Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly mention some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.

1) To continue honoring National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Fleming’s will raise a toast by hosting the “Women & Wine” Dinner. Fleming’s is proud to showcase the work of three leading women winemakers with this four-course dinner during their ongoing celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This wine dinner will feature a trio of handcrafted premium wines, each personally selected by Fleming’s Director of Wine Marian Jansen op de Haar, paired with a four-course menu created by Fleming’s Executive Chef Russell Skall:

Passed Hors d'oeuvres
Swiss Cheese Puffs
House Cured Salmon, Citrus Crème Fraîche, Crispy Wonton
2000 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Cathy Corison

Butternut Squash Bisque with Danish Blue Cheese Fondue
Bacon Herb Bruschetta
2006/2007 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Winemaker: Kristin Belair

Rosemary-Scented Lamb Chops, Parmesan Risotto, Maple Roasted Parsnips, Red Wine Demi-Glace
2005/2006 Franciscan Magnificat Napa Valley
Winemaker: Janet Myers

Caramel Pudding with English Toffee, Shortbread Cookies
Coffee and Tea

WHEN: Tuesday, October 19th at 6:30pm

COST: $95 per person

2) The Sherry Council of America has announced that The Broadmoor is the winner of the 4th U.S. Finals of the Copa Jerez food and Sherry pairing competition. Executive Chef Bertrand Bouquin and Wine Director Timothy Baldwin will travel to Jerez, Spain next month to compete against renowned international chef and sommelier teams for the Copa Jerez title.

"Our winning US team showed skill, pairing a Fino, an Amontillado and an Oloroso Sherry with extraordinary and delicate flavors in their dishes," said Sonia Smith of the Sherry Council of America. "We are thrilled by the strong showing of the restaurants in this competition, showcasing how well Sherry pairs with so many cuisines."

The Broadmoor won the U.S. title while competing in New York on October 6 against three other nationally recognized restaurants and chef/sommelier teams: The Bazaar, Casa Mono, and La Boca. Next month, the acclaimed duo will compete against teams from all over the world including the home favorite, Spain. They will present their three-course entry to a panel of expert international judges who will evaluate the food, the pairing and overall presentation.

3) For several years running, local chefs such as Jody Adams (Rialto), Steven Brand (Upstairs on the Square), Raymond Ost (Sandrine's), Will Gilson (Garden at the Cellar), Mary Dumont (Harvest), Jorge Lopes (The Blue Room), and Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother) have been using the rich palette of autumn flavors to create intriguing dishes for Flavors of Fall, an event organized by every November to support a local community-based organization. This year, Keith Pooler (Bergamot), Peter McCarthy (EVOO), and Michael Scelfo (Russell House Tavern) will also be joining them on November 8 from 5:30 until 8:30PM at Regattabar in the Charles Hotel for the seventh edition of this popular annual event.

The beneficiary organization this year is Community Art Center, which has been providing economically-disadvantaged youth in Cambridge opportunities to develop themselves artistically, academically, and socially since 1932.

The $65 per person ticket price-which goes entirely to support the good work of the Community Art Center-covers all food and beverages, not to mention the hearty helping of jazz from the Rollo Tomasi Quartet. New this year will be a single malt scotch tasting from renowned spirit maker The Macallan. As in the past, Brooklyn Brewery will be offering a selection of its seasonal brews, San Pelligrino will pour sparkling water, and J.P. Licks will offer its locally-roasted coffee. Wine offerings will include Mumm Napa sparkling and Brancott from New Zealand. Also new this year: Tickets are available for purchase online by going to

4) Woodchuck Cider has released their first Private Reserve Label, a pumpkin hard cider. The Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin is "a special edition high end cider" which a 6.9% alcohol content, the highest of any of their products. Production is limited to only two and a half hours on the production line. Crisp pumpkin, from local Vermont farms, is added to the apple juice at the finish.

I bought some at the Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose, and now have tried it on a couple occasions. I was unsure what to expect, wondering if it would remind me of their Fall Release, which was very spicy. But it was very different from the Fall Reserve, being more subtle and lacking the heavy spice. The pumpkin flavor was restrained and most evident on the finish. It was more on the dry side, with a touch of earthiness to it, reminding me more of their Dark & Dry style. I enjoyed the Pumpkin cider and could easily sit and drink a few bottles on a crisp autumn day.

As it is a very limited release, I strongly suggest you get some now before it is gone. You might also want to keep an eye out for more potential Reserve ciders in the future.

5) Gordon's Fine Wines & Liquors, in Waltham, will be holding "The Grand Wine Tasting Event" on October 30, from 1pm-5pm. Taste wines from all over the worlds including: Portugal, Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, Chile, France and Italy. Wine and champagne distributors will be on hand at 15 tasting stations, throughout the store, pouring wine and educating guests on the various grapes and varietals. Guests will also be treated to complimentary culinary tastings throughout the afternoon.

You can also take advantage of an exclusive (once a year) discount of 21% on over 4,000 wines throughout the store (net items are excluded).

I have been to their Grand Tasting events before and they usually offer an excellent selection of wines, at all price points. Just get there early as it tends to get crowded later in the day.

Free admission with RSVP to

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