Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Harvard through a wine glass

Boston is a great city and part of what makes it so great, is the fact that it is a walking city; you can get pretty much anywhere by foot and enjoy the many pictoresque sights along the way. Of course, what makes a walking city even better is when some of the walks include wine..
At City Wine Tours, they do just this by combining wine with neat local restaurants, area landmarks and informative walks in between. It's a great way to connect with other people, or to further bond with old friends.
I was the lucky winner of four tickets to a Saturday tour in Harvard Square.  I took a few friends to scope it out.  The tour began promptly at three at the Hotel Veritas, a refurbished Victorian hotel. Jo-Ann, our wine guide for the day and Christian, owner and history buff, broke the ice with a chilled Gruet Brut from New Mexico. The style of City Wine Tours is unique in that it is unassumming, but still very classy and informative.  Indeed the first things we learnt were tips on opening a bottle of wine as I am sure we all get a bit nervous when we have to do this in a social setting:)
From the terrace we moved up to the rear patio on the 3rd floor where we were greated with an impressive array of cheese and crackers to match our second wine, a partially-oaked Morgan Chardonnay.  Here we continued our progressive lesson, learning how to get the full appreciation out of a bottle of wine. Jo-Ann was quite right in stating that from the very 'POP' of the bottle opening to the swallow of your first sip, wine can take you on an enriched sensory journey!
Following the Chardonnay, we were taken on a brief tour of the Harvard grounds and told interesting little tid bits of information which somehow all came back to the topic of wine..quite clever! Jo-Ann continued with important topics often neglected such as the proper ways to preserve wine, how to pair and even how to order a good wine at a restaurant. Next up was Casablanca, a little whole in the wall restaurant that has been in the Square since 1955.  Here, we tried our first red, a Nebiolo, Vietti from Piedmont.
To pair with the wine were delicious Mezzo appetizer platters, with some of the restaurants famous spreads.  These are always welcome, particularly when more wine is on the way:)

Our final stop was Harvest where we had two more wines waiting for us, a Primitivo and a Brochetta d'Acqui.  The latter was my absolute favorite, it is a sweet, sparkling red that pairs well with any milky chocolate...right up my alley!
During our last few sips, we were all quite content to sit back and enjoy the new company.  I took the opportunity to reflect on the tour itself and how impressed I was with the attention to detail. From the set up to the pace, the walking distance and wine selection, I thought City Wine Tours did an excellent job. As a relatively new company (they are 6 weeks into this project!) they will be soon adding a tour in the Back Bay and South End areas. 
I would highly suggest this tour for anyone looking to enjoy the city from an exclusive vantage point.  I would love to see how they incorporate their style within other neighborhoods of Boston. Rumor has it, they will be launching a deal on Rue La La sometime this week...I would keep an eye out an snaffle a ticket while you can!

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