Wine - Purr

Hosting a Wine Tasting

I'm hosting a wine tasting this weekend.  Now, I have hosted wine tastings before, and they are usually a lot of fun. But was wondering if anyone here hosts wine tastings, of if not hosted, at least attended....

Do you have any recipes you like to serve?
Activities you enjoy? (for example - most of us make wine and/or mead, so we are going to bring some of our home made wines in addition to serving wines from other wineries -- I am going to have a blind tasting with each bottle in a cute little pouch so no one can tell whose is whose, then have scorecards and probably some silly doorprize for the favorite wine). Any other ideas?

1...2...3... GO!
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The Judgement of Vegas: Blind Tasting & Bottleshock pt2

We all agreed that the wines were equally well made and that it was a case a of personal preference as to which one you liked more. Our verdicts (there were 6 of us, split down the middle.) Even the most experienced "wineaux" in the room didn't guess the regions correctly.

Pix below the cut:

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Lessons learned --

I served asparagus with dinner and had a bit of fun watching the less experienced among us learn not to wash it down with red wine. ;)

Also, I should've put out a bottle of Mouton Cadet and a 2 Buck Chuck Chard so that my guests would have a better idea of contrasts in quality -- they would've tasted a wine that is clearly not equal in quality.
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Bottle Shock and a Blind Tasting

My "Walking Dead Dinners" are turning my friends into wineauxs.

Tonight, we're watching Bottle Shock and having our own little Judgment of Paris.

I've wrapped the bottles already, so I can't give specifics until after the unveiling. All bottles in the $15-$20 range.

A Bordeaux Style Red ("left bank") vs. a Haut Medoc

A Napa Chardonnay vs. White Burgundy (from Mâcon, I think)

An Amador Zinfandel "Port" vs. Banyuls.

The Menu (because I don't want to fire up my oven for more than 10 minutes).

Pasta (gluten free) with mushroom red sauce, (vegan) alfredo sauce, and (gluten free) alfredo sauce.

Grilled asparagus with lemon butter.

Garlic toast.

(The other meat eater and I are having a teensy tiny piece of grilled steak. Rare, of course.)

Chocolate cake and cherry chocolate soy desert.

Pictures and verdicts to follow.
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I spent a number of evenings in my misspent youth in a pleasant bar (attached to a steakhouse) drinking sloe gin fizzes. This was due partly largely (I'm blaming two parties)to my late mother, who said they were quite the thing in her younger days, and also due to Tim Curry singing "Sloe Gin." (Tender ears please turn the sound down.)

The other day my husband and I were perusing a cocktail book and I remarked that I used to drink sloe gin, and he said he'd heard of it but didn't know what it was. I said it was made from a sour relative of plums but that I didn't think it was easy to find a decent band any more (at least in the US) that wasn't all sweetened up for the younger crowd.

Anyone know about sloe gin? I know that Hiram Walker makes one, but I suspect it is all sugary with little plum character. Is there a decent authentic brand around?

"Supernatural Wine" The Devil May Care, California, 2010

(No, I don't drink this early in the morning. I'm just typing up notes from before I caught my latest cold.)

According to the website this wine is a blend crafted for Fresh and Easy, which is where I picked it up for about $7

The label and the website say nothing about the grapes, but I'm thinking a mix of Cab, Merlot, Shiraz, and possibly some Zin.

Color: A very dark blood red

Sniff test: Very lush and jammy. Blackberry, cherry, and a hint of mocha

First Impression: Tart and tangy. A little hot and rough around the edges. Very spicy. Tart cherry and a little cola on the middle back.

Breathing Room: Becomes very nice and silky with some cherry-cola flavors on the back. Up front, it's fruity and jammy, cherry, blackberry, and even some plums. The middle is hollow. It's still a little hot and rough around the edges in the finish, but in a fun way.

Verdict: A fun, easy drinking table wine.

I paired it with Episode 7x17 "Born Again Identity"

(You gotta love a snarky devil!)
  • kadymae

"Supernatural Wine" -- The Big Red Monster

The The Big Red Monster 2010, California, has a label that's a triumph of minimalist design. I picked up for about $12 at my local Fresh and Easy.

The label gives no indication, however, of the grapes in it.

Color: Very dark purple-red, almost Petit Sirah dark.
Nose: Closed. Fruit and dusty brick.
First Impression: Very closed. Cherry, black raspberry, some currant. Rough. Short, tart finish, very tannic. Gave me "cat tongue".
Breathing Room: A skoosh smoother, but not much. This wine still thinks it's Cabernet but it's not -- the flavor profile isn't quite right.

Verdict: To be honest, you're going to want to decant this wine for at least an hour before drinking. Only after day two in my fridge did it open up into a big, bombastic red that I think is Petit Sirah, Syrah, and some Zinfandel, on the basis of the black raspberry, huckleberry, black plum, and currant flavors with a nice bit of allspice on the finish. It went really nicely with the pot roast I made for dinner that night.

Episode pairing: 7.09 How To Win Friends and Influence Monsters, an episode that was a parody of American Consumer Culture. But don't take my word for it. See for yourself:

Given that this wine was, in its own way, quite sneaky, it's a good pairing.
  • kadymae

Lost Angel 2009 Ruckus White Wine

I was going to save the next bottle of "Supernatural" Wine for next week but (a) the remaining Pinot Evil is sitting in my freezer waiting for my next stew and (b) it's been a very long day, and, but for the fact I have no scotch, I'd be having a "scotch flavored drink".

That said, on to our wine.

Color: A nice medium gold
Sniff test: Apples, white flowers, and a little peach on the nose, as well as a hint of minerals.

First impression: Green apples, pineapple, a bit of grapefruit. A bit sweet and fruity up front, but a crisp clean finish. The wine was also a bit frizzy in the glass.

After a bit of breathing room: All of the above, only nicer and richer, with a bit of peaches in the middle and a bit of flint in the finish.

Verdict: A winner. This is a nicely balanced, easy to drink blend of several grapes. It's the wine that Apothic White wants to be. I paid $7 at my local Fresh and Easy. According to this site the primary grape is Viognier, followed by Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Viognier doesn't age well, so if you get a bottle of this, drink it quick; it's going to start declining soon. (I plan to snap up another bottle or two and serve them when "Walking Dead Dinner" returns.)

Episode: 6x20 The Man Who Would Be King. "And of course, I remember the most remarkable event. Remarkable because it never came to pass. It was averted by two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel. The grand story, and we ripped up the ending, and the rules, and destiny, leaving nothing but freedom and choice. Which is all well and good, except... but what if I've made the wrong choice?" If that's not the definition of causing a ruckus, I don't know what is.

And then there's this bit that recaps all the ruckus going on in the SPN 'verse.
  • kadymae

Pinot Evil Pinot Noir, NV, France

I'm going to do another round of "Supernatual Wine" tastings where I pair a wine with a supernatural name with an episode of the TV series Supernatural.

For the first wine I've got Pinot Evil Pinot Noir, a French Vin de Pays de L'Ile de Beaute wine. (A "country" wine from Corsica.)

Color: A light red. This wine is almost Lambrusco colored, and you can tell it's thin as it pours.

Nose: Initially kind of closed, cherries and earth, astringent. Once opened, tart cherries.

First Impression: It's got a very silky mouthfeel, but it's sour and astringent straight out of the bottle. The predominant flavor note is cherries. The finish is very short.

Breathing Room: Not much changes. It becomes even more silky and astringency is gone, but it's got one flavor note: sour cherry and the finish is still really short.

Verdict: I ate this with a garlicy steak, potatoes, tomatoes, and roasted asparagus (aka "Flatiron steak from Sammy's Woodfired") and it went pretty well. It's so cherry tasting, that it would go well with some kinds of game such as duck, or with things like lemon-rosemary chicken and roast pork.

But, I paid $6.50 for a bottle at my local Fresh and Easy, so don't expect anything from this wine. It doesn't get anything wrong but neither does it get anything especially right.

Episode: 6x15 "The French Mistake" -- okay I had to go with the title here. The French Mistake is one of the funniest hours of TV it's ever been my privilege to watch. (Clip is under 5 mins.) Sam and Dean stumble onto the set of a TV series called Supernatural and all hell breaks loose. It's fun like the wine is fun, but as a meta episode, it's got more layers.