Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tria, Ars Nova and Menetou-Salon

Update: Classes at Tria are now open for registration. Check out the entire February schedule or jump directly to my courses on sparkling wine or Italy on a budget. Both classes are now sold out.

The February 2009 schedule of classes at Tria Fermentation School is due to be announced later today. I’ll do my best to update this once the roster goes live but you can also keep an eye on it yourself. I’ll be leading two seminars in February. The first will be the ubiquitous seasonal sparkling wine class, just in time for Valentine’s Day, on Friday, February 13. I’ll return in quick fashion on Wednesday, February 18, with an overview of some exciting options in everyday wines from Italy. Think $18 and under – $15 doesn’t get you quite as far in Italy as it does in France – and you’ll be on the right track.

Another promoter of great cultural events available to all of my Philly-based readers is the Ars Nova Workshop. For those not already familiar, Ars Nova's driving force Mark Christman puts on a really adventurous series of musical performances at small venues all over the city. To over simplify, the focus is on jazz but his bookings encompass an incredibly wide range of musical talent, occasionally straight ahead but more often exploring the cutting edge of improvisational and experimental music.

Last Friday’s performance, the first in a three-part series paying tribute to the great, late saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill, featured Baikida Carroll, trumpeter on Hemphill’s landmark 1972 recording, Dogon A.D., in what turned out to be a really eclectic, energized evening. Perhaps I’ll see some of you at the Thurston Moore/Mats Gustafsson performance on the 31st of this month. I trust it won’t be for the faint of heart…. Here’s a short clip, loaded on the aural assault front, of Mats and Thurston performing with Original Silence at an August 2008 performance in Oslo.

Finally, getting back to wine, I mentioned in yesterday’s post how a food pairing brought out something extra, something that wasn’t already in evidence, in an otherwise relatively unremarkable Chinon. Well, I finished off the same disc of Selles-sur-Cher last night, washed down with a couple of glasses of Jean-Max Roger’s 2005 Menetou-Salon “Cuvée Le Charnay.” The wine was showing very well on its own, having moved past the lactic tendencies it can show in youth to a more highly-charged expression of fruit, flowers and minerality. The combination, though, focused and magnified the experience of both the wine and the cheese, putting paid to the classic pairing of Loire Sauvignon with goat’s milk cheese from the same locale, adding layers and hitting new notes along the way. Good stuff all around.

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