It may well be July now, but this post takes us back to one of those gorgeous June days -- not too hot, not cold at all -- a perfect day for Cork Poppers to sit outside and sip California red blends.
Our assignment was for each couple to bring a California blend. Since we are red drinkers, all of ours ended up red wines, filled with delicious combinations of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. First up was Crush, a wine fronted by musician Dave Matthews, along with Steve Reeder.
This was one Anne and Clayton found and it was delicious. It also cost a bit more than I usually pay, at $21.99 but Clayton said there are also sales on it and to watch for them. It's a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and other grapes. This was a 2011. Another feature of the Dreaming Tree wines (all of them) is that the company focuses on sustainability in creating their products.
We determined this was "a good mouthful" and everyone seemed to like it.(But I have to say, every single one of these was very good; every single one I would buy.)
Mike and Barb were up next with.Chloe.
This was a combination of cabernet and merlot grapes and the vintage we sampled was 2012. We agreed it should have been decanted before, as it got better as it sat out a bit. But it also wasn't as mellow as the first.
Pat offered Menage a Trois.
This is a reasonably priced at $9.99 or less. A mixture of Zinfandel, merlot and cabernet grapes, the 2012 vintage was tasty -- and a good price.
Roger and Meredith's contribution was Old Vine Red, Lot. #60 ($15.99)
Another flavorful red, it combined a variety of grapes from Sonoma and Mendocino counties. It was a very dark, deep red and one of our gang said "Oh, wow! I'd buy this in a heartbeat! Roger said it felt like "Velvet on the tongue." (I think that was good, although the last time I tasted velvet...) Anyway, it was a hit!
We brought a Bogle wine called Old Vine Essential Red (2012).
At $10.99 it was reasonably priced and had a full and delicious combination of Petit Syrah, Syrah and Zinfandel grapes. It's also easily available. I liked it very much and one of our group mentioned they had this quite regularly. I would definitely get it again..
The last wine offered was one Dick had in the cellar for 10 years and boy -- was it fabulous!
Called Mario's Reserve by Trinchero, it was a 2003 Meritage, combining Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It was incredibly smooth and tasty. It was also pricy! When Dick bought this wine in 2004, it was $20. Now, he anticipates it would be $35. He said he bought it to share with special folks. We felt honored!
Of course, it wouldn't be Cork Poppers without a lot of fun and laughter...
...and a lot of great food. When it's at Anne and Clayton's, you can count on that food being grilled!
And there is always a helper!
And, while Clayton was grilling, others were getting a head start on the Belmont!
Of course, everyone tries to outdo their "past performance" and everyone else with the food! Apart from the fabulous bread (Rick) and cheeses and crackers (Pat, Dick and Cheryl), our menu included a terrific rice dish by Meredith, my "Little Bit of Everything" potato salad, sauteed mushrooms (Anne) and Barb's mile-high lemon pie -- not to mention the shishkabobs and skewered tomatoes!
Our dinner wines were also California blends -- Cocobon and Flirt -- both in the $10 range and both terrific.
Of course we had to take a minute during dessert to route for California Chrome.
It wasn't to happen. Guess we'll have to wait another year for a triple crown opportunity. (And if you can't tell from that how long this post has been sitting in draft -- well, now you know -- we met during Derby week in May!)
Anne's arrangement made me eager to anticipate summer evenings at the lake. My internet is spotty there, so if I'm slow on the visiting or comment reply rounds, you know I'll be with you when I can!