Sunday, September 15, 2019

Cork Poppers Sample Summer Wines

Summer may be past its peak but if you enjoy mostly white or rose wines, there will still be plenty to love in the Cork Poppers summer wine tasting choices. And better news still -- you'll even enjoy these in other seasons, too!

Our gathering was held in late August. Hosts Meredith and Roger live on Michigan's Grand River and we love the August tasting because it always includes Meredith's Frogmore Stew and a boat ride on the river with Roger.

Photo by Cheryl Rice

But that's a bit later. First the wines. (Accompanied by cheeses from Bob and Dick and Rick's bread!)

We started with a sparkling wine -- Frexinet Brut Cordon Negro. Bob told us this is the number one selling sparkling wine in the world. A cava from Spain, he said that this was the wine he and his late wife, Joan, called their anniversary wine, as it was the wine that was in their hotel room on their wedding night and an annual tradition for every year after that.

I think we all found it very tasty. And at $11.99, a good bargain!

Then it was on to a trio of three Sauvignon Blancs. This pleased me immensely, as I am definitely not a Chardonnay fan. All of these came from Down Under -- New Zealand and Australia.

Mike M. was first with a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, 2018, from Marlborough New Zealand. It was a bit peppery and a tad too sweet for me but Bob called it pretty good. I thought it was a bit more like a Chardonnay, creamier.

We all agreed that it probably needed more chilling but at about $13 from Costco, it was a good wine for a summer night.

Roger was up next with Hewitson LuLu 2018 from the Adelaide Hills, Australia. I tought it had an excellent finish and I liked this one best, perhaps of the entire day. It was a little sharper and a little drier. Again, there was a positive consensus on this one.

And once again, the price was consistent -- $12.99 at Costco, so probably widely available.

Cheryl offered an Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2018 from Marlborough, New Zealand 2018. This was the best chilled of the three and it made a huge difference! Comments ranged from "Lovely!" to "I'm still smelling it." (I can't remember who said this but they were right -- it had a terrific aroma.)

Dick explained about BRIX, which is the sugar content in the grapes. The more sugar in the grapes, the higher the alcohol content in the wine will be (This wine had 21% BRIX and a 12.5% alcohol content). (I'm sorry -- I didn't get the price on this one.)

I brought Sofia Rose 2018, by Francis Coppola, Monterey County, California. The film director branched out into wine making as a negotiant -- that is, like Louis Jadot and some other names you might see on wine labels, they may have a vineyard, but they purchase their grapes for the winemaking process. Sofia is named for his daughter, also a film director. Coppola had said he would name no wine for his daughter until it was perfect.

Kate introduced me to this one and while I'm not a big fan of rose overall, I do like this one as it's light and very dry. There was good consensus on this, or as Mike M. put it, "I don't usually like rose but this is really good." (The chilling makes a huge difference!) Again, this is widely available. I found it at Meijer stores for $11.99 (on sale, so count on a bit more full price).

Remember -- the best tasting white wines and roses -- no matter what they are -- are best tasted and enjoyed cold, which makes them perfect for a summer sip.

Mike S. brought our last wine and the only red of the day, Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 by Joseph Carr. And it smelled FABULOUS! And I thought it tasted delicious as well.

Josh wines are very dependable and very available nationwide. I didn't get the price on this one either, but it is in line with the others. It did make the red fans very happy!

 Photo by Cheryl Rice

One of the things we often mock in our group is the pretentiousness of the wine labels and how they might describe the ingredients (notes of kerosene, tobacco, black cherry and gooseberry -- yes, all of these have turned up on previous wine labels, and I can't tell what that should taste like!).

Photo by Cheryl Rice

Some labels also tell the stories of the vineyard or wine origin and we mock those, too. So Mike read his own version of the Josh story, based on the label, which I share below for your good grins. (The boat ride is to follow, below!)

The Josh B'Gosh Truth by Josh Himself as told to Michael M. Smith in a Vision
 (c. 2019 Michael Maurer Smith)

After a decade serving as a world-class sommelier followed by another decade as a wine indstry executive, I, Joseph Carr, was set on my way to form my own wine company. It was what I had to do to be surrounded by the grape 24/7. I just had to be where I could sample my stuff any time, in any amount, without interference -- without anyone telling me that Trump wines were really the best.
Influenced by the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, I began making wines under my own label--just the name Josh in a large but elegant script -- a slightly pretentious design intended to portray me as a man of excellent taste and reserve and not as someone you might encounter sitting on the curb taking sips from a bottle hidden in a paper bag.

Pursuing my winemaking philosophy, emphasizing balance, sophistication and approachability, and hinting at old world style, while expressive of California's best wine growing regions, I sought to craft Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that would seem right at home on the sheves of Meijer and Cotco.

In 2007, I was sober enough to launch Josh Cellars, offering wines that represent the best of California: bold, rich, approachable, balanced and affordable, even by folks who can't afford to drive a Ferrari.

Sourced from across many great California wine growing regions, every vintage represents a labor of love, a commitment to quality, and my personal promise to make great wine that tastes so good I'll drink it myself -- lots and lots and lots of it -- and I hope you will, too.

Today I live alone with my one true friend, my dog Corkie. My wife ran off with some guy who invented wine-flavored vaping e-liquids. But I try not to think about that. And every so often I get a text from my daughter, Tempranillo, checking in to see if I have changed my will. Most days I split my time, when I am not sampling my wines, between watching my recorded collection of "Dancing with the Stars" and tweeting obscenities to Donald Trump.

I hope yu enjoy the fruits of my efforts and continue to buy Josh wines because it's really, really great wine at a reasonable price -- and by'gosh, I really, really need your money.
Finally, let me paraphrase Rick Steves, that pot-addled master of travel -- "Keep on drinking, 
and support public television and good cheap wine."

   After the tasting, our ride down the Grand River. Rick was clearly in his element...

...and with Captain Roger at the helm, it's always fun.

It was a perfect day and I was able to spot a turtle and ducks (actually spotted by Rick), a heron (actually spotted by Kate)...

...and this lovely egret.

I wish it had flown a little closer to the boat but it cuts a lovely figure in the sky.

Then back to land and after removing some weeds from the motor (those are Dick's legs, as he reached into the water to take care of that task)...

...we came in for dinner and to Meredith's lovely table.

Her party favors were a collection of note cards from their travels and they were lovely!

Our Frogmore stew was, as always, way too yummy for words, as was Barb's terrific salad.

As for Mike S's delicious brownies with salted caramel ice cream and caramel topping, they were gobbled down too fast for a photo, after which we called our former Popper, Pat, who now lives in Georgia.

All in all another great day on the river.

A note: Previous Cork Popper posts can be found on the menu tab above, with wines arranged by region or category. Please note that when it comes to wine, what YOU like is what matters, not what we like and that prices are likely to change in various areas and over time. Not all wines are available in all states or countries.

Sharing with:    Best of the Weekend      /     All About Home     


Karen said...

What a great way to spend some time together! And how wonderful to live on a river... Josh wines are great -

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It seems like a wonderful way to end the summer, and I would have enjoyed every moment of it, but the sight of all those plastic water bottles just makes me shudder. It stuns me to see obviously intelligent people continue to sign on to this kind of pervasive and almost indestructible pollution which is slowly but inexorably, every day, destroying environments on land and in rivers and oceans. How it is ever going to stop when people seem to have no appetite for change, no concern for the environment and certainly a total disregard for the future if their grandchildren is beyond me.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

Your corker parties are always so much fun to read about---the friendship, the food, the wine, the table decor are always so lovely. And I can't forget to mention the details you share that make these parties come to life for readers. I may have to suggest a corker party at the complex where I'll be moving. They are open to all our ideas.

Pam said...

WOW...woman you and Rick sure do stay busy. Cork Poppers, I like the way that sounds. I used to drink wine however due to the sulfites in it I can't anymore. It will set off a headache that can go from a one to a ten so fast plus it can and has set off my asthma before. I am more a Pop a Top girl these days if I drink anything other then TEA.

Decor To Adore said...

Oh that heron is just stunning! Such beauty you have captured. Thank you for sharing.

Pat said...

Love the August Cork Poppers gathering!����. Looks like a beautiful sunny day. I enjoyed hearing about all the fabulous wines some sounded very tasty��. The Josh wine had an interesting story. Funny. The foods looked delicious!
But the best part was seeing all of you dear friends who I miss so dearly��. Of course, I loved talking to you all. Or should I say yo’all ��Cheryl is a good and thoughtful friend❤️ Jeanie, as usual, I loved your comments and thoughts of the day. Thank you so much for your postings. Love ��

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

There is nothing like a relaxing time with friends and a bottle or 2 of wine - especially in such a beautiful environment!

My name is Erika. said...

Now that does look like a fabulous place to have your cork poppers. And it also looks yummy too. A nice glass of wine and a nice day, what could be better? I like that poop deck sign on the boat. It made me smile. I think you had a great cork poppers this month for sure. Happy Sunday. Hugs-Erika

bobbie said...

Sounds like a fantabulous day with great friends ~ I cracked up over the "Josh" story!

Valerie-Jael said...

What a wonderful time you must have had. Such a lovely place to visit, good wines, good food, good company and a river trip - it can't get better than that!. Your wines are much more expensive than over here, Freixenet, for example, costs about the half here. Hugs, Valerie

Rustic Pumpkin said...

What a fun thing to do, sampling good wine in the company of good friends. I think I would enjoy this, and the ambience of setting just adds to what looks like an enjoyable time of merriment.

Deb in Wales

Natalia said...

What a great event, sounds like fun! I really enjoyed lookin at your photos ☺

William Kendall said...

Your shot of the heron is my favourite.

DUTA said...

I'm not particularly interested in wine, but I love to see people enjoying themselves - which your photos show in abundance.
I like Rick's outfit: yellow shirt and khaki shorts, and your smiling/laughing complexion.

Prims By The Water said...

Am not a wine drinker, but it looks like you all had fun! Would love to have eaten the meal and enjoyed the boat ride though. Janice

Sandra Cox said...

What fun!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I STILL know nothing about wine, don't care for the taste of it, and don't drink it, but I always enjoy your Cork Poppers posts because I learn about what others think about wine and I love seeing the camaraderie, too. It's always fun when you share these dinners and wines.

Iris Flavia said...

You look like a fun bunch, really! :-)
Not so much the wine, but the cheese, YUM! Though sparkling wine I used to like (but hubby gets sick from it, sadly).
I still wonder how you not get a heacache from all the mix?
What, kerosene, tobacco???? Help, I stay wih beer then ;-)
Funny, I really saw this in Perth, someone having wine or such from a bottle "hidden" in a brown paper bag - still puzzles me how it works, you just KNOW what´s in there.
In Germany you just have the bottle and no one cares. Yes, in public, too. Oh, that Trump is just everywhere!
I had to laugh at the boat´s name :-)
A fun day! Thank you for sharing, Jeanie!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie,

I do enjoy your Corker parties. I took some notes on the wines, I am buying wines for my son's rehearsal party and I have been looking for some good wines to buy. The food and Rick's bread look yummy. Great capture of the heron and egret. Enjoy your day, wishing you a great new week ahead!

Sami said...

Another fabulous get-together. I had a laugh at Josh'story read by your friend. I've tried that Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, the others I don't know. The Lu lu from Adelaide Hills is cheaper there and it is here.

Linda said...

A wonderful day of food and friendship, flora and fauna. What could be better?

La Table De Nana said...

The sparkling wine is one of our Ontarian friend's faves and price is no object and they know their wines:)Kim Crawford is one of my daughter's faves..she likes grapefruity;)
Oyster Bay is a family fave too..must find Lulu.. we call Lucas that:)Not in public anymore;) Love your friend's spot!

crackercrumblife said...

Looks like a fabulous night - friends, water, wine... perfection! I love the label for the Sofia wine. I might have to try that one soon, although I am a Cab girl. Lol.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I'd totally crash this party if I could as summer whites are my favorite! I prefer Savaignon Blancs so have had several of these. I haven't tried the Oyster Bay one so will have to look for that. The Kim Crawford is probably the most common SB you'll find on a restaurant menu. It's not my favorite either. And I bet I'd like that cava sparkling wine. I'm not a huge fan of Rose either but it sure is all the rage these days (at least among women my age). I'm glad the weather cooperated so you could go for a pontoon ride! Sounded like a super fun night.

The Josh origin story is very funny. Love that he tweets obscenities at Trump! hahaha

The French Hutch said...

What a wonderful gathering of friends enjoying life! Your cork poppers are a wonderful group, this get together was really nice, the boat trip and all the natural scenery, good food and of course the wine. Summer's at its best........

Danielle L Zecher said...

I love that y'all mock the pretentious parts of wine. It makes wine seem much more approachable that way. The food looks delicious too!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I always love coming along with you on these excursions...where wine is served. The whites are light and refreshing for summer but I would still prefer the Cabernet S.! What fun you have!

Pam Richardson said...

This group has so much fun, who would not enjoy being a part? The wine, boat ride, and the food all looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing the fun!

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Jeanie, I should never comment on posts like this as I know really nothing about wines.But, you all know how to have such a good time that I just have to go along with you..Happy Day my friend..xxoJudy

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

I already commented on this post but I see that it hasn't come up yet so I am adding my thanks to you for your last visit here. My electricity is flickering as it is raining cats and dogs here along with loud thunder and lightening so will say Happy Monday before it goes out..xxoJudy

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jeanie, this was so much fun! What a great group of friends you have. Wine, dinner and a cruise. What more could you want?

Susan Kane said...

A wonderful day all around! Good wine and good food, with good friends! Can't get much better than that.

Marilyn Miller said...

You and your Cork Poppers do look like you have so much fun. I would love it even if I didn't drink wine. Maybe I should learn to like it. The salad did look very good too.

R's Rue said...


Tracy said...

Such good summer fun, Jeanie! These posts ALWAYS make me feel so hungry and thirsty! I ate a nice lunch, but I could eat again now... haha! I LOVE a little glass of Cava...mmm... And I'm more for Sauvignon Blancs too... but I do like a Pinot Grigio. Fun with the Coppola wine! The lingo on wine labels is always fun to "decipher", isn't it? Kerosene... has anyone really tasted kerosene, and lived to tell?! Thanks, as always for taking us along, and for all the good tastes, sights, sounds, and everything! ((HUGS))

Pamela said...

I love reading about this educational group!

Little Wandering Wren said...

What a happy and fun Cork Poppers, you all look like you are thoroughly enjoying it! I love that intro from Josh, I'd buy his wine. Next time you should host your Cork Poppers Down Under, we have lots of vineyards around us. I might even be able to introduce you to my fav. rose!
Have a great week.
Wren x

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Thanks again for stopping by!! Looks like a great time was had by all!!

Olka said...

Wine tasting sounds soooo good! I've recently found amazing place with wines. People who're working there know everything about every single bottle! And this wine shop is 5 mins away from my home!!

Oh! This shrimp meal looks so tasty!

Rita C at Panoply said...

Fabulous! I love the wine descriptions, the food looked & sounded fantastic, and the riverboat tour a success (since all bodies returned ashore, apart from Dick almost going in ant the end, hehe).

Evi Erlinda said...

Get gathering and wine tasting, such a lot of fun!
The party cards and decorations of dinner table are so lovely. And the dish, yum! yum!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed Josh wine and I’m crazy about you because you tweet obscenities to Trump! I would say sorry about your wife but I think you’re fine on your own and much better off without her if you don’t mind my saying so. Would love living on a river!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed reading about you and your lovely friends. Josh wine is one of my favorites and I really appreciate anyone who tweets obscenities to Trump! I think you’re lucky your wife left - she doesn’t sound like much of a keeper! Enjoy living on the river, that would be so fun!!

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