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)
(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.
Sharing with: Best of the Weekend / All About Home