Cheryl is our one Cork Popper who leaves each tasting having only tasted one or two or -- on a good night for her -- three of our wines in any given tasting. She and her husband Dick may have started our group but when one only drinks white wine, they are at a distinct disadvantage in our group of red-loving sippers.
So, when it was our turn to host on what we hoped would be a lovely early summer day, we muddled through themes and came up with "What Would Cheryl Drink?" The mission was for guests to bring a white or rose, perfect for summer sipping.
The weather indeed held out for a glorious afternoon of tasting something new. And the results disappointed no one -- but Cheryl, in particular, offered more than a few "Thumbs UP!"
We started with Dick's offering from the Marlborough area of New Zealand. Drylands Marlborough 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was an immediate hit. It was served chilled and was very crisp. It might have been my personal favorite of the day, apart from a $16 price tag. As Barb said, "If this was all we had today, I'd be happy."
This wine had a strong grapefruit note and was a tad spicy and acidic but in a good way. According to the description, it had hints of tropical fruit, melon and fresh herbs but I noticed the grapefruit more than anything else. I could envision sitting on the beach at sunset on a warm, humid evening and cooling off with a refreshing glass of this!
Anne and Clayton were up next with Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2012 Chardonnay. Bottled in Washington, the color was more golden than the first and it was creamy and buttery but not oakey. I don't remember which of our gang said "I could kill myself on a summer day with that!"
Roger summed it up with "I'd drink this with food and the first just to drink and enjoy." Rick described this one as "friends" and the first as "blue sky." At $12.99, it was certainly a good buy and pretty tasty too!
Barb and Mike weighed in next with Black Star Farms "Arcturus Pinot Gris 2013." The food-friendly Pinot Gris wines are often tasty and fairly light, fine for simply sipping. It had a hint of effervescence -- not quite sparkling, but not far from it.
This was a wine from Northern Michigan on the Mission Peninsula. I have to say that I am not generally fond of Michigan wines of any kind (especially the reds) but this wasn't too bad for me. It was a bit peppery, though I could have done without the fizz. Since the point of the day was "What would Cheryl drink?" it is worthwhile to consider her verdict of this $13.99 wine: "I love it!"
Roger and Meredith offered another wine from the Marlborough, New Zealand region, Kim Craford Sauvignon Blanc 2014. It was advised to decant the wine to get rid of some of the minerality. this wine is prepared with stainless steel or enamel lined tanks. It wasn't bad at all. Cost $14.99.
Pat shared a Fetzer Gerwerztraminer 2013 from Monterey County, California. It was sweeter than any of the others we tasted. Dick called it "lovely" and loved the sweet smell. I said "They should make perfume like this!" I would find it better after dinner, closer to a dessert wine, than with dinner. Or, as Dick said, "It is a dessert to me -- after a meal or instead of a meal." It was $11.99.
Rick and I provided the only rose of the day -- Susana Balbo Crios Rose of Malbec 2014. Bottled in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina from 100 percent Malbec grapes, it had the loveliest color of all and was a bit fruity.
But to be honest (and I say this because I picked it), it didn't do much
for me. It was OK. Not fabulous. Not terrible. OK. And at $11.99, I
expect more than OK. While it might be very nice with certain foods
(light pastas, chicken, fish) it didn't have the sparkle for me (and by
this I mean the joy of it, not sparkle as in sparkling wine) that the
Dick brought a second wine -- a Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. We ended the day with this and determined it was very tasty, but by then we were starting to get ready for dinner! Time flies!
We were lucky in that it was a perfect day -- not too hot or cool, sunny but not beating down on us, little if any humidity.Since we were outside, a BBQ was the theme. Rick made a Louisiana barbecue chicken, in which he marinated the chicken in a mixture of Louisiana-brand hot sauce, lemon juice and lots of other stuff before putting it on the grill and basting it regularly. It was moist and delicious, flavorful but not too spicy.
To accompany the dinner we had Meredith's fabulous corn bread.
And Barb served up a beautiful Cobb salad.
And despite the fact that Pat, Dick and Cheryl had brought an amazing cheese and cracker plate, supplemented by Rick's baguettes, once we said "Dinner's On!" nobody went hungry!
I went for simple on the table decorations and party favor/place cards. A simple geranium potted in a small tin bucket served as centerpiece. We had two tables, one with Fiesta china, the other a Dansk blue and white pattern.
For place cards I potted purple verbena plants in peat pots and added a ribbon and garden marker with a photo of the person who would sit there. The plants went home with the guests to remind them of the day.
Of course, no party ends without a spectacular dessert and Anne's Texas sheet cake with a wonderful chocolate frosting packed with pecans had us all swooning.
As the last of our guests drove off, we actually enjoyed the clean-up, talking favorite tastes and good times. And as for the answer to "What Would Cheryl Drink?" the answer was "All of them!"
And yes, this red wine lover will be drinking some whites this summer, too. And enjoying them!
NOTE: This post, along with other Cork Popper wine tasting posts, will be included in the link on the menu bar at the top of Marmelade Gpysy. If you want recommendations of our favorites, check out the page. Remember, we are not trained oenophiles. We just like what we like -- and suggest that this is really the thing that matters most!
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