Monday, February 18, 2013

Carpe Vino! Cork Poppers Tackle Chardonnays & Cabernets!

I'm getting caught up with posts that should have been done long ago. Our last Cork Poppers gathering focused on Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. All the wines in this tasting were $10-$20 at our local grocery.
(Excuse the fuzziness of these photos. Even without too much wine, I was fuzzy with my camera, and the speed settings were off! Honestly, it wasn't the wine!)

Wine guide Dick explained that chardonnay is considered a full bodied white wine, fruity and buttery.

We started off with three whites. The first was Bogle Vinyards 2011 Chardonnay (California). It was spicy and very crisp but with lots of great fruity tones. It was my favorite and at $10 a very good wine for the price.
Next up was Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Columbia Valley 2010 Chardonnay (Washington). This was aged eight months in oak barrells (the other was half-aged nine months). 
It did have a nice finish and was on the buttery-silky side. But I didn't like it as well as the first. (However, a LOT of people in our group of 11 did. A preference thing -- yours, too!) At $10, those who liked it were very happy with the price!

The third white was Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Chardonnay. This was $14 and frankly, I didn't like it nearly as well as the first, either. It had that creamy finish and maybe I just don't like that finish. (Sincere apologies for this photo, but it gives you an idea of the bottle)
(Interesting to me: I generally don't like oakey wines, but this was aged in stainless steel which I generally prefer, but still didn't like so well. Better than number two, though!)

We switched to reds with Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Dick explained that both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are considered medium red wines (Pinot Noir light red and Syrah/Shiraz full bodied red). 
Maybe my taste buds were off. On my notes I wrote "Clayton said 'great for after work'" and I noted "tasted sour to me; is it my meds?" This one was $10 and many folks did indeed like it.

Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) was next. It had the most alcohol -- 14.5% (the others 13.5) and should have been considered a fortified wine. (I didn't get a photo of this bottle)

Rick said "It makes you pay attention" and Roger said he would like it with a steak or a hot dog
(Cheryl said that talking to Rick is like talking to a Pomeranian, her breed of choice -- but a tad high strung, I think. So was Rick.)

Next was Chauteau Ste. Michelle 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington's Columbia Valley. I liked this one very much. Others noticed a nice complexity, while Clayton said it would be a great wine to read the paper with.
Of all the reds we had, I said I liked this best and Pat agreed. At $14 it's a little high, but doable.

Finally we enjoyed Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Bodega Catena Zapata, Mendoza Argentina. We all agreed that it was nice but fell a little short, but may have been over chilled (the wines were outdoors and we are in Michigan winter, after all). 
I'd give this another try on someone else's dime before spending $19 on it, but Dick did point out that it should have been decanted.
We also learned that wineries need only be accurate within 1.5 percent of the actual alcohol percentage. At 14% the alcohol tax goes up and some wineries will understate the percentage at the top to avoid the tax issue.
Our hostess Barb had organized a Mexican feast with enchiladas to die for!
My contribution to the meal was guacamole and a corn salsa.
As always her table was beautiful.
Each place setting had a colorful bag of beans to take home. (I might add they made excellent soup in Rick's hands with spicy sausage and lots of herbs!)
Individual centerpieces capturing the theme of the evening, combining our wine theme with the Mexican one.
Everyone chips in with our pot lucks and I have to say no one left the table hungry!
And the women left the table with special party favors -- their own centerpiece!
And as always, it was most of all time with good friends, laughter and tastiness. Can't beat that!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Looks and sounds like a good time was had by all! Those enchiladas look delish. Mexican is one of my fave ethnic foods so I would have loved that meal. :) I have had that St. Michelle cab and agree that it is really good! I like pretty much all the wines by St. Michelle that I have tried!

Jennifer Richardson said...

swooning over your guacamole
..with corn, no less!
it all looks so delicious
and i continue to think about
you with the greatest of hope
for clear lungs
and full steam ahead

Jennifer Richardson said...

swooning over your guacamole
..with corn, no less!
it all looks so delicious
and i continue to think about
you with the greatest of hope
for clear lungs
and full steam ahead

Friko said...

This really is a grand idea, wine tasting and good food with good friends. I’d love it. Provided I wasn’t made to spit it out again!

We rarely buy US wines here, they are obviously not as popular or freely available; Beloved told me tonight that Chardonnay is now OUT, apparently, and that the wine du jour is Semillon. I suggested that he should buy lots of Chardonnay now if it’s going to cost less. Who cares about fashions in wine, for goodness sake!

anno said...

I love these posts. It always reminds me of how wonderful it is to spend time with friends. And, I always learn something. Thank you, friend. On a gray day, this was an uplifting and enlightening post.

Joanne Huffman said...

The photos don't look all that fuzzy yo me. The wine sounds interesting and the food looks and sounds delicious.

Anonymous said...

The enchiladas look delicious as does your guacamole. It's funny how I used to hate guacamole and now I love it. The table setting is gorgeous.

Marilyn Miller said...

What a pretty table and centerpieces. The food looks so delicious, but then I always like a Mexican potluck. Yummm!

Maggie said...

This always sounds like a fun group to be a part of.
The table is wonderful, the enchiladas, amazing!
Thanks for the recommendations.

Tracy said...

Love your wine posts, Jeanie! I don't care for overly oaky wines either. we were trying some whiskies at Christmas, and I wasn't gravitating to those very much at all. I like cognac though. I'll take a nice Cab Sauv. any day. ;o) We lately had a French red that was so tart--a basic table wine, and it was so disappointing as it was rather pricey. Some of the wine prices over here seem to be going up. Oh, those enchiladas--YUM! I want to cook now... LOL! Happy Day, my friend! Oh, and many thanks for your lovely comment at my place. The workshop seems to have been enjoyed so much that I will probably host it again, and have an idea for something to offer in the autumn. Maybe you'll be feeling better, and we'll see you then. :o) ((HUGS)

The Artful Diva said...

I must be buying cheap wine. I haven't seen a "real" cork in ages!

Sally Wessely said...

I should print this out so I can use it when I go to buy wine. I'm just not very good at knowing about wines. I love reading about your wine parties.

The food looks scrumptious. Your hostess is the really creative when it comes to making centerpieces! I don't think I've seen anything that clever for centerpieces for a very long time.


Shane Pollard said...

Hello Jeanie
I would have loved your wine tasting - a soft buttery Chardonnay is my wine of choice and NZ makes some really good ones now.
Lovely wines, good food and friends - what more does one want!
Nice to see you today Jeanie, I do hope you're feeling better.
My poor family in France are all very sick bronchitus...
Shane ♥

Lorraine said...

I'm always on the lookout for a great and affordable white wine :D
Great post, the food looks great too! Thanks for your visit to my blog and your kind words. Have a great week! ~Lorraine ♥♥♥

Annie Jeffries said...

Pretty. Delicious. Mexican feast. It doesn't get much better than that.

shoreacres said...

I much prefer white to red, but a good cabernet sauvignon gets me every time. When I lived in the Bay Area I used to make an occasional run up to the Napa Valley and come home with a trunkload of Beringer - their tasting room was just marvelous.

I finally got smart and did a google search and found your post on Pinot Grigios - that's another love. The only problem with these posts is that they leave me (1) hungry and (2) thirsty! There's nothing like Mexican food, for sure.

The Old Parsonage said...

Sounds and looks like such a fun night. Loved the shot of the empty bottles on the coffee table:)

The food looks wonderful too - I need lunch!


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