Saturday, June 20, 2015

WWCD? The Cork Poppers Try Some Summer Whites!

Cheryl is our one Cork Popper who leaves each tasting having only tasted one or two or -- on a good night for her -- three of our wines in any given tasting. She and her husband Dick may have started our group but when one only drinks white wine, they are at a distinct disadvantage in our group of red-loving sippers.

So, when it was our turn to host on what we hoped would be a lovely early summer day, we muddled through themes and came up with "What Would Cheryl Drink?" The mission was for guests to bring a white or rose, perfect for summer sipping.

The weather indeed held out for a glorious afternoon of tasting something new. And the results disappointed no one -- but Cheryl, in particular, offered more than a few "Thumbs UP!"

We started with Dick's offering from the Marlborough area of New Zealand. Drylands Marlborough 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was an immediate hit. It was served chilled and was very crisp. It might have been my personal favorite of the day, apart from a $16 price tag. As Barb said, "If this was all we had today, I'd be happy."

This wine had a strong grapefruit note and was a tad spicy and acidic but in a good way. According to the description, it had hints of tropical fruit, melon and fresh herbs but I noticed the grapefruit more than anything else. I could envision sitting on the beach at sunset on a warm, humid evening and cooling off with a refreshing glass of this!

Anne and Clayton were up next with Chateau Ste. Michelle's 2012 Chardonnay. Bottled in Washington, the color was more golden than the first and it was creamy and buttery but not oakey. I don't remember which of our gang said "I could kill myself on a summer day with that!"

Roger summed it up with "I'd drink this with food and the first just to drink and enjoy." Rick described this one as "friends" and the first as "blue sky." At $12.99, it was certainly a good buy and pretty tasty too!

Barb and Mike weighed in next with Black Star Farms "Arcturus Pinot Gris 2013." The food-friendly Pinot Gris wines are often tasty and fairly light, fine for simply sipping. It had a hint of effervescence -- not quite sparkling, but not far from it.

This was a wine from Northern Michigan on the Mission Peninsula. I have to say that I am not generally fond of Michigan wines of any kind (especially the reds) but this wasn't too bad for me. It was a bit peppery, though I could have done without the fizz. Since the point of the day was "What would Cheryl drink?" it is worthwhile to consider her verdict of this $13.99 wine: "I love it!"

Roger and Meredith offered another wine from the Marlborough, New Zealand region, Kim Craford Sauvignon Blanc 2014. It was advised to decant the wine to get rid of some of the minerality. this wine is prepared with stainless steel or enamel lined tanks. It wasn't bad at all. Cost $14.99.

Pat shared a Fetzer Gerwerztraminer 2013 from Monterey County, California. It was sweeter than any of the others we tasted. Dick called it "lovely" and loved the sweet smell. I said "They should make perfume like this!" I would find it better after dinner, closer to a dessert wine, than with dinner. Or, as Dick said, "It is a dessert to me -- after a meal or instead of a meal." It was $11.99.

Rick and I provided the only rose of the day -- Susana Balbo Crios Rose of Malbec 2014. Bottled in the Uco Valley of Mendoza, Argentina from 100 percent Malbec grapes, it had the loveliest color of all and was a bit fruity.

But to be honest (and I say this because I picked it), it didn't do much for me. It was OK. Not fabulous. Not terrible. OK. And at $11.99, I expect more than OK. While it might be very nice with certain foods (light pastas, chicken, fish) it didn't have the sparkle for me (and by this I mean the joy of it, not sparkle as in sparkling wine) that the whites did.

Dick brought a second wine -- a Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Sauvignon Blanc. We ended the day with this and determined it was very tasty, but by then we were starting to get ready for dinner! Time flies!

We were lucky in that it was a perfect day -- not too hot or cool, sunny but not beating down on us, little if any humidity.Since we were outside, a BBQ was the theme. Rick made a Louisiana barbecue chicken, in which he marinated the chicken in a mixture of Louisiana-brand hot sauce, lemon juice and lots of other stuff before putting it on the grill and basting it regularly. It was moist and delicious, flavorful but not too spicy.

To accompany the dinner we had Meredith's fabulous corn bread.

And Barb served up a beautiful Cobb salad.

And despite the fact that Pat, Dick and Cheryl had brought an amazing cheese and cracker plate, supplemented by Rick's baguettes, once we said "Dinner's On!" nobody went hungry!


I went for simple on the table decorations and party favor/place cards. A simple geranium potted in a small tin bucket served as centerpiece. We had two tables, one with Fiesta china, the other a Dansk blue and white pattern.

For place cards I potted purple verbena plants in peat pots and added a ribbon and garden marker with a photo of the person who would sit there. The plants went home with the guests to remind them of the day.

Of course, no party ends without a spectacular dessert and Anne's Texas sheet cake with a wonderful chocolate frosting packed with pecans had us all swooning.

As the last of our guests drove off, we actually enjoyed the clean-up, talking favorite tastes and good times. And as for the answer to "What Would Cheryl Drink?" the answer was "All of them!"

And yes, this red wine lover will be drinking some whites this summer, too. And enjoying them!

NOTE: This post, along with other Cork Popper wine tasting posts, will be included in the link on the menu bar at the top of Marmelade Gpysy. If you want recommendations of our favorites, check out the page. Remember, we are not trained oenophiles. We just like what we like -- and suggest that this is really the thing that matters most!


Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of my sister's now deceased husband, Pete. He loved wine and became a certified sommelier.

I love your dishes. Very nice party.

angie said...

what beautiful pictures !!! I would have been like to be there !!! and the brownie looks sooo yummy !!! a beautiful weekend wishes angie

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh fun! Phil will only drink white wines so this would have been his kind of Corkpopper night! I will have to check out some of the wines that you liked. Sounds like you had perfect summer weather, too! The food all sounds delicious, too! What a fun night!!!

anno said...

Love this -- you just confirmed what I have long suspected: the secret to your many long-standing friendships is the empathy and accommodation you extend to even the most casual acquaintances. I love white wine, especially in summer, and this post offers some wonderful leads. As for that gewurztraminer: imagine sipping it from a chilled glass at a riverside cafe along the Rhein, while enjoying a rich onion tart and a crisp green salad... just imagine.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a lovely beautiful day, my dear. I love that you all have such a good time with these "tasting" gatherings----and such pretty and special take-home presents! You do it up with so much care and love!
That one wine sounds like something I would very much like---The Chateau Ste Michelle Chardonnay.....And Dinner sounded scrumptious, too!
Thanks for coming by and leaving such a lovely comment, my dear....I'm hanging in as best I can.

jo(e) said...

That sounds like such a lovely get-together!

Joanne Huffman said...

You all obviously have such a great time when you get together. I love reading about your wine tastings and your menus. You are the hostess with the mostest.

Gwen said...

What a lovely time! The first one with a hint of grapefruit would intrigue me.

Sorry the Argentinean wine didn't work. (I used to work for a very large wine company...we had a lovely Argentinean wine...and they used to (back then) be cheaper than any other foreign wine.)

I used to love gewurtz', but then my palate matured and I now I love a good chardonnay. (well, I love cab sauv's and merlots too, but my kidneys don't handle them well. Sadly.)

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning sweet Jeanie! WOOOO! I am getting a little dizzy/lightheaded just looking at those crisp whites here early in the morning! I bet much fun was had!

CHEERS and a happy Father's Day to the men in your life! Anita

shoreacres said...

Oh, this is wonderful. As someone in the "no red wines for me, thank you very much" camp, I appreciate the suggestions in this post, and may give a couple a try. I like the taste of many reds, but they make me feel so terrible after only one glass, I rarely indulge.

The one red I've found that I really enjoy is a Texas wine: Llane 2012 Texas High Plains Tempranillo. I have a feeling it would make a good addition to an evening the next time your group does reds.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

It doesn't get much better than this...good friends, good wine, and good food.

Tracy said...

Oh, this tasted sooo GOOD, Jeanie! Can almost taste it all through the photos... LOL! Always a pleasure to share in the fun with your wine/foodie group! We're looking forward to lighter summer meals... and wine. ;o) Great to catch up with you post-travels. Now getting over jet lag and mountains of laundry... LOL! Happy Summer Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Tracy said...

Oh, this tasted sooo GOOD, Jeanie! Can almost taste it all through the photos... LOL! Always a pleasure to share in the fun with your wine/foodie group! We're looking forward to lighter summer meals... and wine. ;o) Great to catch up with you post-travels. Now getting over jet lag and mountains of laundry... LOL! Happy Summer Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I really enjoy reading about your wine-tasting parties. You include just the right details to bring the party - and the wines - to life!

Esme said...

what a fun time and never mind the wine that brownie looks delicious.

bj said...

OOO, this looks like so much fun. We have been to several wine tastings but never had a wonderful meal like this. all sounds delicious.
So glad you had such a good time.

Roses, Lace and Brocante said...

Wish I could have joined you Jeanie!
Two Kiwi wines up for tasting - not bad ha!!!
Sadly Savs don't agree with me - I'm a creamy, buttery Chardy girl.
I love a good red too but more so in the winter.
The Cob salad caught my eye - I will have to enlarge it to get the detail!
Your table looks so pretty and a lovely touch with a photo of each guest and a plant to take home!
You sure know how to delight your guests J!
Much love
Shane x

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Delightful from start to finish! I am not much of a white wine drinker either. And almost never just to sip. Wine is food to me! And looks like you had a great menu too! What a great bunch of folks you have to hang out with.

The French Hutch said...

Oh my goodness Jeanie, this is my kind of entertaining! Love to be outside when it's not so hot here and serve up plenty of favorites and wine. We usually have a container of beer iced down for the beer lovers too. I would love the white wine and that cobb salad looks divine! Love the potted verbena place cards, great idea. I'm sure it was a lovely evening enjoyed by all. Wish I could have dropped in to say hello................

Bella Rum said...

I used to prefer red; now I like white. Love your descriptions of the wines. The tablecloths and table settings look so summery and fresh. I know everyone had a great time. You have a bead on entertaining, Jeanie.

Tammie Lee said...

looks like you all had a wonderful time and good wine.
i find i like a lot of wines from Columbia Valley.
Summer fun!

Barb said...

It looks like you're all having too much fun, Jeanie! That food looks scrumptious!

Sally Wessely said...

Your wine tasting events are always a highlight to read about.

The Artful Diva said...

I'm a Sauvignon Blanc girl!

~*~Patty S said...

Eventho it is first thing in the morning...
you've made me hungry and thirsty too :-)
Looks like extra fun for your cork poppers to be al fresco.
Happy Sunday dear Jeanie ♥

Popular Posts