Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cork Poppers Go Tuscan!

Our Cork Poppers group recently went Italian, sampling wines of Tuscany. After sampling the six wines our guide Dick brought, Cayton summed it up when he said, "This was the best! There wasn't a bad one in the bunch!"
We started the tasting with a Tenuta Caparzo Rosso Toscana IGT 2009.This blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Colorino grapes was a full flavored hit, ruby red and smelling divine!
A little lesson, courtesy of Dick. Italian wines have several designations, which are based on certain expectations and growing requirements -- DOC and DOCG. You'll note that this wine is an IGT. These are also called Super Tuscan wines and as Dick said, some are indeed "Super!" This classification came out because some winemakers wanted to experiment with grape varieties and blends not allowed by the DOG regulations. They tend to have significant Sangiovese grape compnent with other grapes not traditionally associated with Italy (like Merlot or the Cabernet Sauvignon).

This wine (2009 vintage) is best consumed between 2011 and 2013, so if you take my advice and pick up a bottle or two (or as Clayton said, "This is worthy of a case!") don't save it too long. And really, why would you want to at a great $10 price -- an amazing bargain.

Next, Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino 2009. This was ruby red and very fragrant. 
Rick said this was a little more aggressive than the first and a bit more peppery and spicy. He preferred this one but at $22.50, we're more likely to consider the Tenuta our go-to Italian.

The third wine was Villa Dante Toscana IGT 2004, and again a Sangiovese/Merlot combo. It should be allowed to breathe before serving.
This is another Super Tuscan and a reasonable $12.50. We nearly had a marital spat here when Roger said, "You must have a more discerning palate than I do," and wife Meredith replied with "Rog, you killed your taste buds a long time ago." (All was well in the end!)

Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico 2008 DOCG was next. "Classico" indicates it is from a limited area in the Chianti region. Rick loved this one and it has an aging potential of 5-6 years. That said, it was pricy at $18.
The Borgo Scopeta Chianti Classico 207 DOCG was $16. Rick declared it was "my new favorite" and we determined  that Rick was the "new Barb" (Barb loves everything!)
Our last wine was a Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 DOCG. I declared "This is wonderful!" while Mike said, "I'd throw away my money on this." Wonderful, yes, but I'd think twice about $20 for a wine, although the label was gorgeous!
We kept our stomachs full with Pat's delicious cheese platter during this tasting including an amazing buttermilk blue that was again a hit. 
After the tasting, Roger took us on a boat cruise along the Grand River. 
It was a gorgeous day -- we've had a mighty hot summer, like so many have. But this Sunday was the perfect temperature, the sky blue, and the company wonderful!
We returned to a terrific dinner. Meredith had a fabulous pasta, keeping with our Italian theme, and even the table was set for the occasion.
I particularly loved her centerpiece.
Her party favors were gag gifts -- literally (very old and very bad wines that she said we should dump and not even consider drinking, along with lovely hand-knit dish cloths).
Rick and I brought a salad using our basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. We called it Caprese Panzanella. And we wrapped up dinner with a birthday celebration -- Rick, Dick and I all had summer birthdays and Barb made a completely decadent and delicious cake!
Another great tasting! I really do recommend all of these wines. Try one! And let me know if you like it!


Joanne Huffman said...

It sounds and looks like a lovely time.

Marilyn Miller said...

How fun to have a group like this to enjoy wine, fellowship, and food. Sounds like a lovely day.

Jeanie said...

Even though I am a bit lost in the wine world I love your descriptions. It was fun seeing the labels and the beautiful table setting.

shoreacres said...

All reds! Your descriptions make them sound scrumptious, and make me wish I could drink them. Now and then I'll have a bit, but I have to be very careful, as even a half-glass of some will give me a raging headache.

Now, what I certainly could have is some of that dessert. Is that an Italian creme cake? It certainly looks like it! One of my favorites - no little slivers of that for me!

Introverted Art said...

Jeanie this is amazingly cool. Seriously. and the cheese is looking so yummy.

Tracy said...

Absolutely DELICIOUS!! We love the wines from Italy...*sigh*...You have such a great group with your Poppers! Lovely to catch up with you Jeanie after a brief two-week hiatus! Off to go read more here...Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

PeterParis said...

Just back from Italian holidays, I tried a few..., but I didn't take notes or photos! Of course I should have! :-)

Friko said...

We hardly ever drink Italian wines, when it's not French it's South America or Australia we go for. Australian wines are very strong here.

I really must try some Italians you recommend, particularly as we love Italian food and eat it quite frequently.

Beyond Zephyr said...

My son is a sommelier, and I have him look over your wine list, and he said "yes, good list" :-)

Beautiful photos of Grand River!

Naturegirl said...

What a fabulous evenin g!Reminds me of when Iwas in Tuscany and visited the vinyards wine tasting..good thing we were on a us tour as we boarded a bit tipsy!
The Oct. weekend sounds B.Day then.
Email me to confirm.

HerzBlatt said...

Hi Jeanie,
back from summer break.....Thank you for your lovely comments!! Just a minute ago I have read your post about Gypsy and I could cry during reading your memories.....What a loss!!!
I can imagine, that you think at her every day several times...We did the same, when our dog left us more than 2 years ago.And even today we sometimes find her hair somewhere in the house....
I think it will become much better when you have a new little sweet cat again.....I guess you will have one soon!! And I am sure Gypsy would be happy about your decision because she doesn`t want to see her mum cry every day!!
Your party looks great and makes me hungry while watching all those delious things!!
Best wishes from Germany

joyce said...

As a non-wine-liker, pass the cheese tray please!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Seriously, your group of friends is so much fun! The tables were beautiful and the meal sounds amazing! And that cake looks decadent.

I really hope my group of friends can get our act together and do something like this some day. What a fun tradition and great way to bring people together!

Bella Rum said...

Looks like so much fun. I feel like we need to get involved in something that would help us meet a few new people. I'm not into cards, but wine I love. Don't know much about it but enjoy drinking it! :)

I've been eating tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil all summer. I occasionally switch to feta instead of the mozzarella. Can NOT get enough of it. I will miss our local tomatoes so much. The season is almost over.

Anonymous said...

This is too cute. I love when people get interested in wine and food and cultures. I am currently in the process of studying to pass a sommelier test and I love that people put a fun twist on wine :)

Anonymous said...

Looks like a lot of fun. Love everything Italian.

Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by your "Wonderful" declaration with the Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva. A MUST for me soon.
Love your comments too...Rick being the new Barb. hahaha
Okay, how do we know which must be allowed to breathe and how do we determine how long they should breathe?

Thank you my new wine buddy. :)

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