Friday, January 22, 2010

Fortified Wine Class at Brabo Restaurant

This past Tuesday evening, Monkeyrotica cheerfully headed off to Lorien Hotel's Liberty Room, attached to Brabo Restaurant in Alexandria, VA to learn about fortified wines. He'd enrolled early on, thinking it would be exactly his type of class, what with the way he stocks up on sherry and madeira. What would be better than learning to pair his wines with Brabo's Chef Chris Watson's wonderful food?

Lo and behold, he arrived to find that the instructor was a long-time friend, Jason Whiteside (pictured, from our dinner party in 2009). We've been a little out of touch with Jason lately, and didn't know that he had recently completed a Level 4 Diploma through the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. Monkey was happy to be witness to his expertise. Jason, a wine consultant for The Country Vintner, knows his Madeira, Port, and Sherry and masterfully matched his picks with delicious small plates.

Here was the line-up (from the class brochure):

Hidalgo "La Gitana" Manzanilla Sherry / sardines stuffed with tomatoes and spinach, quail egg

Blandy's 5-Year-Old Verdehlo Madeira / lobster bisque espresso, puff pastry fleuron

Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes 2005 / mini fruit tart

Domaine du Mas Blanc Banyuls 2006 / house-made chocolate truffle

Smith Woodhouse Late-Bottled Vintage Port 1995 / stilton cheese, quince paste

When describing his experience to me, Monkeyrotica expressed delight in all that he tasted and learned, but thought I'd be most interested in the mini fruit tart (he knows me well). He explained that at first blush, the Cazes Muscat de Rivesaltes was over-sweet (which is normally a turn-off, to me), but went on to say that the tart was prepared in a natural way — the sweetness in the wine gave the tart its missing glaze as the flavors melded. Oh, my. Wondrous!

I am oh so jealous: all this at the very reasonable price of $35 per person? I am totally joining him if/when Brabo holds an event like this again.

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