I am getting more and more emails each week about wine dinners and tasting events in the Princeton area. These events are all the rage, and many of them seem to sell out quickly, even in this economy. I think it’s the “value added” aspect of them. Not only are you enjoying several courses of well-prepared food, but also specially paired wines to go with each course. Often the winemaker is there, too, which adds a lovely personalized aspect to the experience.
Such was the case at a recent wine dinner at Blue Point Grill I was invited to by Mark Censits who owns CoolVines (in Princeton and Westfield). Working with Michael Messenie of Savio Soares Selections (the distributor), they had brought in Isabelle Boxler-Sipp, of Domaine Agape in Alsace, France, where her husband Vincent is “vigneron” (grower).
From the sparkling Cremant d’Alsace through the Grand Cru Riesling, all five wines I sipped that evening were delicious, as was the wonderful dinner Blue Point Grill Chef Steve Murray put out (I especially liked the Icelandic Artic Char and the Chilean Sea Bass).
If you go to Alsace, Isabelle also owns a cooking school in Colmar named Cardamome (her favorite spice), where, she reports, the locals increasingly want to learn to make ethnic dishes, but the tourists, of course, want to learn traditional Alsatian dishes.
Now I see that BPG’s “sister” restaurant, Witherspoon Grill is having a Spanish wine dinner on July 27, featuring five wines from throughout Spain.
Down the street, Mediterra is having a July 16 dinner with Raul Perez, whose Bodegas y Viñedos Raul Perez produces extra limited, handcrafted, artisanal wines in Spain. And up in Kingston, on July 15, Eno Terra is having another dinner in their Italian regional series, this time five courses with wine pairings celebrate Sardegna and Liguria. For information on these dinners, visit the TerraMomo website.
On Friday nights in July, elements restaurant offers regional wine flights, “Friday Night Flights,” each Friday focusing on a different country, and in Rocky Hill, One53 is hosting a wine tasting on July 29.
Many wine shops also host in-store tastings – check the CoolVines website for upcoming tastings, including one featuring Domaine Agape wines on July 22. The Princeton Corkscrew hosts tastings in their store, too (there’s one on July 15), as does Wegmans down in Nassau Park.
Are you ready for a change of pace? If so, head over to the Rocky Hill Inn on July 22 for a tasting of craft beers. Whew!