Leo Libations at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City

All six wines tasted at the Basics of Food & Wine Pairing class.
All six wines tasted at the Basics of Food & Wine Pairing class.

The Leonardo museum boasts itself as the place where science, technology and creativity come together in Salt Lake City.  So what better place to learn about the art and science of wine?  That’s exactly the aim of Leo Libations at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City.

Leo Libations is held in the foyer of The Leonardo.
Leo Libations is held in the foyer of The Leonardo.

The Leonardo is responsible for bringing some of the country’s most exciting pieces of art and history to downtown Salt Lake City, like Da Vinci’s inventions and Mummies of the World.  They are currently home to the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the few museums in the country hosting the exhibit.  Along with great exhibits, the museum hosts discussions with business and tech innovators (called Sessions), dinner and museum packages and the monthly Leo Libation classes.

Round one of wine: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rosé, Willow Crest Pinot Gris and Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay.
Round one of wine: Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rosé, Willow Crest Pinot Gris and Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay.

Each Leo Libation class focuses on a specific component of wine, from tasting different wines from one region to pairing food and wines together.  Taught by the talented Jim Santangelo of the Wine Academy of Utah, they are informative and fun.

All six wines tasted at the Basics of Food & Wine Pairing class.
All six wines tasted at the Basics of Food & Wine Pairing class.

Last week I attended the Basics of Food & Wine Pairing class, aimed at understanding the science of putting a glass of wine with a piece of food.  We tasted six wines, starting with a rosé, evolving to several whites, then deep reds and finishing with a Port.

Chutney with braised beef at Leo Libations at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City.
The chutney with braised beef was perfectly paired with a Malbec.

Each wine was complemented by a dish created by Zanetta Jones, the chef de cuisine at The Leonardo’s cafe, Salt Bistro.  Some of my favorite pairings were the apple/pear/celery salad with brie vinaigrette dressing teamed with a Pinot Gris and the chutney with beef braised in cocoa and coffee topped with plum and carrot sauce paired with a Malbec.

Strawberry and balsamic curd dessert with Port at Leo Libations at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City.
The dessert helped balance the richness of the Port.

And the brie ice cream with strawberry and balsami curd topped with milk chocolate and white chocolate fudge, paired with the Port, a rich but wonderful pairing that demonstrated Chef Zanetta’s culinary roots as a pastry chef.

Jim Santangelo, of the Wine Academy of Utah, teaching Leo Libations.
Jim Santangelo, of the Wine Academy of Utah, teaching Leo Libations.

Jim Santangelo has won numerous awards for his wine educator skills and it’s obvious why he’s been singled out for his work.  His enthusiasm is infectious, his knowledge is impressive and his easily approachable way of teaching is fun and informative without being intimidating or pretentious.

Leo Libations is held the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. at The Leonardo.  The class list is here, including another Basics of Food & Wine Pairing (featuring different wines) coming up on April 3, 2014.  Prices vary per class ($50-65) but include museums admission.

Disclaimer :: I was graciously treated to this event by The Leonardo/Wine Academy of Utah.  All opinions are my own.

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1 Comment

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed it, we’ll hope to see you at our upcoming class on March 6th! James will be taking everyone on a tour of wines from the Burgundy region in France. Keep up the great work!

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