Descanso Sips: Get to Know Haute H20 - NBC Southern California

Descanso Sips: Get to Know Haute H20

Water sommelier Martin Riese will lead a tasting of tangy, earthy, sparkling waters



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    Water 101
    Water sommelier Martin Riese will lead a tasting of tangy, earthy, sparkling waters on Thursday, June 4.

    Many a posh and sociable happening unfurls in our region's flowery and tree-dotted public gardens, and many a beverage is served. If craft beer is the theme the drink might be an IPA or if local wineries are getting the love, a chardonnay.

    But sipping what the trees themselves drink, or the flowers or grasses, is something a bit rarer. Yes, we refer to water, that ancient elixir, and while water bottles and pitchers pop up at many events, H20 is not typically the theme.

    That changes on Thursday, June 4 when "the nation's first water sommelier" Martin Riese, a scholar of sparklings and flats who wrote a book on different types of the clear/bubbly stuff, stops by Descanso Gardens for a full-on tasting called Water 101.

    A water tasting, which is, admittedly, something most adventurous beverage buffs don't come across all too often, save for perhaps at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where Mr. Riese can often be seen leading diners through the extensive water menus.

    And the waters served at the La Cañada Flintridge garden shall be extensive: Think earthy flavors, peaty flavors, liquids with weight and liquids that feel especially light. To say that "water is water" is in correct; you've likely noted that even the taste of tap water can vary city to city.

    "Small bites" will also be served during the tasting, which costs $42.

    Will you sip Acqua Panna or Voss or Vichy Catalan or Gerolsteiner Mineral Water? Your water sommelier will arrive with an array of bottles containing a full spectrum of H20 types. If you've stuck by one brand for years, this is your chance to take the plunge -- joke intended -- elsewhere.

    And consider that, as you leave, you will have savored the same substance the shrubs and camellias and tulips enjoy. Not every reveler enjoying a beverage -- beer, cocktail, wine -- at a public garden can feel that simpatico with nature.