Yeah, it’s almost Halloween and I’m posting about last month’s gathering. We all know that I tend towards slacker sometimes, I admit it. Now get over it.
I took a chance and hosted the September Nutz at my house- a far drive for anyone in the Twins- but still I was rewarded with almost a dozen delightful oenophiles who descended on my house with wine in hand. Copious wine in hand, I might add. I decided we would do some blind tasting so there were about 10 bottles all carefully wrapped up in brown bags and we took turns sipping, sampling and dissecting flavors.
We started the evening, as usual, with sparklers. Plenty of sparklers.
I have to say though, if I could have just sat and sipped this bubbly all evening, I would have deemed the event a smashing success. This was one of the prettiest pinkest and frilliest sparklers I have met recently and the color in my glass was almost too pretty to sip. But you know me, like that stopped me?? What-Evuh! It was so crisp and light and refreshing- a smattering of yeasty goodness with a fresh fruity mouth. The perlage was absolutely gorgeous, and so active that we all had to marvel it in our raised glasses.
We had a fair amount of red and white, but it being a rather cool early Fall evening, the tendencies definitely leaned toward the red.
I probably broke the blind testing rule by offering the Greener Planet Tempranillo-Garnacha blend but I’m just not that inclined to follow convention, we know that, and besides, it’s a Southern Hemisphere offer. That’s kinda my weakness. That and it was in my forever-favorite price point of under $15.00. It was also really, really good. Tha Matzin Old Vines Zin was standard OV Zin….killer hearty red with a ton of flavor and gutsy chutzpah. A glass of that with a tiny wedge of really dark chocolate and I would be yours for the asking. Well, to an extent.
The Pinotage was a delighful surprise that everyone loved, and Gail guessed correctly that it was South African. The Merlot, although from Argentina and not a domestic, still did nothing to really raise my hair follicles. I’m not against Merlot, especially from Argentina as I have had a few really delicious bottles of it, but it’s one of those wines that is either stellar or it’s superbly disappointing. It rarely has a middle ground and this one, as I said, didn’t excite me much.
This Dolcetto, rusty red and as forward as a young Italian man, did raise the ol’ hair on the neck.
And gave me the resolve to explore more of this offering. This and Barbera are a few reds that I’ve had limited experience with but really wish to change that. Every time I have had one I have been left impressed.
One of the best choices of the night was Nicole’s homemade wine.
Nicole owns a nice chunk of land in Buffalo and last year I offered muscle and sweat to help her plant the first of several plots of grape vines for her future winery. While these fruit wines were not a result of those vines, they were delicious and flavorful, and a really nice treat to have. The apricot wine was so subtle and wonderfully flavored; we all agreed that on a hot day in July, this would be a dangerously easy wine to drink. And to make you fall down. I was very glad that Nicole joined us, not just because she brought her terrific wines, but since she’s happily expecting Baby #2, she’s not indulging so the trip was purely social for her and it’s always nice to have her around.
As per the norm, Randy supplied the bulk of the guests bringing out not only his totally hip and cool daughter Doni but two co-workers as well who are now fully initiated into all things Grape Nutz. And Chuck made an appearance, always a good thing as he is so social and engaging. Nikki arrived later in the evening but with plenty of time to sample before our curiousity forced us to unveil all the offerings.
The best part?? No one took any wine home, and yikes did I score! I had to freeze several selections for cooking use because, well as much of a wine lover as I am, I would totally turn the corner to a dribbling incoherent lush if I had to consume all that leftover wine by myself. One bottle of bubbly sits content in the fridge for a future occasion- thanks Doni!! I love Cava!- and my cooking prowess in the near future will be greatly enhanced by my chilled stash. What?!!? You’ve never heard of freezing wine?? Gads…..do this: Clean out your ice cube trays well, then pour leftover wine into them. It won’t freeze solid but it will get hard enough to then transfer into a plastic bag. Throw a few cubes or spoonfuls into whatever dish you desire. In my house, as I am the only wine drinker, it’s the best option besides opening a great bottle to splash into the pot and then attempting to consume the rest without going blind.
Onwards and upwards Nutz! The holidays are coming and our meetings may be limited. Drop me an email if you want an impromptu wine appreciation night.