Spanish Bights

Story and photos by Marlene Wandel

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Spain via Kansas is not the usual Sunday night trajectory. Likewise, Spanish Bights, Bight Restaurant + Bar’s most recent wine tasting and pairing, was not the usual Sunday night fare.

Host and sommelier Jeannie DuBois led the crowd through a five-course tasting menu that included samples from Spanish wineries established in the 17th century to those more recently established. The artful array of tapas and a glass of sangria were enough to inspire some travel—bread, flatbread, olives, fresh figs—a reminder of the joy of simple, good food. Fresh figs and Drunken Goat cheese are wonderful together, for the record.

Spanish guitar and dancing, by Beau and Zhanna from Kansas, filled the spaces between the courses. Zhanna’s costume changes kept pace with the rotation of wine glasses on the tables. From sparkling cava, to rich, sweet sherry, with stops at Rioja and Bierzo, it was a mini wine tour of Spain, with tidbits and anecdotes from the ever enthusiastic Dubois. Here’s some interesting facts: Spain has the most land acreage under vines, but is only the third highest producer of grapes due to low density of vines; co-op wineries are common in Spain; and most Spanish grapes end up as sherry. Once the sherry was served, that didn’t seem like such a bad thing.

The food alone could inspire a trans-atlantic move: a rabbit paella with saffron threads, and drunken (sherry simmered) goat. This is food that reflects a love of life. This is not food requires restraint at the table; something this good is satisfying in every bite.

It’s not often that a dinner provides the opportunity to try five new things, or the chance to see five fabulous outfits on Spanish dancer. Then again, it’s not often you get to go to Spain via Kansas, on a Sunday night.