Tucked away in a cozy corner at the 55 Degree Wi7ne shop and bar in Atwater Village, Tony Essa's students listen intently as he cradles a bottle of bubbly, pink wine from Penedes, Spain.
"It goes through two fermentations; the second takes place over 24 months, making this very nice and balanced," Essa said. "It is light and dry on the finish, bone dry on the finish, with a nice froth to it."
The Canals Rosat Reserva Brut Nature was one of three bubblies offered recently as part of a wine flight at 55 Degree Wine. While they look and taste much like champagne, the wines cannot be referred to as champagne because they hail from Italy and Spain, not Champagne, France, Essa explained.
There are toasts, sips and lip smacking all around, and then it is on to one of Germany's most famous exports.
"Rieslings kind of have a rap as being a sweet wine, but they are not always a sweet wine," Essa said. "They weren't originally accepted as a sweet wine; they were accepted as an elegant wine."