What better way to enjoy an afternoon in the Back Bay of Boston than to visit trendy restaurants, sample tasty appetizers and sip a variety of fine wines with a Certified Wine Specialist?- What fun! This experience is offered by City Wine Tours in four Boston neighborhoods – Back Bay, South End, North End and Harvard Square. Their motto is: “Learning About Wine Should Be As Fun As Drinking It”, and we definitely agree. Come along as we visit three acclaimed restaurants in Boston’s Back Bay in the company of our own wine expert.
Our 2 hour wine tour began at 3:00 pm at Legal Seafood at Park Plaza where we were greeted by our “Wine Ambassador”; Judy Lebel, Certified Specialist of Wines. Despite her impressive title, Judy was fun, approachable and shared great advice for tasting and purchasing wines. We settled down in Legal Seafood’s private wine-cellar dining room and the fun began.
We sampled a delicious warm crab cake while tasting a chilled Sauvignon Blanc and an Unoaked Pinot Noir (which was a new variety for me). Judy explained how to balance selections of wine with the ‘weight’ of your food course. For instance, Fettuccine Alfredo should be accompanied by an acidic wine (tart) to help cut through the heaviness of the cheese and cream. Judy’s friendly banter helped to give us simple ways to express and interpret what we were tasting. Very entertaining.
Next we were off on a short walk to Tico for some Latin flare.
At each restaurant two wines are presented, and here we sampled a fruity white and medium red, both from Argentina. By now the group was comfortable with each other and the questions flowed. Judy gave us her expert opinion and advice on all our queries. One great nugget was that it’s not sulfides in wine that cause headaches (urban myth), but actually the histamines that are in all wines at varying levels. So, if you are particularly sensitive to histamines, you may need an anti-histamine before drinking a lot of wine. Obviously a discussion with your Doctor is always a good idea!
Next stop the incomparable L’Espalier on Boylston Street! We were greeted like anticipated guests and given a tour of the restaurant, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen – fascinating.
We settled down with a privileged view of Boylston Street to sip a White Pinot Noir (another new variety for me) from Oregon, and a smooth Ruby Port as our desert wine.
By now our group of a dozen tour participants were fast friends with smiles all around. Besides myself and friend, our group included a Bachelorette Party and a family of three (Dad, Mom and adult daughter) celebrating Father’s Day weekend – both great celebration ideas.
And very much like this photo in the L’Espalier ladies’ room, we were all very merry and ready to dance out the restaurant to enjoy more of Back Bay Boston.
City Wine Tours operate in Boston and New York City, exploring an array of neighborhoods and wine varieties, including a new Boston tour featuring Sparkling Wines in Harvard Square.