A couple of weekends ago, I had the chance to try out a City Wine Tour through Harvard Square. I don’t often participate in tours around my own city, but was glad to have the opportunity to give something new a try. On a rainy Saturday afternoon, our group of 13 convened at Nubar with our host Joanne, and got down to the business of learning about wine!
I should first say that I’d consider my wine knowledge intermediate. I’m not new to the world of wine, but I’m certainly no expert. I drink predominantly white wine, but am starting to get more comfortable with reds, so I was really excited to see what this tour had to offer.
When we arrived at Nubar, we were each handed a small glass of prosecco, and helped ourselves to some cheese, crackers and fruit to nibble on. Joanne introduced herself and gave a bit of background to explain how she came to be the host of a wine tour, and then all of the guests in turn introduced themselves and said a few words on why they enjoy drinking wine.
The prosecco, LaMarca, was light bodied and easy to drink, and it went nicely with the cheese. As we enjoyed our first few sips and bites, Joanne told us about the history of prosecco, and it’s basic characteristics. As someone who drinks a whole lot of prosecco, I found this was a great way to start! We also tried an albariño (Martin Codax 2011) at Nubar, and with that wine Joanne taught us how to properly taste it. I’ve taken classes and studied wine before, so this was information I already knew, but I enjoyed having a refresher and know that the more beginner folks on the tour found that part very helpful.
Our next stop was to First Printer, a restaurant I have heard plenty about, but never visited myself. We were seated inside the old bank vault, which was pretty neat, and extra toasty on such a cold, rainy day. We started with a lightly-oaked chardonnay from J Lohr in California, which is generally not my thing, but I liked it okay. I tend to go for wines with a cleaner, brighter profile, and tend to stay away from anything oak-aged, but it was fairly easy to drink and went nicely with the food.
We got the try the Margherita pizza, which was a touch spicy but otherwise really tasty (perfect crust-sauce-cheese ratio) and also a basket of fish hush puppies, which were served with a honey dipping sauce. The hush puppies were especially delicious with the chardonnay!
We also tried a Cabernet Sauvignon (Clayhouse 2009), the first red of the afternoon, which was pretty good. I found it to be rather tannic, which isn’t my favorite wine characteristic, but it went really well with the pizza and that made it easier to drink.
Along the way, Joanne shared tidbits of knowledge about wine with us, and fun little facts about each of the places we visited. She even had a fun little story to tell about a statue in the Harvard yard on our walk to the third stop, Broadway Marketplace. Sadly, I left my phone at First Printer, so I didn’t snap any photos at Broadway Wine, but we were met there by enthusiastic wine buyer Steve, and he shared some of his passion for wine with us. It was fun to interact with another wine “expert”, and I really enjoyed some of the wine we got to try there. First we had the Domaine Plouzeau Touraine Sauvignon, a sauvignon blanc from the Loirve valley, which was clean and bright, with hints of grapefruit. I thought it was really delicious. We also tried the Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Païs Marcillac 2012, a red from Marcillac, France. I wasn’t really into this one, but I think mostly because it had too much body for my tentative red-drinking palate!
Overall it was a pleasant afternoon, despite the rather gloomy weather. We got to try a good mix of wines, and had a couple of tasty bites. The variety of stops was interesting, though I think I would have enjoyed it even more if we’d gotten to go to a third restaurant instead of the market. I also really enjoyed our guide Joanne, who told us halfway through it was her very first tour. You’d never have known, as she really kept her cool and was super friendly and informative all along the way.
If you’re interested in going on your own wine excursion, City Wine Tours offers tours through the North End, South End and Back Bay, in addition to Harvard Square, and they’re offering Sweetly Serendipity readers a special opportunity!
City Wine Tours hosts weekend wine tasting tours in several Boston neighborhoods, plans corporate and private events, and encourages learned debauchery. Visit us on: www.citywinetours.com, Fac
Disclaimer: This tour was provided to me free of charge, in exchange for an honest review of my tour experience. As usual, all opinions expressed here are my own.