Friday, July 6, 2018

Cork Poppers Enjoy "Wines in the Key of C"

Think Cabernet, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Cava, or your favorite C-named winery (Chateau Ste. Michelle?) or just what the letter "C" means to you. That was our theme for the June Cork Poppers gathering.


For those of you not familiar with our Cork Poppers, we are a wine tasting group of friends. Only one of us, Dick -- founder of the group, has done any real study of this. Most of us use the bi-monthly gatherings as a good excuse to try a lot of wines we wouldn't otherwise try and enjoy terrific pot lucks! This time, we were the hosts and the location was Rick's patio!

Grab a class and come along for the ride!


Our first wine came from me -- Les Charmes Chardonnay 2014 by Macon Lugny.


Now, I'll be the first to tell you I'm not a fan of chardonnay or heavily oaked white wines. I contributed it to the cause because a) it was a "C" wine (chardonnay) and I didn't want to get more creative than that and b) because I couldn't find the Chianti I had bought for the event (we probably drank it) so I went with something left behind by a book club member when I hosted. Whomever you are, thank you!


Because this was the first, it was well chilled. Whites should be chilled but on a warm day, with sipping outside, some of the later whites suffered a bit from warming up a bit. The big surprise for me was that I actually liked it and others thought it "pretty good." "I'd buy this," Clayton said and others agreed.

Next, Dick offered up Wolftrap White Chenin Blanc 2013 from South Africa. It was a lovely white -- a bit more tart than the Les Charmes Chardonnay, and I enjoyed it, despite the components being partially aged in oak before blending and bottling.


The information Dick shared included that it had an "intriguing and harmonious quaffing experience." "Quaffing, we like," Clayton said, as we briefly pondered "who writes that gibberish?" But we did like the wine. (Anne liked the label.) Dick had grabbed this one off the shelf at home and had no idea of the price.

We had another Chardonnay next -- Butter Chardonnay, a California wine chosen by Roger. This was oakey and buttery or more creamy and because of that, not my favorite, but Clayton noticed it had a little bit of effervescence. Roger said he found it at Costco for $11.99 but normally it runs $15-$18.


Bob was up next with Scaramanga, a 2014 South African blend by Nabygelegen.


This one was a double Key of C. It had Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes (as well as Verdelmo varietal) and if you stretched it, it was Coastal, too! It had a slow fermentation of six months and felt "thicker" and less crisp to my palette. (This may have been due to starting to warm up, too, as Barb mentioned "This needs to be colder."

The winery was established in 1712 and the price of this at a local market was $20. Kate called it her favorite so far (Kate is not a big fan of whites) and Barb noted "This smells funny but it doesn't taste bad. It smells like chemicals or acetone."

Then it was on to reds. Kate brought Sledgehammer 2016, a California Cabernet Sauvignon. Someone commenting on the name said, "This looks like something you drink to get drunk" and the notes implied it was a manly wine. There was much discussion on it being a macho, tone deaf write up on the label "King of the People -- of substance but none of the pomp and circumstance. For the man who values substance over flash. Sledgehammer is for men, not for boys."


"I bought it so I could sneer," Kate said. Her husband Mike S. noted it paired well with cinnamon rolls. (This was Kate and Mike's first Poppers. They fit right in.) Kate noted her key of C was "C stands for average -- average label, below average verbiage.)


Someone described it as an all purpose wine. "If you don't like it you can use it for antifreeze. Or paint stripper." Dick disagreed. "No, I don't think it's a paint stripper." And Barb agreed with that. As for me, I liked it and would buy it. Especially since it was $8.99 at Meijer.

Clayton was up next with Newman's Own Common Good Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 by Paul Newman (California).


After determining that Paul Newman was dead (I didn't know; sort of puts a pall on the day, so we toasted to Paul, and then to Pat, our missing member who recently moved.)


I thought this was quite good. I definitely tasted the cherry flavor (this brought discussion on the difference between dried or ripe cherries in wine and we decided dried was more flavorful. But what do we know?)

I'd definitely get this one again. It was spicy and tasty. Here's an interesting point. Cost on this ranged from $9 on sale at Meijer to $10 at a local market to $16 online. Shop around.

Dick was up again with a red this time -- The Rock 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. This is from the California Landscape series which also includes "The Bridge" and "The Pier."


Dick said he liked this so much, he bought a case of it (to which Rick noted, "You drink a lot, don't you?" and Dick replied, "We got a new computer system at work. What do you think?") But at $8.99, I think we'd all agree, he did the right thing. It was highly recommended by all our group, with a peppery-spice taste.


Mike and Barb then offered Clos de los Siete 2014, a red blend that was largely Malbec and Merlot. The vineyard, in the Mendoza area of Argentina was an old one and was wiped out in the 1860 earthquake, and they had to rebuild. (Her key of C was "Clos")


This one got comments like, "I just took a sip of this and it was delicious" and "Definitely a tasty wine." It should be -- it was about $20.


Anne liked it so much, she posed with the bottle!


Jan was last. It's really hard to be last in our group. She brought a 2016 Carmenere from Chile's Concha Toro vineyard called Casillero del Diablo Reserva.


Carmenere varieties originally came from the vineyards of Bordeaux but the climate in Chile -- sunshine and warm summer -- is perfect for the late-ripening grapes. "Oh, this smells so good!" Barb said, taking a sniff. Anne noted it was peppery. She had a triple key of C here -- the name, Casillero del Diablo, Carmenere and Concha y Toro vineyard. She could add a fourth -- Chile!

This is said to be good with red meat like burgers (how convenient, our menu that day!) and I think it would be wonderful any day at $8.99.


Interestingly enough, several of us noted that this time around, everyone liked all the wines. Usually there is an outlier or two. But it was on to dinner. We'd had a bit of a dilemma -- weather. The prediction wasn't good. But as you can see, things shaped up so we could sip on the patio.


That said, we set up tables in Rick's carport, just to be on the safe side!


The theme for Dinner was the Rick's Rocking Burger Bar!



                   

We had all sorts of toppings available.


Everyone else rose to the occasion with wonderful accompaniments like Rick's homemade burger buns...


...Asparagus potato salad...


...Mississippi Caviar...


...Fabulous Fruit Plate...


...Heathy, glorious Caesar...


...and decadent summer berry dessert.


And a bit of wine to wash it all down with. (This makes us sound WAY more decadent that we are. I promise you, we are not lushes or alcoholics and our sips are small!)


No one left hungry!


Our party favors and place cards were one and the same -- bookmarks. They were fun to paint!

                     

Thus ends another day of sipping. Please note that the wines we had may not be available in all areas. The same goes for previous Popper posts, which you can see listed by category on the menu at the top of the page under Cork Poppers. (Reds, whites, French, Italian, etc.)


Farewell from the Ladies of the Vine and the Guys of the Grape!



As always, be reponsible!


And happy Popping!

Linking with:   Pink Saturday  

37 comments:

Lisbeth said...

What a party! Looks like fantastic food and wines.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

For a summer outing, this turned out great. Everything looked SO good, at least food wise, since I know nothing about wine, except I'm not fond of the taste. I would love to throw a food party like that, and I know your newest members are going to fit right in. Congrats on another successful party.

BeachGypsy said...

Y'all are SUCH A FUN GROUP!--I can tell and I dont' even know y'all! ha ha LOL Looks like a fun fun gathering, I love how it was decorated too and those cheeseburgers look amazing! I can almost smell them on the hot grill. Glad you didn't get all rained on, but looks like y'all had that covered (pardon pun! ha ha) as well. You look adorable in your pretty floral blouse. I think that is floral anyway?? --could be some other print. Anyway, it's cute.

Valerie-Jael said...

Sounds like you guys had a wonderful time with good wines and from delicious food. I always love the look of Rick's bread, I swear I can smell it from here! Have a fun weekend, hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

LOL.. "we probably drank it" made me laugh, Jeanie!
I never thought a wine could be buttery and creamy! That sounds interesting indeed!
Sledgehammer is quite a name (and look) for a wine!
You must be a funny group, antifreeze :-)
Still not sure when it´s time to open the wine we brought from Italy in 2015...

Those burgers - as the rest - look very yummy!
Wow, you do have some space, wonderful!
I see a lot of love and creativity in all of this, fun times :-)

David Gascoigne said...

What, no Chablis? No Canadian wine? You were missing two important Cs!

Lilbitbrit said...

What a lovely group and having such fun. Good wine, good food, good friends, what could be nicer.

Jenny Woolf said...

Looks like fun! I am always hopeless at wine tastings, I can taste some difference between them but never remember which I like, and the second time I try them they always taste different! But a lovely way of getting together with friends and wonderful to see you enjoying your summer! The green lamp and mauve ceiling are unusual but really pretty!

roughterrain crane said...

This must be a big fun. Conversations went around with a cup of wine and brought all of you happiness. This is an unforgettable time.

Jean R. said...

What a great idea, your wine tasting parties. It sounds like you have a fun group of people and your write-ups on the parties are always interesting to read.

If you run out of wine ideas consider doing a hard cider tasting sometime. (Good for fall.) I've come to like them better than wine and a few of the restaurants around to stock them if you just want to taste a few without buying a bottle. Top Cat---I think you have one of those over your way---let's you sample. Lots of favor varieties available.

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

The burger menu is great! Your bookmarks are so special, too. You have such a wonderful tradition with these monthly get togethers, Jeanie! -Jenn

eileeninmd said...

What a fun evening. I have to write down some of these wines, they might be sold in some of the stores here. I will remember one of the wines because it reminded me of Pater Gabriel's song Sledgehammer. Your food looks delicious, I love a good burger. The place cards are cute. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

La Table De Nana said...

You are quite a group and that was a great idea the carport! You go all out..how fun for all of you!
I am easy..I drink J wine all the time.Jacques' wine:)
The bookmarks etc all very cute!

Running on empty said...

Sounds like a fun night was had but all!

Karen Ann said...

What a fun gathering! I just shared a wine spritzer on my blog that's really good and so refreshing and EASY EASY. here it is...

1 bottle pino grigio
1 bottle polar Orange dry soda
orange slices/wedges

equal parts, throw together and serve with an orange slice in each glass. Delish!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

What fun! And I admire and bow to your resilience! If I drank nine glasses of wine, I would be potted - and I'd NEED pot to get through the next morning.
I am so impressed that Rick made homemade hamburger buns - I've never even heard of that before - wow. And I would have to flip a coin between asparagus/potato salad (an all-new combination for me) and Caesar salad (a classic favorite of mine)as the dish I'd be most likely to hoard. That berry dessert also looks like a little bit of summer heaven. Sigh. So many wonderful things that Mr. Atkins won't let us eat. Damn him!
Hope your weather is evening out for you - our brutal heat wave seems to have broken. I think I've worn out the carpet next to the A/C vent that is beside the TV! It's become my new favored nap spot LOL.

Linda deV said...

I MUST be in your wine club and I don't even drink wine!

Would not say no to the recipe for Mississippi caviar. YUMMMMMM

Silver Willow said...

So much fun!!! I love wine, but alas, over the last dozen years or so, my body has rebelled against it. If I had $10 for each kidney stone I've had because of wine, I could enjoy a weekend in Las Vegas. Glad you can still enjoy though; looks like you all had a blast!

Rita C. said...

I find these posts so much fun, and informative! I love reading the reactions. Someday you guys should do an encore poppers, and each person bring their favorite taste to share, and see how that goes!

Joanne Huffman said...

What a well spent afternoon!

gigi-hawaii said...

What a nice wine tasting party. I love your photos.

Crystal Collier said...

What a fun gathering! I sure hope I'm able to enjoy socializing like this when we hit that empty nest stage, but it feels like forever away.

William Kendall said...

Scaramanga's a pretty good name for a wine.

Pam Richardson said...

I always enjoy these posts Jeanie. Y’all are such a fun group with your wine tastings and then that delicious burger bar! Thanks for sharing all the fun!

Nikki-ann said...

OK, I'm hungry now I've read this! Wonderful food :) I enjoy a glass of wine, but only if it's white.

My name is Erika. said...

Your cork popper get togethers always look like a lot of fun. And the food-it always looks so good too. Making me hungry. :) I like that you all always seem to be smiling in the photos too. The good things in live. Happy weekend. Hugs-Erika

Marsha Splenderosa said...

It's midnight at my home, but all that food and wine look so good I'm swooning. Happy day with great friends, sharing wine and food. What could be better.

Nancy Burns said...

You have some great wines on this post
...and probably not one is available in my area, The Netherlands.
I'm an ex-pat who moved here 40 years ago!
I never see a good selection of California wines here
...and probably due to new import tariffs
I won't be seeing them any time soon!
Luckily I have France and Spain....close by!
I have a look at your wines under the category 'Cork Popper'
Thanks!

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time. Nice that you enjoyed all the wines this time. The food sounds like it was great too... That asparagus potato salad sounds good.

Pamela said...

What fun! Good friends, food, and wine.

Olka said...

I stopped drinking wine some time ago. I learned, that I don't feel good after drinking wine. Well, for now I prefer beer. My husband recently started brewing some beer and I think they're really good :)
This food look delicious :)

Bonnie said...

Jeanie, You have an amazing memory or you take notes! To take pictures and remember all about each wine is remarkable. Hope you don't miss out on tasting for documenting the event.
Looks like a fun group and you eat well, too! I have not heard of asparagus potato salad but I bet it is good.

Marie Rayner said...

What a fabulous get together! It looks like everyone is really enjoying themselves and the food looks great! Almost makes me wish we drank wine! Oh but get together with friends are always the best! Xo

Jackie Mc Guinness said...

OMG it;s me again, Jackie. Can we be neighbours?? The more I read the more alike we are!!! Wine, I'm right there and books!

thepaintedapron.com said...

You Poppers have so much fun Jeanie! I am a Chardonnay only girl, I just don't like reds at all...I've had the Butter Chard, and did not like it. I prefer the less oaky wines. I think your party sounds like such a great way to try new wines. Rick's Burger Bar looks fabulous and those homemade buns, wow!!
Jenna

Lynne said...

Love your Wine Poppers posts!
Pictures are great and everyone looks like they are having a grand time!
And the food, home baked buns, asparagus potato salad, berry dessert . . .
Pushes the wine into history . . . almost!

I found during this recent very sultry weather . . .
the only thing that tasted perfect . . was water! Ice cold . . .

I think I need to “up my game” and give some of these wines a try . . ,
I think I will “ go high” and try the $20 . . . smile, smile . . .

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I love these posts! The burgers look delicious - especially with those beautiful homemade buns. Yum!! I am glad the weather cooperated. And those favors are so fun and useful!!

I’m not a fan of Chardonnay either. I rarely encounter one that I like! I like any other white besides that, though, so I am not picky. And while I don’t love red I can handle sips so would enjoy a cork popper night since you are just sampling things!

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