Sonnenalp event showcases a new way to drink Champagne
VAIL CO, Colorado
VAIL – It’s hard not to love a type of wine that’s referred to as bubbly – the word itself just evokes celebration and happiness.
And it’s even harder not to love bubbly when it’s served in the morning and early afternoon hours, paired with delectable brunch dishes like eggs benedict and pastries.
The Sonnenalp Resort of Vail hosted a champagne brunch Sunday to fill in a void that Food and Beverage Director and Sommelier Jamie Garrett saw within the Taste of Vail’s schedule, he said.
“There used to be a champagne event on Sunday, and I thought (Ludwig’s) was a good venue to do it in,” Garrett said. “After doing enough of these long food and wine events, I know that on the last day there can be some pretty big hangovers, so this is nice to just have a fresh, light day.”
For foodies and lushes who enjoy a good food and wine event, the Sunday Bubble Breakfast at Ludwig’s was the perfect pairing. While Garrett might have called it light, tasting 12 champagnes at brunch, even if they were just a couple of ounces per taste, was quite the undertaking.
I had just returned from Las Vegas, where I splurged on not one, but two buffet champagne brunches at the Wynn and the Bellagio. I felt compelled to test out the idea here in Vail to see how it stacked up to Sin City’s gluttonous offerings.
And while the Sonnenalp offered up a much smaller scale of brunch buffet selections, the champagne flowed and added a truly unique way to experience something I had already done twice the previous week.
Of course, a weekend brunch buffet paired with champagne isn’t a new concept. Pick any high end hotel in Denver and they probably serve a champagne brunch. And in Las Vegas, of course, this is not some innovative idea masterminded by one hotel’s food and beverage director.
Garrett did do something different, however, by making the brunch a tasting of champagnes, rather than keeping one kind of bubbly flowing throughout. It made the event less about drinking and more about tasting.
Garrett printed up something called a champagne passport, a booklet that looks just like a passport, with each of the 12 champagnes at the tasting on a different page in the booklet. As diners tasted the champagnes in the order Garrett said they should be tasted, they’d get a stamp in their passports.
The idea was a fun way for Garrett to introduce champagnes that run as much as $300 or $400 per bottle in most restaurants. But for $58, you could have a few sips of each kind of bubbly without making a several hundred dollar commitment.
“It’s definitely a treat,” Garrett said. “It’s a great event for people that like champagne, but don’t really understand champagne.”
Garrett has the same mindset for upcoming events he plans to host at the Sonnenalp Resort and at the Sonnenalp Golf Club in Edwards. He wants his food and wine events to be about not only the experience and the tastings, but also about learning.
Gathering in the Garden events will happen on the first Fridays of the month throughout the summer. There will be wine themes and regional food that ties into the wine theme of the month.
On the third Thursdays of the month, Garrett will host an outdoor, family-style dinner at the Sonnenalp Golf Club. Wine Wednesdays, at the Swiss Chalet, where guests can taste flights of wine will also continue throughout the summer, Garrett said.
“We always try to keep (events) at the very top level,” Garrett said.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.