In October, we started the first of what we
hope will be an ongoing series of wine tasting parties with a small group of six
couples interested in wine but with varying levels of wine knowledge. The group
was formed with the following guidelines:
We will have a blind tasting and casual dinner roughly every
other month so that we rotate through the entire group once a year. The host couple
may, at their discretion, invite more people to join the fun. The evening's host selects the theme for the evening such as:
"Napa Cabernet under $50", "Single vineyard Pinot Noir from Oregon", "'Second
wines' of Bordeaux", "Australian Shiraz over $30", or whatever. Each couple
brings one bottle that fits the theme. The labels are hidden with paper
bags so that this becomes a blind tasting. Everyone tastes each wine before
dinner and selects their top three wines so we can have a consensus favorite. At dinner, we can finish the tasting wines or raid the host's cellar assuming,
of course, that the host consents. And we should
have fun doing this.
Two books that we've used to guide
our efforts are:
In our first gathering, we started with a tasting of wines
from the Southern Rhone. The wines were opened roughly thirty
minutes before tasting and were not decanted. The wines were tasted blind. We
gave each member of the party a simple
scorecard so that they could simply note
their #1 favorite, their #2 favorite, and their #3 favorite as well as any notes
that would help them keep track of the wines that they liked. The table below
lists the wines in order of the consensus favorites. There were two clear
favorites of this group that were way out in front.
Domaine de Caillou "Quartz"
Peach, cherry, blackberry flavors. Full-bodied and smooth
with a long finish - it was very yummy.
Love the depth. Lots of fruity, berry-like flavors -
brambly. More subtle and refined with a very long finish.
I liked the first second or two, then it was over.
Tannic, woody, oaky.
Some hints of cherry flavor and peppery mouth-feel but
not very complex. Light but oaky/woody.
Too oaky (pine?) - I didn't like the aftertaste. Short
I liked the first taste but then it was too oaky. Spicy,
peppery with hints of leather. A little earthy or musty.
Domaine St. Anne
Tasted fairly flat - not deep enough flavor. Acid and sourness. Not very intense or complex.
The consensus ranking was determined by
3 points for each #1 listing, 2 points for #2, and 1 point for #3. Any ties are
broken by the number of #1 votes, etc.
Following the tasting, we sat down to dinner with the
remaining wine from the tasting. The dinner was coordinated around a somewhat
traditional cuisine of Southern France in order to complement the wines. In
addition to the wines from the tasting, our gracious host also opened a 1984 Vieux Telegraphe that he had found in his cellar.
Wild mushroom soup with toasted cheese crostini
Lamb with carmelized turnips, honey and sage sauce
The Wine Enthusiast is a great source of glassware, serving and
preservation systems, in addition to self-contained wine cellars and other wine
storage options. If you're not sure what you need, the company offers a list of 'Recommended' items that cover a wide range of needs
through their home page.
Serving and preserve your wine, from the most elegant decanters
to chillers, coasters, drip savers and more. When we want wine by the glass
(when we don't think we'll finish a bottle), we use the
which automatically fills the bottle with nitrogen to preserve the wine.