Monday, May 10, 2010

Sofia blanc de blancs

Many wine bars/restaurants in my area end up feeling stodgy, aiming at a middle-aged upper-middle class clientelle. I can't really blame them, that's the group that has all the money. Still, my early-twenties broke-ass self would really appreciate a place that takes itself less seriously. Of course, that can be another trap for wine bars: becoming so trendy that they drive away older patrons.

Victoria Gastro Pub has all of the trimmings of a proper, high class wine bar and restaurant. It looks rich, but there's something about it that puts you at ease. After a while I realized that it was the radio. They were not playing the standard "top hits from the 1820's 30's and 40's" like many upscale places seem to do. It was playing alt rock intermixed with some top 40s, which took the edge off of the pretension.

One of the best things about Victoria is the food. And I am not just saying that because my direct supervisor is married to the chef. Okay, maybe that's a part of it, but not a big part. The duck fat fries specifically are the tastiest things I have ever put into my mouth, being smothered in duck gravy, gruyere cheese, and little awesome bits of ducky goodness. The tuna tartare is fabulous, with delightfully rich tuna and little pieces of apple that provide a really interesting contrast. The Boyfriend was a big fan of the banana chips that came on the side, but I am still convinced that all bananas contain spider eggs, and will not eat them.

We also had a bowl of asparagus, lemon and goat cheese soup which was possibly the best thing ever on a spring night, and a plate of frogs legs. I'm not a huge fan of frogs legs, I think they're too fiddly and the taste vs texture thing throws me a bit. Of course I won't turn up my nose at the little amphibians, but They're not my fave.

What really stole the show for me was the wine, which you knew I had to get to at some point. I was craving bubbles, so I ordered whatever sparkling came by the glass without really paying attention to it. It turned out to be Francis Coppola Sofia Blanc de Blanc, a California sparkling wine that comes in a can.

You heard me.

In a can.

With a straw.

This really blew my mind for some reason, and I was barely able to focus for long enough to actually taste the wine inside. It was sweet, with apricot notes on the nose, but tart, with a bit more lemon than apple and very little of the yeasty flavor that one finds in some sparkling wines. I blame the Muscat. Still, it was not cloyingly sweet nor was it aggressively tart. It was clean, bright, and balanced, and it went REALLY well with that asparagus soup I mentioned earlier. I would definitely order it again.

The can, though. I still have it because it was kind of adorable. It really didn't change the taste of the wine at all, and, as the Boyfriend pointed out, it is a brilliant marketing strategy. It's a perfect club sparkling, light, easy to drink, and more important for bartenders, easy to store and easy to open. In a restaurant it's lacking a bit, I kind of like the pomp of the wine opening display, but you usually don't get that when ordering by the glass anyway. I recommend this highly!

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