Wow! Too much time has passed since I was last able to blog. November and December were full of much excitement including a very festive wine club. My Chix Who Wine group always bring the spouses along in December so it was a lively group of eighteen. That posed some challenges with this group when it came to presenting the wines. Let’s face it, when you get 18 rather extroverted people together and include wine, it will get noisy. I made very detailed booklets for everyone with all my research notes and maps. Instead of having everyone sit down to a formal tasting they mingled and I moved through the room, one wine at a time and simply introduced the wine as I poured out the tastes.
It worked really well! Each wine was enjoyed along with a wonderful selection of food brought by the group. I had a break in between wines so if anyone wanted to talk in more detail there was time for a more personal chat. By the time we got through all of the wines there was enough left, as I’d brought two bottles of each, for the party to continue revisiting their favourites or re-trying with various foods. What I thought might be overwhelming went extremely smoothly.
I wanted to do wines to pair with Christmas dinner which of course can vary from turkey to prime rib and just about everything in between. Each person had brought dishes that covered the gamut of flavours for the more traditional feasts.
We started with a Zardetto Prosecco as there’s really nothing like bubble to kick off a celebratory mood. It’s delicious, affordable, family owned and versatile when it comes to food pairings. Next up was Gosset Champagne. You can’t really have a special occasion wine tasting without serving Champagne if you ask me. My budget allowed for the entry level Brut Excellence from this oldest wine house in Champagne.
Moving on to still wines we started with Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve. This winery is known for its family history, pedigree and dry Alsatian wines. I followed this with the Zind-Humbrecht Gewürztraminer, also from Alsace with an amazing reputation for quality. The Delaporte Sancerre Rouge from a magnum was the perfect transition into reds and this Pinot Noir was showing beautifully. I always love how people go wild for magnums. If you’re having a dinner party and are planning on getting two bottles of a wine, see if it’s available in a larger format. There’s something undeniably impressive about pouring from a big bottle. The Faiveley Moulin-a-Vent was a good segueway into the big bold realm of the Austin Hope Troublemaker. I can tell you that many a man likes to consider himself just that – a Troublemaker. This red blend from Paso Robles was a hit! Of course, Christmas and Port are meant for each other. At least they were when I was growing up! I needed a good value Port and chose the Dow’s LBV Port. A colleague gifted me the Grant Burge Aged Tawny as well. What a treat!
Everything showed incredibly well and I caught myself off-guard as I commented that I should check what the biodynamic calendar had to say. As soon as the words were uttered I remembered that I’d chosen the dates for October’s tasting and December’s well ahead of time, based on the biodynamic tasting calendar. I know there are many who may guffaw at this ‘hocus pocus’. I understand that it may be too much for some to swallow but the more I test out this theory, the more I believe. Sure, it may simply be that all of the wines that I chose were solid choices. They were. The reality is that even with a smaller group, I find it rare that every wine will be a hit with the majority, or in this case – all. Anyway, in my attempt to always offer the best experiences to my wine clubs I’m going to hedge my bets and try to pick dates for optimal tasting. I’ll let you know how my theory holds up.