Friday, May 1, 2009

An explosion of blackberries and cranberry zing


We hosted a lovely wine tasting party at our home last month, and I wanted to share my menu and pairings with you!

Let me preface this post by telling you a bit about my (limited) wine knowledge, and the type of crowd that we were catering to.

Me, I'm a wine lover. What can I say? I grew up Catholic. Catholics like wine.

I am also a former bartender (in one of my many past lives) - and I learned a LOT about wine during that fun-filled time. That said, I am by no means a wine expert - nor am I much of a wine snob. I like good wine, and I like good deals. So the wines that I chose for our tasting ranged from $8 per bottle to $20 per bottle. I also tried to select some "classic" reds so that my friends could figure out what a "real cab" and a "real syrah" taste like.

Which leads me to my friends. My wonderful friends, who range in wine-experience from the Arbor-Mist-fans to the small-Italian-label-red-winos. In between, we had some inexperienced wine drinkers, like my hubby, and guests who would mainly stick to white wine but wanted to learn more about reds. So you can see, we had a full spectrum of palettes to try and please. Part of the point of the party was to get our Arbor Mist friends away from the juice and into some *real* wines.

And it was also to extend the rest of our vino repertoires into uncharted territories and varietals that we had not tried in a while. Myself, I get into a chianti-and-zinfandel-rut sometimes, and it was great to get out of my comfort zone and enjoy some other reds!

I was lucky to have the advice of some Whole Foods and Trader Joe's employees to guide my wine selections, and I also received some help from other foodie friends.

Without further ado, here is a report on the result!



Cheese Course:
Extra sharp white Canadian cheddar,
topped with raspberry jam and toasted pecans

Sliced hard salami

St. Andre Brie with water crackers

Sombrero Rioja - bright and fruity, even our red-wino-phobes loved this red

Toad's Hollow Rose - refreshing and totally dry, the opposite of a white zin, this rose was awesome, perfect for a spring afternoon or a summer picnic

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Da Vinci Chianti Classico - everything a chianti should be, in my humble opinion; ripe and robus, easy to drink!

Praxis Syrah -a beautiful Syrah although a bit dry for some of our guests' taste

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La Crema Pinot Noir - this was the #1 favorite for those who knew their red wine, light and delicate - super smooooooth

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Dynamite Merlot - a great classic merlot for easy drinking - our inexperienced red winers really enjoyed this one

Avalon Cabernet Sauvignon - this was a very bold, somewhat dry red that appealed to the seasoned red wine lovers, but not so much to the Arbor Mist addicts

Menage a Trois Red - we loved this red blend, not just for the funny name, but for its gorgeous fruity flavors and depth

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Dessert

Chocolate Ganache Cake

Dark chocolate truffles

Milk chocolate toffee truffles

Rosenblum Vineyards Zinfandel - this was one of my favorite wines of the night, but then again I am a fan of a nice, bold Zin - it paired up perfectly with dark chocolate!

La Ferme Julien Rose - a fun bargain Trader Joe's wine that paired nicely with dessert, for those who had gotten as far into the deep reds as they could handle

3 comments:

Joelen said...

Fantastic post! I'll have to share this with fellow wine lovers of mine. What a great menu and pairing!

Ashley said...

Next time you have one of these parties, can I be invited? :)

Sounds delicious and so fun!

Katie said...

OH!MY!GOSH!! I would have killed to come to this party! Sounds like a fabulous time!

 

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