We might have just the suggestion for you.
This evening we had the privilege to attend a private tasting event -- a "sneak peek," if you will, into all the best of a brand new wine event at Clear in the Intercontinental Hotel, Milwaukee. "Wine Craze", which takes place on Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8:30pm, captures the spirit of true wine appreciation by offering patrons the opportunity to sample pours of exceptional wines for only $5.
Our host, Stephan Fitz, presented us with three fantastic red wines, each one better than the last:
Mid Tier. Pomegranate, cured pork and cayenne truffle aromas followed by cranberry and kirsch flavors. Very savory and brambly on the palate with dry, gripping tannins
La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. 2001.
High End 95+ Points - The Wine Advocate, Robert M. Parker, "It offers up smoky, sweet scents of lead pencil shavings, cedar, spice box, volcanic earth, black currants, and smoke. With excellent fruit, full-bodied power, a layered texture, and an exceptionally long finish."
"The Prisoner" by Orinswift Zinfandel Blend. Napa Valley, 2008.
Mid Tier. The front of the wine is soft and almost immediately begins evolving into the broad mid-palate. The mid has weight, length, and structure. The acids were great in 2008 and provide an essential rounding effect to the "big fruit" inherent in the wine. The finish is long and filled with ripe, soft tannins. The 2008 has much the same tannin structure of the 2004 which is a personal favorite.
We were also treated to a variety of seriously delicious tapas -- all of which made fantastic partners for the wine. First, they brought out a bowl of blistered shishito peppers, prepared in the traditional manner (fried and lightly salted).
Then we happily munched on crab boursin "tater tots" with blue crab, herbed boursin cheese, and garlic-chili ranch dipping sauce.
We were delighted by the flatbread with roasted garlic olive oil, shaved onion, vine ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and fontina.
And there was also baked goat cheese with spicy tomato sauce, basil pesto, and grilled ciabatta bread.
All of the tapas were exceptional, though the shishito peppers were the surprising hit. Exceedingly addicting, these not-too-spicy peppers packed a flavorful punch and made you want to continue popping them into your mouth one right after another.
And that wine... well, let's just say we're still thinking about it (and saving up our money for another bottle of that La Jota Cabernet...).
The weather this week has been cold and rainy -- desolate at its worst, and dreary at its best. Not exactly the sort of week you'd celebrate -- particularly around "hump" day. But, as we sat around the table sipping our wine and chatting, it occurred to me that this is exactly the sort of event that could break up the mid-week monotony. In fact, it was the perfect solution for our Wednesday Blues... and a nice bit of exercise for our ever-expanding wine palates!
So, the next time you get the urge to really savor a nice glass of wine among friends, think about stopping over to Clear for a sip of something lovely. And, if it happens to be a Wednesday, be sure you take advantage of those "Wine Craze" specials.
Trust us, you won't be sorry.
©BURP! Where Food Happens