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


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


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


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



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


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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