Would you expect to find interesting wine at the theater? Of course not. It’s like going to an art opening and thinking that they’re going to pour Rochioli chardonnay for a crowd of hundreds. It’s not going to happen. Even the finest performing arts venues generally serve something that’s just palatable because they’re also pouring in volume.
So it was really a pleasant surprise to find three nice table wines at the Battle of the Dance, a fun vaudeville-style show in Anaheim. The performance, which includes dinner, pits Irish against flamenco dancers in a wild showdown. Along the way there’s a singer, ventriloquist, and a guy who does amazing shadow puppets—you really have to see it to appreciate it.
The whole thing takes place in a huge building that used to be a Toys R Us. It’s been converted into a theater with an enormous lobby, a gift shop, and a bar. Step up and they’ll pour you the house wines. That was the most dramatic part of the evening for me. There are three and they’re straight from Mallorca—the owners of Battle of the Dance are from Spain and they also own a winery, Angel Bodegas. Don’t pass up the chance to taste these wines, which are unlike any served in a local theater.
The white is a blend of chardonnay and a grape called prensal blanc. I expected the wild brightness of albariño but this was more refined, with good acidity, and some herbaceousness. The rosé was dry, made from a Mallorcan grape called manto negro, blended with cabernet. It’s got strawberry notes that linger. Taste the red wine and you’ll really get the feel of the manto negro grape. It has a pronounced earthiness like a mourvedre and here it’s blended with cabernet and merlot. It’s then aged in American and French oak which gives it a spiciness that makes it a great food wine for tapas, paella, cheeses, charcuterie, pastas, and some desserts. It went well with a light chocolate cake served after dinner. And it’s a medium-bodied wine which can take a little chill.
Be sure you make a point to taste these wines at the show because you can’t find them anywhere else at the moment. Search online and you’ll see a variety of prices from $8 to $15 a bottle. A spokesman for Battle of the Dance says they might be sold in Whole Foods soon. I’ll keep you posted on that because all three of these wines are perfect for summer and at these prices you could serve them at a really big party where they would be as showy as a stage full of flamenco dancers.—Anne Valdespino