wine flights

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Boston’s restaurant scene is growing at a pace I can barely keep up with, and while trying out new spots is a favorite pastime, there’s nothing I love more than a classic steak house, especially when it sits right on the water.

Last week, on a gorgeous spring evening, I attended the most incredible blogger dinner at Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf, where we indulged in course-after-course, paired with cocktails, their new international wine flights and great conversation.

Aviation Cocktail

The violet hue of this Aviation cocktail, a blend of Sipsmith Gin, Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, and lemon juice went perfectly with the spring weather, and I loved the acidity and slight peppery notes of the drink. Smith & Wollensky always pleases when it comes to cocktail cravings, which is just another thing I love about them. They are incredibly consistent with their quality.

 

wine dinner

Smith & Wollensky Atlantic Wharf has a fantastic waterfront location, and while the inside gives you that gorgeous old steak house vibe, with modern twists like a giant photo of a young Paul McCartney (swoon), the patio is breezy and elegant with lovely views of Boston. While it draws crowds, it doesn’t feel crowded like other patios can.

Our table was set with all of the wine glasses, and as we settled in we started to learn about and taste the white wine flight. 

 white wine flight 

  • Bodega Colomé Torrontes – a light, refreshing wine with Muscat notes redolent of jasmine and orange blossoms.
  • Schloss Johannisberg Gelblack Qualitatswein Feinherb Riesling – a single-vineyard German Riesling wine that is firm and fresh on the palate, well-balanced and crisp acidity. The nose is young with white flowers, grinded lemon peel and pears.
  • Louis Latour Montagny 1er cru “la Grande Roche” Chardonnay- this wine reveals delicious floral aromas of honeysuckle.  Full in the mouth with notes of almond, apricot and pepper, the finish is fresh with a hint of mint.

Wine flights are perfect for discovering new favorites, and for a chance to taste grape varieties with a fresh approach. For example, some people think sweet when they hear the word Riesling or super oaky when they think of Chardonnay, two preconceptions thrown out the window with the above wines.

They were all balanced, refreshing, and most importantly delicious and food-friendly, especially with all of the seafood we devoured. Each also offered something very unique in its flavor profile, making tasting, then going back to taste again really fun.

wine tasting

I didn’t think it could get better after the flight of white wines, but this rosé flight was simply heaven. Long a fan of “Whispering Angel” I savored every sip before being introduced to Domaine De Cala rosés, which were simply gorgeous.

  • Chateau d’Esclans “Whispering Angel” – a Provence rosé with a lovely bright pink color and crystal clarity to the berry flavors.  Powerful yet elegant with plenty of minerality and balanced spice notes. The long finish lingers with white pepper and wisps of red peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Classic – blending Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache red varietals with Rolle white grapes, the French wine greets the nose with aromas of white flower followed by those of exotic fruits- lemony, with notes of peach.
  • Domaine De Cala Prestige – a more exclusive, elevated take on its original rosé. The shiny, clear, salmon-pink color with brilliant reflections entices the palate, and the wine exudes initial aromas of grapefruit and citrus and secondary notes of cherry and strawberry.

Flights are $25 and are available at Smith & Wollensky locations in Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Houston and Miami Beach through June.

seaood tower

Smith & Wollensky is as known for its seafood as much as it is its beef, and we were treated to the freshest raw bar platter with yummy sauces, along with signature dishes, the Angry Shrimp with spicy lobster butter sauce and their tuna tartare, which is my favorite tuna dish anywhere.

 

angry shrimp 

Give me this tuna and one of the spring wine flights, and you basically have my dream lunch.

In fact, I am taking summer Fridays this year, and I will most likely make this happen.

 tuna tartare ribeye carpaccio

Even before our main courses, we were also treated to Smith & Wollensky’s famed beef in different forms, including a delicate Ribeye Carpaccio and the Spring Steak Feature, Snake River Farms American Wagyu New York Strip, presented on a Himalayan Salt Block.

This meat was like butter, and it picked up the salt and mineral flavors of the salt block. This was the ultimate indulgence.

 

wagyu beef 

And there was still more food to come! My coffee and cocoa rubbed filet could have been cut with a spoon, and the flavors of the rub added a little sweetness and earthiness to the meat’s natural flavor. I could only eat a few bites before wrapping this up and bringing it home. . . it made the most delicious dinner the next night!

 

coffee and cocoa rubbed filet mignon

Entrees were enjoyed with a wine that is made specially for Smith & Wollensky. I couldn’t stop breathing this wine in; it reminded me of a place I love so much. Spice, earth, bursts of berry flavor; this is a big, bold, yet elegant Napa Valley red, a perfect pairing with Smith & Wollensky’s food and personality.

Napa Valley Red Wine

Our final course before we said our goodbyes was a colossal dessert plate that, despite being full, I could not say no to. The Chocolate Layer Cake at Smith & Wollensky is worth visiting for alone, and it could easily feed a group. I didn’t make it to the Coconut Cake, so I will have to bring my appetite and a few friends to enjoy that on another occasion.

 

chocolate layer cake  

Smith & Wollensky generously rolled out the red carpet for us and treated us to the food and hospitality they are known for. It definitely was not my first time here, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Whether you are looking for a flight of wine or a perfectly crafted cocktail after work or a place to celebrate an occasion, this is a very special place to do it.

 

Dinner was kindly provided by Smith & Wollensky; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: Boston, steak house, wine, wine dinner, wine event, wine flights, wine tasting

Between my blog, conversations I have with friends and colleagues, and my appearance on Fox, I have probably said it a million times, but I will say it again. New Bedford, MA is a great little stop on a New England day trip. It’s not Provincetown or Portland, but it oozes with New England charm in its cobblestone streets, fishing boats, and whaling history. And it’s quickly becoming a place to wine and dine as well.

We wouldn’t have discovered New Bedford if it wasn’t for our love of Travessia Urban Winery wine, but we now visit at least a couple of times a year. On our most recent Southeastern MA excursion, we worked up our appetites tasting wine at Westport Rivers and Travessia, and we (really, I) desperately needed to eat by the time 6:00 rolled around.

I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Cork Wine and Tapas Bar, located right across from the shipyard, is a restaurant we have passed on our many New Bedford trips, but we had never stopped. We made a beeline from Travessia right to Cork for a fantastic wine and food experience.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

Talk about New England charm. Cork is in the Joseph Tabor building, which has stood proudly there since 1836. I learned from Cork’s website that the building was designed to be a warehouse to produce, house and maneuver large nautical equipment. It’s an impressive structure that now makes a great space for dining.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar New Bedford

Cork’s menu is fresh and seasonal and offers small plates in addition to heartier options like fish and chips.

Cork Wine & Tapas Bar

They also offer wine flights, something that I love in a restaurant. It was a wine-tasting kind of day, so I decided to go with a flight of bubbles. Surprise, surprise!

sparkling wine flight

Three glasses of sparkling wine were placed in front of me: Segura Viudas Reserva, Deor Prosecco, and Santa Julia Brut Rose. The Segura Viudas was the hands-down winner with me and the other  judges, my mother-in-law and husband. The Prosecco was just okay; while I am a fan of most bubbles, I don’t love the overwhelming pear flavor some Proseccos have. The Santa Julia Brut Rose was lovely, lots of strawberry and cherry flavors, and of course that gorgeous pink color.

sparkling wine flight

While I am usually a fan of tapas style eating, I was pretty ravenous by the time we were ready to order, and I wanted one thing, Coconut Curry Lobster: Claw and knuckle lobster meat with scallions and grilled corn in curried coconut milk. Served over jasmine rice.

To.die.for. Everything in this dish added something special, from the tender lobster to the lively curry and sweet corn and rice. It was such a filling yet light option, perfect for a hot summer day and lunch the next day. My mother-in-law and husband also really enjoyed their meals. We all agreed that the service, atmosphere, selection, and food would have us coming back again and again.

lobster curry

I’m a huge lover of wine bars, cozy places to get a glass or two, with no expectation of ordering a huge meal (unless you want to), and I wish Boston had more places like Cork and my favorite Galway wine bar, Sheridan’s.

Since we’re wine club members at Travessia, we’ll have reason to visit again in the fall, and I am making a trip to Cork mandatory.

Cork Wine and Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

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Tags: day trips, dinner, Food, New Bedford, New England, Tapas, Travel, wine, wine flights, wine tasting

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