traditions?