Wine Down Eugene March 19-25
It’s funny how life can come full circle. Several months ago, the Local Lunch Gals (our trio of restaurant reviewers consisting of two high school friends and I) went to check out one of Eugene’s new and much raved about restaurants, Soubise. It was a special Local Lunch Gals outing. We were not only there to experience the atmosphere, wines and foods, but we were there to be featured on the Rick Dancer TV Show – an episode that focused on the restaurant boom in downtown Eugene. (Watch the episode here.)
I am not a wine snob, but I am an admitted wine glass snob. As noted in an article on my award winning website, WineJulia.com “I Am A Wine Glass Snob,” stemware plays an integral part in implementing a superb wine drinking experience. Nothing can sour my mood faster than having a world-class Pinot Noir arrive (filled to the rim) in a glass meant for water, orange juice or maybe even chocolate milk. Encountering the aromas of a wine is the first step to truly enjoying that wine, and any other factors that follow; such as, the mouthfeel, the texture, the flavors and the feel of the glass as it’s being held are just as important and have everything to do with the shape and quality of the glass. Proper stemware makes all the difference.
At Soubise, when our bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir arrived with three unfamiliar looking glasses (at the time I was stuck on the Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glass), I was instantly concerned and asked about the wine glasses. The owner wasn’t able to hold back his enthusiasm about the Zalto Denk’Art wine glasses and was quick to conduct a side by side taste test with the Zalto next to my beloved Riedel – I was instantly hooked on Zalto and have been ever since.
With a seriously hefty price tag on the Zalto stemware, I decided that my love for Zalto would be exclusively savored for wine dates with my husband at Soubise. So, imagine my despair when they suddenly closed. What happened to all of those lovely Zalto glasses?
Here’s where life so oddly comes full circle. Last week, while I was up in the Dundee Hills for the absolutely amazing Oregon Chardonnay Symposium, I met up with a Portland residing wine-writing friend, Michele Francisco of winerabble.com, who graciously offered me her guest room for the evening so I wouldn’t need to drive back to Eugene after the Symposium. Being the sparkling wine enthusiasts that we are, we decided to meet up at Portland’s well-known Champagne bar: Ambonnay.
Ambonnay is a slice of heaven on earth for those who love bubbles, like me. It’s small, intimate, slightly funky in decor (which is so perfect for Portland), and has some of the best Truffle Popcorn I’ve ever had – one of my all time favorite pairings with sparkling wine. They feature over 50 Champagnes and sparkling wines and offer a great selection by the glass, and best of all, they don’t serve their bubbles in flutes! I absolutely can’t stand Champagne flutes – I actually prefer sparkling wine in a Burgundy or Pinot Noir glass, where aromas have plenty of room to flourish. With my mention to the bartender of how I appreciated their choice of stemware for sparkling wine, the topic of Zalto Burgundy stemware unsurprisingly came up – Michele is as big a fan of Zalto as I am. I spilled the beans about my broken heart over the closure of Soubise – the only place in Eugene where I could savor wine in a Zalto glass. When I noticed a big smile forming on our bartender’s face (while I dished out the juice on my glass obsession), he was quick to inform me that Ambonnay had acquired the Zalto stemware from Soubise!
Now it was my turn to smile from ear to ear, I was suddenly holding my very own (used, but like new) Zalto Denk’Art Burgundy glass – sold to me at a price I could not refuse. From Eugene to Portland and back to Eugene, my beautiful Zalto Burgundy glass will be the nucleus for many, many stellar Oregon Pinot Noirs. Most recently, every single sip of Adelsheim’s 2011 Elizabeth’s Reserve Pinot Noir was totally, completely savored in my beautiful Zalto wine glass. Read all about it on WineJulia.com and join in on the month long conversation and celebration of Adelsheim’s Elizabeth’s Reserve on Twitter using the hashtag #lizziepinot
If there’s a shop in Oregon that sells Zalto, I don’t know about it. But, I do know you can purchase Zalto Denk’Art stemware through Winemonger.com.