Monday, March 16, 2009

Dinner with Friends and oh, a Birthday!

Hey folks. While unfortunately this post is a bit late, I thought it was high time to recap dinner in Hackettstown, NJ. in celebration of Anthony's birthday.

A nice time was had on Saturday, March 7 in West Jersey, as the normal cast of characters met up at 'The Prickly Pear' for dinner, catching up on everyone's lives, and enjoying each other's company.

A number of wines were brought to this dinner, and I wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of the ones that really stood out:

1. 2001 Silvio Nardi Brunello Montepulciano--this was a very old world style wine, to the nose and taste. Great length, great balance. (ABV 14.0%)
2. 2006 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Petite Syrah--this had an enjoyable profile to it, fruity, but not overbearing at all. (ABV 13.5%)
3. 2008 Kimberly Crawford Sauvignon Blanc--an amazing white, very grapefruit and apricot components to this well made effort (ABV 13.0%)
4. 2007 Ridge California Sonoma County Three Valleys--this was a solid find, the hottest to the pallate, and had a nice length to it. (ABV 14.3%)

Given each of the pricepoints of the wines above (highest was around $27), the PQR (per GV) certainly warrants repeat purchases of each up the road!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Winemaking Part II

Although this took place back at the end of October. I'd thought I'd bring you up to speed on the second part of the wine making process. The first part consisted of crushing, putting in the enzymes and super food and punching it down. Then we came back two weeks later for the pressing. Below are some pictures. Wow what a messy process. When that hydrolic press goes to work, grape juice goes everywhere, including the ceililng. The next step will be tasting the wine after is has been in oak for 5 months. Really looking forward to that tasting.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Results of the February 28 Wine Tasting

Hey folks. After a lengthy holiday layover, we finally managed to put together another successful wine-tasting and dinner, had at Anthony LaVista's home. This tasting's theme was wines from Spain.

In an effort to keep things interesting for our tastings moving forward, Anthony did some recruiting to incorporate new tasters into the mix. From two prospects emerged one new attendee, Drew. In attendance otherwise were Joe Fernicola, Dawson Bloom, and me.

Available to start off the dinner were various Spanish Cheeses with a quince spread (the only type of cheese I precisely recall was Manchego, but there were about 4-5 varieties in total). They went over VERY well, with everyone devouring all but the rinds. Also available for dinner was a delicious London Broil and a huge tray of Paella Valenciana. Not faring as well on the popularity scale was blood sausage and chorizo, which had been inadvertently burned during cooking. For dessert was apple pie.

While I ordinarily post the results with ranking, score, and pricetag, I just realized that I don't have the scores, just the ranks--we can append this post with these scores (which I know we have). Also, since the pricetags of each of the wines all hovered between 11 and 20 dollars (with the exception of the Tabernero, which was $7.99), no dollar amounts are mentioned below--
In order of rank, from worst to first, here are the results:

7. Tabernero Borgona 2006 Demi-Sec (Peru)--Each tasting of ours is always known for having a curve ball in the mix. This one, brought by me, was no curve ball--it was more of a wild pitch. Aside from the extreme sweetness which would make it a better fit for a dessert wine tasting, it did not go over well with the tasters, expect for Dawson who professed some level of tolerance for it, as did I.

6. Menguante Seleccion 2004 Garnache--Having an oak and toffee aroma, this was somewhat awkward and hot. It wasn't bad, but beating out only the demi-sec isn't saying much.

5. Mas Donis Barrica Celler de Capcanes Montsant 2005--this was a rather sweet-smelling, floral effort. The dark fruit taste came though and had a decent length--more preferred by Dawson and me than the others.

4. Marquis de Olivara Tinto Crianzo 2004--the nose was a pronounced medley of red berries. Tasting presented some firm tanins, a lot of heat, but balanced in a solid manner.

3. Montecillo Rioja 2005 Grianza--This had a very sweet nose, and it's taste had components of once frozen, now thawed black/dark fruit--very smooth and had a medium length.

2. Ramirez de la Piscina Reserva 2001--this nose was an intesting mix of earth and hints of fruit. It was incredibly smooth to the taste and had a nice length to it.

1. Marquez de Riscal Reserva 2004--by a wide margin, this effort bore an oaky and very grape jolly rancher nose. The firm tanins in this heavier, jammy effort were complimented by a nice length with only a hint of heat--nice job!

I am hopeful that since my notes are a bit more abbreviated than normal, any attendees to this dinner could perhaps fill in any gaps or augment this post as appropriate.

As always, we look forward to the next tasting event!