Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Independent Champagne & Sparkling Wine Invitational

Champagne and sparking wine are likely the most misunderstood of all libations. Contrary to popular belief, your choices of bubbly range far beyond either a bottle of Cristal or "a bunch of Mumms." This weekend the inaugural Independent Champagne and Sparkling Wine Festival offers myriad of tastings, dinners, and seminars which will explore these effervescent wines.

The formula is similar to those of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience and Tales of the Cocktail. Attendees pick and choose from a dizzying array of events throughout the weekend, with different ticket packages offering a wealth of opportunities to clink a few glasses with friends.

Friday night presents the ICSWI Winemaker Dinners. At 7:00pm sharp, 7 of the city's chefs will offer a multi-course menu paired with bubbly the whole way through. The cost for these dinners is $100 per person across the board. Galatoire's and Bayona are already sold out, but seats are still available at Calcasieu, Gautreau's, Herbsaint, Meson 923, and the Monteleone Hotel, which will serve a family style dinner prepared by Poppy Tooker and Chef Chuck Subra of La Cote Brasserie, all washed down with Ruinart (The Pope's favorite champagne house).

If afternoon cocktails are more your style, than the Grand Tastings offer you that opportunity at the Convention Center on Friday and Saturday where over 100 selections from some of the world’s most sought after sparkling wines will be showcased. These selections, served by national leading sommeliers, are produced in the grower and independent spirit ranging from the superb high-end cuvées of the Grande Marques to the terroir driven jewels of the small producers. Grand tasting food samples will be offered by Chefs Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti (NYC), Chuck Subra of La Cote Brasserie, Tenney Flynn of GW Fins, and Mark Quitney of the New Orleans Marriott.

Tickets to all events can be purchased online. As Rene said yesterday, New Orleans has had many reasons to celebrate with champagne thus far this year. But, truthfully, when did we ever need a legitimate reason to uncork a bottle of happiness?

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