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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cork Poppers Sample Rhone Wines

Take one perfect spring day, add a group of good friends, a selection of delicious wines from the Rhone region of France and top it off with a remarkable dinner. You have the makings of the Cork Poppers' most recent tasting!


Although a few of our members were absent, we still managed to have a grand time tasting mostly reds from the Rhone valley in southeastern France. Many of these blends include the syrah grape, which already makes them a favorite for me!

Although the region was cultivated for wine in Roman times, things took off when the Popes (Cork Pope-ers?!) moved to Avignon in the 13th century. Now there are thousands of growing properties and wineries in the area, some producing small batches, others creating the quantities sufficient for export.


We started our tasting with the solo white -- La Vielle Ferme Blanc 2014. It reminded me of a chardonnay (not my favorite of the whites) and is a grape blend of four that does not include the popular syrah. The literature on Dick's handout said it was "quaffable"which started a fun discussion on the quaffability of wine, none of which was relevant but good for grins! While most agreed it was pleasant, it didn't seem to be anyone's favorite, although the price of $7.99 is always a plus!


Barb was next with E. Guigal 2011 Cotes du Rhone. This is Guigal's "entry level" wine and one of their least expensive. Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 points. We gave it high marks too, for its peppery richness. I called it "outrageous" and when the bottle was passed around after our first sips, pretty much everyone added to their glass. Retails at $15 but Barb got this one on sale for $12 -- an excellent price-to-satisfaction rating!


(Interesting fact -- the guys who own this winery make every barrel they use and are the only winery in the Rhone Valley with their own cooperage.)


Anne was next with Georges du Boeuf Beaujolais Village 2014. This wine is designed to be served slightly cool and should be served within one to two years, so we were on the end of this one. It was peppery and had a nice flavor but to me it felt a little thin, more like a burgundy or pinot noir. Retail is $15.49 but Anne found it on sale for $9.99. I'm not sure I'd pay that for it, though it was fine. It's just that some would appeal to me more.


Rick was next with Y/M Cotes du Rhone 2013. Yannick and Capoutier were a combo team of chef and winemaker who teamed up for this one. Roger called it "more mineral-y" while Rick said, Ït will grab your tongue and pull it out of your mouth!" This is a boutique wine, one you're not likely to find in a grocery store. We found it in a small wine shop while we were in Massachusetts in March and I wish we'd bought more than one bottle. It had a fabulous finish and good legs on the glass. The price? $18.99.


Roger offered us Delas Freres Saint Esprit 2014 Cotes du Rhone. This also had a nice finish and a bit more syrah than grenache. We all determined it was not for pizza but would be delicious with roasted root veggies or a stew. The fragrance was terrific. And, at $11.95 a nice wine to add to the selection.


Pat's selection was Les Cotes du Rhone 2014. "That's lovely," Barb said, while Dick said it would be his go-to for "peanut butter and jelly with a slab of American cheese in the middle." Really, Dick? Dick had brought the first white and like this one, that, too, was $7.99. He said, "This is so much better than the white I had for that price." I agree.


(A cooking note: I've noticed in various cookbooks, including Julia and Ina, that when adding wine to a recipe, Cotes du Rhone is often mentioned as an option. At $7.99, this would be one good enough to drink and one tasty enough for your dish.)


Jan was next with Cuvee des Messes Basses, Ventoux 2013. Ï love this wine! It's very good," Dick said, adding it would be good with barbecue. I found the taste and fragrance delightful -- like being in a garden. A nice red blend, it had a very reasonable $9.99 price tag and I'd certainly have it again!


We ended with another from Dick, Chateau Pegau 2012 Cuvee Maclura Cotes du Rhone Rouge. One sniff and I declared "This smells like heaven." Anne declared it had a "really nice taste" and another comment was that the tannins were more "in you face." Wonderful berries and spice and oh! It had a great finish. It was a perfect combination of Grenache and Syrah with a couple of other grape varieties thrown in for good measure. And it measured up very well indeed!



Interesting point on this one -- the grapes aren't destemmed when the wine is pressed. That's what adds to the tannins and makes the wine drier. It would be excellent with red meat or hearty fare, and at $15.50, not too over-the-top price-wise.


All Cork Popper tastings lead to a long, leisurely dinner. Pat was our hostess and her table set the stage for a spring feast!


Even her party favor/place cards echoed spring with a packet of seeds, a pinwheel and flowers in a wee bucket. (I got larkspur!)


As for the dinner, there was delicious lasagna, a huge, fabulous salad and a wonderful broccoli casserole.



Rick brought the Italian bread he made that morning which he displayed to the group a little earlier in the day.


All was topped off by Jan's delicious brownie/cake. And when we left, we were all so stuffed, all we could hope for was a good nap!


For more Cork Popper wine tasting notes, check the tab on the menu bar here. This post is linked to Talk of the Town and Thoughts of Home on Thursday . Check out both these sites for tons of fun links!

27 comments:

Lynne said...

Always an enjoyable read . . .
My oh my you are all knowledgeable . . .
Bread, lasagna, casserole and salad look like mega yum . . .
(That salad looks over the top and my first choice!)
I know nothing about wine other than enjoying a dry white rather than any sweet . . .
Friends and Grins makes for Good Times . . .

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Although I read every word and looked at all the wines, I know absolutely NOTHING about wine. I'm not one who drinks wine, so I am always pleasantly impressed with your group who seems to know and enjoy learning about various wines from various regions of the world.

Your meal looks wonderful and the table settings so spring-like. In all, a beautiful post, even though I know nothing about wine.

My name is Erika. said...

Wow- this event looks like so much fun. The food looks yummy and the wine and company even better :)

gigihawaii said...

What a lovely blog post. I loved looking at all the photos. That buffet looked sumptuous.

Sandra Cox said...

Oh my gosh, what fun! And everything looked so creative, lovely and tasty.

Deb said...

I love your friend's party favors. So cute.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

CHEERS, à votre santé!!!!!

Laura Robertson said...

The wine and the food look fantastic! That bread looks almost cartoon perfect!

Joanne Huffman said...

Good friends, great meals, an abundance of wine...of course you have great times.

Marilyn Miller said...

What a pretty table. The red of the wine just makes me want to like it. The food all sounds just delicious. Now I am hungry for a delicious lasagna and salad and of course with that bread.

Red Rose Alley said...

Ooooo lasagna, one of my favorite dishes. This looks so Yummy. And that wine looks tasty. Isn't Julia and Ina delightful chefs? I'm looking forward to reading more of your wonderful posts. They are interesting and filled with beauty.

Thanks for following us, and I am now following as well.

~Sheri

Sandra Cox said...

So many wines. So little time.
:)

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Looks like you all had such a fun time. Thanks for sharing your good food, good wine, and good friends with Talk of the Town.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Your soirees always look like great fun! Seems like you can't go wrong with a Rhone! I like the Georges Duboeuf for all the reasons you don't. Golly I love cafe life, but never have the jolly get togethers that you have. Yum!

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

This is such a fun group Jeanie and I always enjoy the Cork Popper posts.
I make notes and look for the wines here - your prices are much cheaper than here.
I suppose transporting to NZ is more expensive and our population is small too - price relates to volume I guess.

Those labels are beautiful and little works of art in their own right.

Shane

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

We are planning our Mother's Day celebration and we will have at our home where all the kids can get together and the little ones can play. I am just thinking that this post is such a great resource for the wine that we will serve that afternoon.
I love your gatherings, Jeanie!
Thanks for sharing this with us today at Thoughts of Home on Thursday!
Jemma

Shelia said...

How fun! The bottles are so pretty. I don't drink but if I did, I know I'd love the one with the Rooster on the label! ;) Your friends table looks so pretty and I think I have her dishes - Butterfly Meadows. Wow! The bread Rick baked is gorgeous! I can just imagine how good it must taste! Thanks for popping in to see me.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Stacey said...

Fun, fun, fun! The food looks wonderful and it's so good to get together regularly with friends. Having the common love of wine sure does bring a lot of people together. I'm a little like Shelia and would have my Diet Coke while appreciating the pretty bottles but I get it. :)

Happy Thoughts of Home. ;)

Cheryl said...

Boy... you always have such great experiences :-)The closest I've come to wine tasting lately is Nyquil lol
big hugs :-)
Cheryl

Wandering Wren said...

Wow, you Cork Poppers know how to have a good evening - you really would have fun at all our Aussie Vineyards! I love the way so many of you seem to be able to hunt out a bargain price for the bottles chosen. The food looks gorgeous and with the table decorated so beautifully and the cute party favours no wonder you are all such good friends!
Good luck for the giveaway I'm racking my brain where I found the eco bird feeder - somewhere in my wanderings!
Wren x

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I should've been there! How fun! I'll be looking for some of those wines -- I've always favored rhones.

Laura said...

How much fun!i don't know enough about wine and now I have a resource-YOU!
The food looks delicious!

Happy TOHOT!

Sandra Cox said...

Every time I see this I get hungry:)
Happy Thursday.

Tracy said...

Oooo... so many good wines! Nothing like a lovely Cotes du Rhone! ;) We often buy that same E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone--it is sooo good, and pairs nicely with much in the ways of eats. And such YUM eats you & the Poppers had--that salad!! And the bread... *swoon*... LOL! There posts make me sooo hungry! And I already had lunch... LOL! Thanks, Jeanie ((HUGS))

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yum, that food looks delicious - and how perfect for an evening with lots of red wine! I always love hearing about the wines you try, and the little tidbits of info like the wine maker that doesn't take the grapes off the vine. So interesting! And the Cork Pope-er was a good pun! :)

Btw, your mention of Rick's bread reminded me to tell you to watch the 3rd episode of Cooked on Netflix (if you have access to netflix). It's a 4-series show based on Michael Pollan's book and the 3rd one is all about bread! I bet Rick would find it interesting!

Lisbeth Ekelof said...

Looks yummie! All of it, thr wines the food. I love Cotes-du-Rhone wines, and all wines from Guigal. One of my favourite producers. Although Belgium is close to France it is difficult to find Guigal wines here. It happens occasionally. But there are enough of the Cotes-du-Rhone here!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Yes please to all of it! I am a bit late to the TOHOT party this week due to my college semester finals but I'm so glad that I didn't miss this. Have a wonderful week.

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