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Wine that goes well with this weblog

September 13th, 2003 · 5 Comments

Tonight we went to a neighborhood wine-tasting party. I confess I imbibed a bit. So if this post doesn’t make much sense, perhaps a bit of wine would help you understand this better as well….maybe a glass of Coppola 2001 Zinfandel, our favorite of the evening or Waterbrook 1999 Merlot ( I liked Bogle 2001 Zin and Maquis Phillips Merlot as well)….read below for more details….

This was the first time we were invited to this party, which is an annual contest – the invitation had “IV” in the title – and those who attend are asked to bring a type of wine to the party: “A chance to sample some of the finest wines your friends can afford, in the company of those who know little about wine.”

Our assignment was Washington State Syrah. After asking for help from my college friend Enoch and reading the list in the article he sent to me, I went shopping. It’s been a busy week and I decided to try to find a syrah at Central Market, scribbled on my list along with turkey thighs and canned tomatoes ( perhaps next time I should try a little more effort or another store…?) At the store, the selection of syrah was weak, and I chose the one that seemed best – the only one I recognized from the article, one I had highlighted. Seven Hills 2000, Columbia Valley: “A bit of barnyard on the nose with hints of tar, cherry, coffee and even mint. With little or no oak interference this great expression of the pure, straight-ahead syrah fruit is embraced by hardy tannins”.

This was our first step into the world of syrah. Neither Ted nor I liked the wine we brought. We didn’t care a lot for either of the other two syrahs either, although they seemed smoother and stronger in flavor to me: Lindeman’s 2001 (Austrailia) and Edna Valley 2001 (California). The Edna Valley one was the winner (a set of coasters with the host’s wedding pictures on them!) But, we figured afterwards, our tastes may have been influenced by the fact that we were walking around nibbling pretzels, crackers and tasting: perhaps with the right food and mood the peppery wine would have more appeal.

Other winners of the evening, by popular vote:
Zinfandel: Coppola 2001 (from another neighbor – Ted and I both liked it!)
Pinot Noir: Cedar Creek 2000
Merlot: Waterbrook 1999
Vouvray: Barton & Guestier 2002
Chardonnay: Chateau St. Michelle 1999

Ted and I had fun trying different samples. Although we were encouraged to sample and judge all the wines, drinking from 21 different bottles was quite an overwhelming task, one that neither of us could complete!

This was the first time I had ventured into alcoholic drinks in years. Almost certainly the most wine I’d ever drunk although probably only one small glass worth in total. Like taking a jump and realizing you’re actually paraschuting from a plane: probably a bit extreme for my body. The last time I can remember having wine or anything alcoholic was December 1999 – January 2000. The last night my brother was alive, my siblings, mom and I all sat around him and played Scrabble, a family reunion and celebration of sorts, as my sister had just arrived home from Germany, and we all had wine. Then a few weeks later I think I may have had a little as part of another celebration when we visited the island and thought about moving up here.

But the whole time we’ve lived here I’ve been busy with babies and avoiding alcohol….now Elisabeth is nearly weaned and I decided to try this opportunity at wine-tasting….but I found that I overdosed too easily and began to feel as if I had lost part of my cerebral cortex, the sense of a metal plate slicing through my brain. After a while, all I wanted was quiet and sleep. Now back at home, after lots of water I am feeling better.

We’d like to try another wine-tasting party. It was great to be invited to an opportunity to learn more with those “who know little” – although it seemed we (I) knew the least! Others shared their helpful opinions and insights with us. Fun too to get together with neighbors. Ted and I thought of a strategy to share samples next time. Maybe go slower too, smaller sips, and build up some tolerance with time . It would also be fun to do one with food (like steak, as Ted said) to accompany the vintages. Or maybe, as I suggested to Ted, a sake tasting….

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 enoch // Sep 14, 2003 at 3:06 pm

    So the Seven Hills was too “earthy” eh? i think they were trying for an elusive rhone french style, giving a sense of the “terroir” of a sense of the place it’s grown at.

    so, merlot and zin, eh? i’ll bet you like them both for their fruit forwardness, plummy merlot and spicy red fruited zin. i’m more of a zin fan myself. but syrah is fun as well. i’ll bet you’d like the australian style of syrah more, very fruit forward.

    so, it was a “tasting”? sounds like most were imbibing instead. i’ve been to a ton of tastings and the only way i can get through them un-muddleheaded is to spit with each spit. you get practically all of the flavor, and pleasure, without swallowing.

    food is key. crackers and pretzels are good to clean your pallate, but a hearty syrah demands MEAT, preferably a nice rack of lamb 😉 tastes oh so much better.

    i don’t understand sake. the differences between bottlings are a bit too delicate to me. i need the brash, fruity differences between varietals of grapes to enjoy.

    it’s great that you sounded like you had fun, overall. tania doesn’t drink, so i don’t have the pleasure of her company when i go taste. it’s more of something i do with the guys.

  • 2 Anita Rowland // Sep 14, 2003 at 3:23 pm

    I like wine, but alcohol makes me sneeze badly enough that I stopped years ago. The fits bugged other people, I found. good luck on your explorations!

  • 3 medmusings // Sep 16, 2003 at 12:38 am

    J C Cellars Syrah

    i was inspired by an old Brown buddy, Julie, to blog about a syrah tasting i went to tonight. 8 syrahs, all by Jeff Cohn, the winemaker at my favorite micro-winery Rosenblum cellars, where i had just been this past…

  • 4 Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts // Oct 9, 2004 at 10:41 pm

    BUI: Blogging Under the Influence

    Yes I’ve had a bit to drink tonight so perhaps I shouldn’t post much. Our neighbors hosted their annual party where each guest brings an assigned wine to share. In my description of the 2003 vintage of this event, I…

  • 5 Julie Leung: Seedlings & Sprouts // Oct 10, 2004 at 1:17 am

    Wine and weblogs, year 2

    Yes I’ve had a bit to drink tonight so perhaps I shouldn’t post much. Our neighbors hosted their annual party where each guest brings an assigned wine to share. In my description of the 2003 vintage of this event, I…