Well, I finally did it! I hosted my very first wine exchange a couple of weeks ago. It was not orchestrated as “formally” as I would’ve liked (yes, I am pretty neurotic about things going according to plan), but because everyone had a great time, I consider it a big success! Here is how it worked…
Each person brought two bottles of the same wine. One bottle was put aside for the exchange and the other was opened for tasting. I even found these really cute wine glass tags to help distinguish our glasses.
We ate a few snacks before we got started. I kept it simple with cheese and crackers, a variety of nuts, olives, some veggies, dark chocolates and cocoa dusted truffles.We began with white wines (sweet then dry) and moved on to the reds, which included quite a few blends. No one brought any dessert wines or sparkling varieties. I provided index cards for people to take notes but that kind of fell to the wayside as we started down the line of about eight different wines.
After the tastings, we moved on to the exchange. We drew names to pick the order and we allowed one steal. I ended up with 3 Girls Cabernet Sauvignon, which I really enjoyed.
Some of my other favorites were: Clean Slate 2011 Riesling, Cary Chen Riesling from Elk Creek Vineyards and Pro-mis-Q-ous, a California red table wine.
I think it would be fun to try this again but perhaps create a theme around it (like Summer Wines). Or maybe dictate the variety of wine people bring. It’s not such a bad deal…I ended up with the leftover wine. Oh, and we had a massage therapist friend scheduled to give shoulder massages but she fell ill. So I would incoporate that next time.
I tried the 2010 vintage of Jacob’s Creek Cab Merlot back in the fall at a party, but had forgotten about it until I found the photo on my phone. I decided to pick some up again as I remember liking it. And I was spot on. It is a delicious red blend.
I’ve written about Jacob’s Creek before – this post last spring about the Southeastern Australia winemaker’s Reserve wines.
The Cab Merlot is a Jacob’s Creek Classic wine (as opposed to Reserve). The Classic wines are touted as great everyday wines. And this full-bodied wine is very approachable.
The 2010 blend consists of 53% Cabernet and 47% Merlot. Lots of dark berry fruit flavors and smooth. There is a hint of mint with spice characteristics and a delicate toasted oak.
I am beginning to gravitate toward a lot of red blends these days. Any I should try? I am open to suggestions.
We recently had family in town – my husband’s brother and his family. Neil is a wine aficionado like me, and was thoughtful enough to bring some of his favorite wine to share.
Ghost Pines 2010 Merlot ($15-$17) is big and bold with dense flavors of black cherry, ripe mixed berries and hints of chocolate and toffee. This is a fat and juicy wine, not too tannic.
It’s smoother than most Merlots that I’ve tried – and I don’t drink Merlot very often – with a fairly long finish. It had a little bit of a sour aftertaste for me, but not enough to ruin the experience.
This winemaker’s blend features grapes from the winegrowing areas of Sonoma and Napa Counties, aged in French and American Oak.
If I were to buy a Merlot to keep in my wine reserve, this one would be at the top of my list. Thanks, Neil, for introducing me to to this wine.
Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 is a very tasty full-bodied wine.
You can really taste the dark jammy fruits in this wine. It is a bold one in flavor but easy to drink with soft tannins. Somewhat oaky with a little spice, touch of chocolate and a long, smooth finish.
At less than $15, this is a great one to have on hand this winter. I enjoyed mine in front of the fire. So much so that my husband did not have any.
Definitely a Pink Happy Face. Cheers!
Hello, wine lovers. Happy New Year to all! I took more time off over the holidays than I have in years past, and I admit it’s a little hard getting back in the swing. But I’m getting there.
I don’t have a wine review today. To be honest, I was a bit underwhlemed by some of the wines I tasted over the last couple weeks. Nothing really excited me. But I’m confident something will very soon.
Also, while I don’t believe in making true New Year’s resolutions, I am among the many that vow every year to be more healthy when it comes to eating (and drinking). That doesn’t mean I am abandoning wine! That will never happen. But I will likely be more selective in what I choose to drink. Just wanted to throw that out there.
So as we kick off a new year, I am asking for your help on a few things:
1. Tell me what you’d like to hear more of this year – wine reviews, news about tasting events, best places around town to have a glass of wine, etc.
2. Tell me what wines I absolutely must try. I want to know your favorites.
3. I am planning a wine exchange with some friends in March. Have you ever hosted or attended one? Have any good tips for me?
Thanks for reading… and sharing.
Here’s to a fabulous 2013. Cheers!
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