Church fundraiser wine tasting hosted by Wow - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 10-28-2009 01:19 PM

A celebration of becoming a senior citizen held nine days after my birthday.
Raised $255 for the church coffers.
I decided to keep cooking to the minimum this time so steamed some mussels in garlic/butter sauce to go with dry white wines, put out bites of smoked ham to go with sparkling rose' wines, various cheeses with crackers with red wines, and a cake topped with peach slices from a German bakery (Hanseat Bakery) to go with dessert wines. Also had some white chocolate and dark chocolate covered strawberries to go with the Bugey Cerdon sparkling rose'.

Dry whites with mussels:

2007 BURGANS ALBARINO, RIAS BIAXAS, GALICIA, SPAIN 12.5% alcohol by volume; an Eric Solomon selection or cuvee/
Medium straw color. Nicely crisp on the palate. Some citrus; some apple. Lengthy finish. Nice, but possibly falling short of the Licia Albarino I had by the glass in Charlotte about two weeks ago. I gave it a B+ at the tasting but might raise that to an A- when tasted at home. Went nicely with the mussels. Usually priced at under $15.

Marc Ollivier, winemaker. Louis/Dressner Selections. Usually priced at under $15.
Reports from another forum that some of the 2007 vintage of this were heat damaged when opened and tried. This may be another victim. Pale straw color. Citric scents falling between grapefruit and lemon initially, but the next day at home coming across flat and apple-like. Lacked the expected crispness, minerality and salinity of previous Muscadets. I have one more bottle of this and a bottle of the next tier Pepiere Muscadet Briords so I hope at least the latter is up to expectations.

2007 WITHER HILLS, SAUVIGNON BLANC, MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND 13% abv Usually priced between $14-$18. From the Wairau Valley and has earned many gold medals in competitions. I don't have notes from the tasting but will open the second bottle at home and report back. Overall this was my favorite of the dry whites at the tasting (an A-) but the crowd favorite was the Albarino.

Sparkling rose' wines with ham (and Bugey Cerdon poured again with chocolate-covered strawberries)

FRANCE Methode traditionnelle (handled similarly to Champagne) 12% abv Usually about $15-$19 Light salmon color with transparency. Dry sparkling rose' with strawberry and citrus hints. Calls to mind a delicately flavored strawberry sorbet. Had a nice fine mousse when first poured into flutes. Very attractive and quite versatile for food pairing. I gave it an A.

Usually priced $16-$25. I bought this from a wine shop in Apex, NC. Semi-dry. Strawberry notes matching nicely with the chocolate strawberries. This was more popular with the crowd than the Cremant d'Alsace but on this evening I preferred the dry rose' sparkler.

Red wines with cheese (Frico smoked Gouda from Holland, Rosenberg Danish blue cheese from Denmark, white Cheddar from Vermont, Boursin with garlic and fine herbs, Boursin with chive and shallot, creamy goat cheese, and Cracker Barrel cubed Cheddar.)

2006 GARY FARRELL RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR, SONOMA COUNTY, CA 14.2% abv ($30-$42) Diluted Burgundy color--color doesn't seem saturated or solid throughout. Nearly opaque. Upon first taste I got a lifted note and the impression of red berries, not dark fruit. On the second day I thought I was picking up some fruit tea notes and some rose petal aroma. I liked it but I think not as much as the 2005 vintage. I have at least one more bottle to enjoy later on. I gave it a B at the tasting. It was nice with the Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs.

2004 JERIKO ESTATE SYRAH, SANEL VALLEY, MENDOCINO COUNTY, CA from organically grown grapes 14.3% abv $25.95 at the winery
I paid under $20 a bottle through Fayetteville Wine Society and Grapes and Hops winestore. A fruity, light Syrah. I will open a bottle at home soon and post with more detail. This wine also paired well with some of the cheeses--better than did the next wine.

Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. 14.5% abv purchased several years ago; not sure of current prices This seemed a little smoother than the 1999 vintage. Quite pleasant. I gave both this and the Jeriko Syrah a B+. One attendee with a more sophisticated palate picked this as her favorite red of the evening. She also preferred the Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc over the Burgans Albarino. The crowd favorite of the red wines was the Jeriko Syrah.

Dessert wines with German cake topped with peaches and containing almonds and cookie-like bottom crust:

2006 WEINGUT MONCHHOF ROBERT EYMAEL (winemaker) URZIG WURZGARTEN RIESLING KABINETT Mosel, Germany 10% abv $19.99 at The Wine Merchant, Raleigh
This vineyard has weathered red volcanic and slate soil. The high iron content in the soil gives the vineyard its vivid color. The vineyard is "blazing red and insanely steep" in the description on the Dr. Loosen website (Dr. Loosen Estate also produces Rieslings from the vineyard.) The wine I had was imported by Cellars International, San Marcos, CA.
I posted a note on a previous bottle which is in the Germany thread. I gave it an A at the tasting and it was both my favorite of the dessert wines and the crowd favorite.
It does seem off-dry for a Kabinett so that is why I placed it with the dessert wines.

11.5% abv 85% Moscat de Alejandria, 15% Gewurztraminer $16.80 at Grapes and Hops.
This did not show well. I think it is best drunk quite young and a 2007 or 2008 (if it is available on the market) would have been better. I was initially impressed by this wine at a tasting and it was a crowd pleaser at a party over a year ago but is probably past its prime. It IS aromatic with the blend of a Muscat grape and Gewurztraminer.

2007 SANTA JULIA TARDIO LATE HARVEST TORRONTES, MENDOZA, ARGENTINA Familia (Family) Zuccardi. Imported by Winesellers, Ltd., Skokie, IL (Purchased at the wineshop at Elliott's on Linden in Pinehurst, NC)
I liked this better at a previous tasting and gave it a B this evening. I have some left in the refrigerator to try this evening. The crowd mostly found this too sweet for their tastes but two attendees picked this over the Riesling as their favorite of the dessert wines.

Cheeses that received compliments: the smoked Gouda, the creamy goat cheese (one lady said she learned that she likes goat cheese), the white Cheddar and the Boursin garlic and fine herbs (preferred over the Boursin with chive and shallot).

A fun evening of socializing and learning about wines.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 10-28-2009).]

- hotwine - 10-28-2009 01:48 PM

Such detailed notes while executing hostess duties flawlessly! Most impressive!

- wondersofwine - 10-28-2009 01:51 PM

My guilty secret--I took scarcely any notes that evening but one of the men recorked the leftover wine and I took it home and have been drinking the remainder and taking notes. Still have a bit of the Riesling and Torrontes Late Harvest in the refrigerator and have a full bottle of most of the wines to try again at a later date.

- hotwine - 10-28-2009 02:24 PM

No need to share your secret..... we're still impressed!

- winoweenie - 10-28-2009 07:25 PM

That's our very own WOW. A lady that can turn a sows-ear into a silky Cabernet. XX&OOs' WW

- dananne - 10-28-2009 10:54 PM

Well done, Jane, and sounds like a wonderful evening. I trust everyone was both happy and impressed, and it's likely a nice perk that you got to take home leftovers! That Albarino is a nice summer wine. We've found it best when as young as possible (an '05 consumed last year had deteriorated, but every young one we've had we've enjoyed). I may have to put that late harvest Torrontes on my list to try. Thanks for the notes!

- wondersofwine - 10-29-2009 04:50 PM

Thanks for your comments. I think the attendees did have fun and felt they got their money's worth--even those that only liked a few of the wines. Our Episcopal priest is one of those who look forward to this event. (I haven't done it annually but this is maybe the third time I've done it in five years.)
We also do a communal Thanksgiving dinner in the parish hall for those who are single or "empty nesters" etc. and don't want to cook the complete meal for one or two. We usually have at least two turkeys (sometimes in a fryer or smoker) and everyone contributes a dish (I usually do potatoes and/or a dessert but one year did a broccoli casserole.) I also have been bringing at least a couple wines--perhaps a Gewurztraminer and a Beaujolais Cru or red Burgundy. Haven't decided what wines I will take this year.