My big rule on wine goes contrary to the typical food rules. I think if you like it, drink it -- and don't worry whether it's white and you are eating a rich roast or red and you are dining on a lighter fish.
That said, some tend to pair better with foods than others so at our most recent Cork Poppers gig (on the Grand River, no less) we decided to try those that would pair well with fish. (Not that one would recommend eating fish caught in the Grand River.)
As you might expect, many of the six wines we tasted were whites but we also sampled a delicious Pinot Noir and a very good Shiraz.
We started out with a Starmount Sauvignon Blanc 2013 from the Napa Valley. We all agreed that this would have been much better had it been served colder, but it still had a fresh, tasty flavor. Mike, who brought the wine, called it "about twice as much as it was worth." He paid $17 for it.
We went onto Dick's Vina San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2014. The transparent pale yellow wine supposedly had the aroma of citrus fruit, japapeno and bell peppers. Barb noted that it had more character than the first, while Rick said "You can taste the peppers." (I couldn't but it was peppery feeling and spicy.) Cost for this wine was $16.
Wine geek talk: Dick says the style of fermentation is called reductive, a more anaerobic technique without oxygen. The style of fermentation protects the grapes so the primary fruit aromas and flavors are preserved. This style of winemaking generally produces wines that are typically fresh, more fruit driven and paler and color. The technique uses more sulfur dioxide and inert gases as well as fermenting the wine at cooler temperatures.
Tasting was interrupted periodically as Rick shared his bike ride adventures. It was all fresh in his mind, having just returned that morning!
Rick's "Wine by Joe Dobbes 2013" was next. This Pinot Noir is from Oregon. Anne noted it had "nice legs," (the little drips down the inside of the glass). I'm not a big fan of Pinot Noir but I was pleased with this one.
It had a little more guts to it than most, which I think generally taste like amped up rose wines. Rick couldn't remember how much it cost -- we bought it out of town back in March -- but estimated it was in the $15 zone.
It was time to go back to whites with Pat's Giesen Sauvignon Blanc 2014 from the New Zealand Marlborough region. It was very fruity but not too sweet and my notes said "This is very good." Around this time, Barb (who happened to be sitting next to our white-lover Cheryl on the sofa, asked "Where's Cheryl?" I know this makes us sound like tremendous lushes and we only have small sips because we are dividing a bottle of wine eleven ways -- but we all laughed!) Pat paid $10 for the wine but it is generally priced at $12.
Roger's "The Archivist" Chardonnay 2013 certainly won the label award of the day! This California wine from the Monterey Bay region had apple overtones (so they said; to me it tasted like chardonnay.) Roger did a nice little presentation with this and at that time I noted our discussion: "Everything is in the presentation. You can serve schlock if you present it well." (I'm not sure that's totally true but presentation goes an awfully long way!) I didn't get a price on this.
We ended with Anne and Clayton's Copolla Rosso and Bianco Shiraz 2013. "Tell us about your wine," we asked Clayton. "I think it's really good," he replied. So did we -- and at $12, a worthy bargain and my favorite of the day.
When Roger and Meredith host Cork Poppers we always hope it will be good weather because we look forward to a ride down part of the Grand River, which runs through much of the state. It was a glorious day and soon we were on the pontoon boat.
Captain Roger (I always thought his boat should be named the Jolly Roger) pointed out some of the homes that are along the river and we noticed lots of other boats enjoying the perfect day!
Our highlight of the ride (or mine, at least) was this beautiful white bird which may be a white heron or may be an egret. The one thing we were certain of was that it was beautiful!
So were the views!
Not everyone was into the views. Rick was pretty zonked out from the ride and trip home. So he took advantage of the pontoon boat's floor to take a quick nap.
Back at the ranch, Meredith was putting the finishing touches on dinner. All that was needed once we returned was to grill the salmon. We lost Rick for a few minutes while the salmon was being prepped, too!
Meanwhile some of us enjoyed sitting by the pool and looking at Meredith's flowers!
Chow time! Set a gorgeous table. Add bacon-wrapped jerk shrimp, salmon, spinach casserole, a four-star salad and a beautiful berry dessert and you have the recipe for the end of a perfect evening!
Finally it was time to head home -- filled to the brim and happy to have spent a wonderful day with good friends. Because really, it's all about the friends.
NOTE: You can find other Cork Popper wine tasting posts by category (French, Reds, Whites, etc.) on the link at the navigation bar at the top of this page.)
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