Ladies Wine Exchange

Published June 4, 2012 by jenmatteson

As you might have noticed, I just posted a ton of recipes from my ladies wine exchange.  It was a wonderful evening of wine and women, and of course some great snacks!    Here’s a sneak peek at my table setting.

The flowers were a nice surprise from Nate’s mom’s garden.  Gorgeous, and they matched my spring color theme quite well.  Thanks, Marsha!!  Here’s a cute picture of Leah with my new piggy serving dish from Nate’s mother as well.  So cute!

I had some other “would have been cute” pictures of the ladies drinking wine, but unfortunately, I was afraid to change the settings on my camara (so I can use the manual setting for my food pics), and none of them turned out.  Next time.  And there will be a next time.  Let me know if you want an invitation 🙂

The wine exchange included tons of great food.  Starting with antipasti, bread and crackers, veggies with cilantro-dill vegetable dip, roasted garlic hummus, bruschetta, caramelized onion dip, Thai turkey meatballs with Asian dipping sauce, smoked salmon and dill egg salad sammies, Bethenny Frankel’s crab cakes with chipotle mayonnaise, salted caramel cheesecake bites, red velvet sandwich cookies, and place settings/favors with milk and dark chocolate toffee.  I think everyone was satisfied.  Even some hubbies came over after the tasting to get a few bites 😉

The wine exchange worked like this: Everyone brought two bottles of their favorite wine (two of the same bottles).  We blind tasted each bottle, and scored them based on our own tastes.  I think our tastes varied quite a bit, which made for trying several kinds of wine.  Whoever brought the wine that had the most total points, got to pick which wine they wanted to bring home first.  Second place got second pick, and so on and so forth.  This way, we all get to leave with a bottle of wine!  I’m not going to lie and say some of those didn’t get opened as the night carried on 😉

We started with a rose champagne blend, Gruet Brut Rose Methode Champenoise, which was recommended to me by someone at the wine shop.  I was a little skeptical, but we were going to start the party with bubbles anyway, so I figured why not make them pink since it’s a ladies party.  It was really good!  I’m not a fan of sweet wines, and this was nice and dry, with rich fruity flavors of strawberry and cherries.  Then we started the blind tasting.  Here is how each wine scored:

1. Tarima Monastrell 2009 (my wine – woot woot!!)

This was a great spicy spanish wine, with tastes similar to a Tempranillo.  Here is an expert review: ” This is the first vintage of this wine; the 2009 Tarima is 100% Monastrell sourced from 25-35 year old vines and raised in stainless steel with less stirring.  Medium crimson-colored, the nose reveals fragrant blueberries and underbrush.  Firm on the palate with plenty of savory fruit, it is meant for drinking over the next 3 years.”

Tied for #2. Alamos Malbec 2010 (brought by Leah)

Malbec is definitely one of my favorite wines, and for me, this one actually scored higher than the number one wine, but barely!  Here is a note from the winemaker: “The Alamos Malbec has dark, blackish purple color. The nose shows ripe black fruits, black pepper spice and floral notes. The mouthfeel is full yet soft and supple, with black raspberry and currant flavors mingled with notes of sweet spice and a touch of leather. The finish is long and persistent with soft, sweet tannins.”

Tied for #2. Cline Cashmere 2010 (brought by Kim)

Blends are a generally a great balance between several different grapes, with a smooth finish, and this one did not disappoint.  Cashmere is a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, and Grenache. It was a favorite of many of the ladies, as it tied with the Malbec for number two.  Here are some winemaker’s notes: “Cashmere is a very flavorful, smooth wine offering big cherry, raspberry and chocolate notes with hints of cracked black pepper and plum.”

4. Radio Boca Tempranillo 2010 (brought by Kristin)

This wine is actually one of our household favorites.  Nate picked it out as his favorite when we did a tasting for wines under $10.  Again, I love the spice of a Tempranillo, so all of the red wines were fabulous, in my opinion.  And what can be better than a great wine for under $10?  Here is a excerpt from their website: “The Tempranillo in Radio Boca grows mostly on the mountainside, on head pruned vines 25-50 years old. Altitude with attitude. The soils vary from dark miocene to chalky lime. Balmy days, brisk nights.”

5. Pavao Vinho Verde 2011 (brought by Emily)

This was a nice refreshing sparkling wine, although Vinho Verdes are not technically bubbly enough to be considered a “sparkling wine”.  I’m more of a red wine person, but I’m finding more and more whites that I enjoy.  This was certainly a good one.  It has a very nice fresh, crisp taste, without being overly sweet.  A note about Vinho Verdes: “The tell-tale sign of a vinho verde vineyard is not just its diminutive size, but its upwards orientation: the density of viticulture here is such that most farmers train their vines on high pergolas, and even telephone poles.”

6. Gainy Vineyard Riesling 2010 (brought by Elise)

Unfortunately for Elise, the majority of us were not big fans of the wine she brought.  Not being a fan of sweet wines, this one definitely wasn’t for me, but there is no right or wrong in wine tasting – whatever tastes good to you is good!  A note from the winemaker: “This 2010 Limited Selection Riesling displays wonderfully fresh aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle complemented by fresh apple, pear, nectarine and apricot. On the palate, the wine is full and lush, with mouth-watering flavors of honeyed peach, ripe apple, pineapple and nectarine tart that linger into a long mineral-and-spice finish. This wine will enhance any meal featuring fish, pork, fowl or spicy Asian. Still youthful, this wine will drink beautifully by late summer. Enjoy it over the next 1-2 years.”

We ended the tasting with a white port I picked up while I was in Sonoma last April.  I had been waiting for the perfect time to break this out!  It was White Aero Port from Anaba Wines.  Leah and I were really the only ones who enjoyed this wine, which I suppose for both of us, it was to our benefit, as everyone else wanted to share their pour.  This is unlike any port I’ve ever had, and has more of a brandy smell than sweet dessert wine (maybe that’s why I like it so much 😉 ).  Here is a note from the winemaker: “This medium-to-full bodied port-style dessert wine begins with wonderful aromas of geranium, orange blossoms, white peach and lychee fruit. A soft, silky entry on the palate expresses flavors of lemon curd, baked bread, oily nuts and tangy golden raisins.”

I had a wonderful time with some exceptional women.  I’m hoping to have this type of party more often, but we all get so busy, it’s hard to plan for.  I’m thankful for each of these ladies in my life, in different ways, and thankful they were able to indulge a bit with me for this event.

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