Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cork Poppers Celebrate! (And a recipe!)

It's holiday time with the Cork Poppers!

'Tis the season to celebrate, but with our Cork Poppers wine group, we really don't need an excuse! (And when Roger comes, it's an entrance! Even the hat "sang" and lit up!)

Really, this hat was a hoot! Here it is up close with Roger and Meredith!

It was a cold but lovely December day when we gathered recently to kick off the holidays and pop the corks on 11 bottles of wine. It's fun to get some new ideas for Christmas dinner wine, or a good bottle to give as a gift.

This time, we gave our wine guide, Dick, the evening off and we brought the wines! (He did pick a goodie, though!) Uncorking became a big deal -- there were lots of wines to open!

Join us for a bit of tasting!

Notes are a little sketchy here, but let me say we enjoyed all of these. And most are very good deals, and most were under $15 or so.

The Whites:

Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2008 -- This was delicious, very crisp and "grapefruity."

At $24, it was the priciest wine of the day, but really very good. It was one of the first fine wines to be bottled with a screwcap (Stelvin) in commercial quantities. Fine wines. Not Boones Farm.

Dog Gone Wine

I don't remember how much this was but a portion of the cost is donated to animal shelter causes. It was much sweeter than the Whitehaven.

The Reds:

DaVinci Chianti 2007 -- $12-16 (but on sale of $10 at our store).

It's a Sangiovese blend and delicious. Wine Enthusiast gave it 90 points. The wine enthusiasts in our group gave it even more! I think Barb brought this one.

And, it won the "best graphics on the label" award from me!

Chateau Larose-Trintaudon Haut-Medoc 2004 (From Medoc, Bordeaux, France -- 65% Cabernet Sauvigon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.) Dick said this one (and any from this vintner) hit a home run.

It was sophisticated, deep red, and would be excellent with beef. It's about $15.35.

Wildhurst Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Lake County, CA.

This was delicious, too, and very rich -- nice for red fans. It retails at $17/bottle.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais Village 2007 (French) -- This uses the Gamay grape and from is Burgundy. Rick picked this one -- we had a history with it! With modest tanins and good acidity, this is one we enjoyed before the tasting (we first had it in Las Vegas at a whopping $40/bottle at a very fancy restaurant, so the memories were good!) and several times at home before we brought it to the party! Having said that, we learned our lesson on mark-up. It retails at $10.99 -- a good value. Here's Clayton modeling the bottle!

Pinot Noir

Caneros Creek Reserve Pinot Noir 2006.

Delicious and full. But I don't have the price on this one.

Morande Reserva 2007 -- At about $8 per bottle (on sale, so probably closer to $11), it's from Chile (or maybe Spain).
Bright cheery-red, it's rather fruity but not overly sweet. Good for slmon, bass, pasta.

Beaulieu Vineyard (BV) Coastal Estates Languedoc 200? is $10.99.

This is from the Bordeaux region in France, and that's excellent wine country! They use stainless steel tanks with approximately 30 percent toasted French oak. I don't know what this means, but it was good.


Steele Zinfandel 2006.

I don't remember the price of this California zinfandel. But it was very tasty!

Dessert Wines

Tosti Prosecco -- I believe this was in the $15 or so bracket.

We had this with our dessert and it was delicious -- sparkly and effervescent. Served with cranberries floating in our glass and with a splash of cranberry juice, it's about $15.

We always have the obligatory ribbing and jokes about the wine -- and Rick is often an instigator!

After our tasting, we swapped wine-related gifts (and every single one was good!) Here's Roger with Pat!

And of course we had the photo shoots --

Barb and I are in front; Anne, Cheryl, Pat and Merdith are behind. The guys had a good pic, too, but Dick doesn't like his face to be on the blog, so we'll have to pass there.

But I thought this one was kind of cute!

Then, as always, we enjoyed a fabulous meal -- stuffed pork, au gratin potatoes, salad to die for and my raspberry trifle. Here's Anne with her salad!

Of course, the table was beautiful!

And of course, we sat around the table and talked! (Mike is making a point!)

Barb always does the best centerpieces! Here she used holiday colors and wine corks -- and we were lucky enough to take them home!

My Favorite Holiday Raspberry Trifle

This is a great, easy, fast, make-ahead holiday recipe, which I'm delighted to share. You can lighten it with sugar free or low-fat for the cake, pudding and whipped topping.)

1 angel food cake (regular or sugar free, from the store)
2 cans Thank You Brand vanilla pudding or 1-2 large prepared pkgs. vanilla pudding (reg/s-f)
3 bags frozen raspberries
1-2 Cool Whip (extra creamy recommended, but you could do it with lower-fat)

In (preferably) a glass dish (large -- you could use a glass mixing bowl; I love my trifle dish!)
layer chunks of angel food cake, raspberries (somewhat drained but I use a couple tblsp. of juice over it), pudding and cream. Repeat twice.

Garnish with raspberries (fresh) and/or shaved chocolate.

Refrigerate 8 hours or longer. Serve cool.

(Thanks, Jan -- this one is always a hit!)


donna said...

I rarely drink wine but enjoyed reading every word of this post. Roger's shirt with the snowmen on it has me wondering what's written below the snowmen. Inquiring minds want to know this stuff:) Also very much enjoyed seeing your friends, the table setting and the food. If I move there and start drinking wine, may I join in????? We were in San Diego last weekend and I had one glass of wine that was $18.00 so I suppose that's really the cost for the entire bottle.

beth said...

the desserts I make in my trifle bowl never look that good...maybe I need to drink lots of wine first :)

Annie said...

omigosh, jeanne. i'm swooning from all the good cheer. what a fabulous, fun, and friend-filled post. rick's looking good.

the de vinci label was cool but that pug label would have had my vote and i'm not even a fan of pugs!!

Anya said...

So many lovely shots
thanks for sharing :-)
I see you had FUN FUN FUN !!

BONNIE K said...

Your dessert is just beautiful!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Your Corkers look like so much fun and very festive and delicious looking too. We've tried the Da Vinci wine I thought I'd peel the label ... not too successful I'm afraid, wish they still used the old fashioned glue!!!

Wonderful tea and biscuits and your sunshine collection is so me! Even tho I can be a nightowl, I adore the sun!

Ho Ho Ho great holiday spirit going on here!

ols1 said...

My favourite wine is Pinot Noir and I love trifle - it looks divine - I will definitely be giving that one a go.

Joanne Huffman said...

It looks like a great time was had by all. I do have to mention that although it wasn't elegant, my very favorite label graphic was the pug wine.

joyce said...

Methinks I may have to try out that recepie...maybe for my christmas dinner. I love your trifle bowl!

Rosa said...

I like the dog wine!!! Too cute!! How festive. Ho ho ho! And the recipe!!! YUM!!!! xo

Ruth said...

This group looks like it has a good time even without the wine. Tell Barb I love her shawl and how she's wearing it.

Oh, I used to make a Christmas trifle! I forgot about that. That looks yum.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

hi there, Morande is a chilean winery that I had the opportunity to tour once -their wine is spectacular! and they host a wine tasting pairing that is out of this world... my favorite wines are reds (mostly pinot noir, Carmenere, Malbec,Cabernets, in that order), but I am very fond to full-bodied chardonnays as well. Carneros is also a region we love (excellent sparklings and whites), as well as Russian River valley. Keep up the good work and bottoms up!!

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