A private wine tasting and dinner out, followed by cocktails, recently made for a good friend’s 40th birthday extravaganza, and it was fabulous.
I have been walking by Cambridge Spirits for a long while on my way from work to Kendall Square, eagerly watching as it got ready for opening. There’s not a wine store in the area, so when their doors opened, the craft beer, spirits, and wine store was a definite welcome addition to the booming Kendall Square food and wine scene. When I learned that our friend had secured the space for a pre-dinner wine tasting on her birthday, I was super excited to check it out while getting a little wine education.
Our friends did an awesome job of choosing wine and cheese pairings for the evening:
Doudet Naudin Pinot Noir 2010 (paired with Brie Fermier Jauvence)
Decoy Merlot 2011 (paired with Prairie Breeze Cheddar)
Clos Saron Out of the Blue 2012 (paired with Prairie Breeze Cheddar)
Sonoma-Loeb Chardonnay 2010 (paired with Brie Fermier Jauvence)
Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2011 (paired with Gruyere Vieux)
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut (paired with Brie Fermier Jauvence)
We sipped and swirled for over an hour, and most were wine I had not tried in the past, or old favorites I had forgotten about, like this crazy flavorful, spicy Decoy Merlot from Sonoma County. Merlot naysayers need to give this a try; it’s all dark berry and black pepper, layers of flavor, lots of fun.
We were all absolutely crazy about the Sonoma-Loeb Chardonnay as well; we were a group of buttery Chard fans, and we loved the butterscotch notes in this one. The Yalumba Viognier? It’s a great alternative to Chardonnay, not oaky or buttery, but rather acidic with peach and apricot notes and a luscious mouthfeel, characteristic of Viognier, but offering enough acidity that it’s not flabby.
And you know that I loved the Schramsberg Blanc de blancs. I heart Schramsberg.
One of the wines that truly stole the show, however, was this Clos Saron Cinsault, Syrah, and Tempranillo blend. It was chock full of bright wild blueberry flavor. I felt like I was picking wild blueberries and eating them right off the bush. This wine is absolutely a stunner, and left all of us talking after the tasting.
The staff at Cambridge Spirits also left us chatting. They were so much fun and so knowledgeable about everything in the store, able to offer suggestions based on things we liked. We had a blast tasting with them, and I think we all loved how accommodating they were to our group.
The Deadhead in me was excited to finally snag this American Beauty beer, which is fittingly made with granola. It was full bodied and had nutty, buttery notes. Also, woah was it strong! This is definitely a beer for sharing, while listening to your favorite Dead show. . . and I happened to find plenty of tapes while getting ready to move. I’ve liked plenty of music as the years have come and gone, but the Grateful Dead have been one band that has always had my heart.
Do you have a favorite band or musician who has stood the test of time?