Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cork Poppers Party Like Its Pompeii!

When our hostess Barb sent out invitations to our most recent Cork Poppers gathering, the theme was "Party Like It's Pompeii." We knew most of the Italian wines would be red and that there would be plenty of fun in store.


Barb greeted us at the door with a spot of limencello to begin the festivities.


After our plates were loaded with Dick and Cheryl's crackers and cheese selections and lovely bits from Meredith's antipasto platter, we were on to the first wine.


This Abazzia di Novacella Stiftskellerei Neustift Pinot Grigio, offered by Dick, was the only white wine but even us red fans were impressed.


"Yummy! It has a bite!" said Barb, while Clayton said he smelled grapefruit, pear and a little lemon.

This wine was from Northern Italy in an area right next to northeast Germany. It certainly ticked all the boxes for taste. At $22 at a local wine shop it was more than I care to spend, but I certainly would be happy to drink it.

At this point, Barb brought out the winesicle. Have you seen these? Freeze them and they are supposed to keep a white wine cool. Needless to say, we had much discussion.


(At this point, only one taste in (if you don't count the Limoncello, which one probably should) we had already disintegrated into loads of laughter and side conversations. So it was a little tough to take notes!)

Photo by Cheryl Rice

My wine was next, a Sanperetto Valpolicella DOC Classico Superiore, 2015 by Roberto Mazzi e Figli.


Roger thought it was quite acidic and smelled very purple, after which we had to discuss what purple smelled like. Barb  said "we embrace the Valpolicella."

Someone else said it reminded them of a light pinot noir, not like a heavy Tuscan wine. Clayton said we should "drink it first thing in the morning instead of Welches," but I think I'll give that idea a pass.


This was $16.99 and I got it at a restaurant in Ann Arbor called Paesano's.

Barb was up next with her 2017 Rocca di Montegrossi Chianti Classico, DOCG.


There is often a rooster on the neck of a bottle of chianti, which unfortunately I did not photograph. Barb told us the story of how this came to be (if you're interested, here's a link.) You'll see this mark on a Chianti Classico.

Photo by Cheryl Rice

This one had lots of SanGiovese grapes and was $22 at a local wine shop. We thought it would pair very well with steak or red meat and my notes said, "This is very good!"

Roger was up next with Palazzo Della Torre 2015 IGT by Allegrini.


This Valpolicella came from Northeast Italy near Verona and he told us that it was described as the nose of the wine being forest floor. (You can only imagine the discussion.)

We all agreed it was excellent and at the price (Costco) it was well worth it -- $13.99. (This might have been the wine of the day.)


Somewhere around here we started talking about Pompeii being the Vegas of early Italy -- a resort community with lots of brothels and plenty of mosaics that illustrated what one can do. There were a few on-the-spot limericks and then back to the wine.

Kate offered Maraia Barbera de Monferrato DOC by Marchesi de Barolo which immediately received "Mmmms" from Barb and Jeanie.


Barberas are a really tasty wine. This one came from Torino in Northern Italy and a portion of proceeds from sales go toward the poor and the animals of the area.

Mike said "She pulled into a Sunoco station and this is what they were selling," but in truth, Kate found this excellent bargain at Costco for $11.99.

Photo by Cheryl Rice

If there was a favorite label, it might have been Anne and Clayton's offering of Toscana IGT by Casaponte.


This is a red table wine from Tuscany. "This smells SO good!" I said at the first whiff. "Lock me up in the cellar!" Clayton added.

He said they picked it because Anne liked the label and he liked the wines of Tuscany. It was definitely a good deal -- he bought it at the Meijer store for $13 (on sale). 

Rick was missing this night and around this time we all bemoaned the fact that he preferred to be with cyclists he hadn't seen in decades rather than us. (But he did have a jolly good time riding his bike around Detroit so we shouldn't feel too bad he missed much!)

Our final wine was a Colline Teramane Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOCG Savini Reserva 2012, offered by Dick.


Deep red and tremendously fragrant, it had the full bodied flavor of a really good red wine. Even I could pick up the soft cherry scent.

Unfortunately, this came from Dick's basement and he had no idea of how much it cost or where he got it, but he estimated it was about $20.


Then it was time to hit the kitchen for our dinner. Kate and Anne took on salad and veggie duties.


Mike made a marvelous sausage pasta.


As always, Barb's table was lovely...


...and her party favors perfect, the lava a reminder of Pompeii's fate.


I love how she always incorporates corks into her table settings and floral arrangements.


When all was said and done, we gathered in the living room (the wine was done by then!) and just had a lovely time, talking and hanging out. Friendship. That's what Corkies are all about. (Earlier Cork Popper posts are archived at the menu tab at the top of this page.)

Sharing with:    Share Your Style     /     Best of the Weekend    /     You're the Star!     /     Tuesday Turn About     /    Pink Saturday     

45 comments:

Joyful said...

These parties always look like lots of fun with delicious foods, wines and great laughter. It occurred to me that you guys go through a lot of wines. I assume someone keeps track of which ones have been sampled so they are not repeated. Or do you all just track the wines individually?

Laurie said...

What an amazing time! Good food wine and friends, excellent!

Valerie-Jael said...

Looks like you had a fun party. But look at the map, please, no part of Italy borders onto North east Germany! You all decorate your parties so wonderfully, and really seem to enjoy these extravagant evenings! Cheers! Hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, yum, the plates look deli!!
Funny, I must have only very few tastebuds. Looks like you had loads of fun :-)
Costco really does exist?!!!! I only know it from The Simpsons and always thought it´s a made up chain. Holy moly!
Do I feel dumb now, LOL!
Oh, Italy (or in our case Tuscany)... beautiful. The language, awww. The gesturing :-)
The plates are awesome, so beautiful!
Perfect Party favor, too!
LOL, you must really have a coupe of wines to have such a beautiful vase!
I agree. Friendship is what it´s all about. Oh, and fun :-)

My name is Erika. said...

You always seem to have a lot of fun with your Cork Poppers. I love the idea of Party like it's Pompeii. And the Lava soap made me smile. Clever. Happy Halloween Jeanie. Hugs-Erika

La Table De Nana said...

Youi are all blessed to have such a grand group:)

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As always, Jeanie, these events looks like oodles of fun, and the food to accompany the wines is very appealing too. I have a friend who is far more of a wine connoisseur than I am, and he has more money and buys better plonk, and he claims that you should never taste more than three wines one after the other, and that if you do, one taste sensation merges into the next and you are unable to appreciate the difference. Whether he is right or not I will leave it up to you to decide, but it seems to make sense. I can tell you one thing he is really able to do well, and that is match the right cheese with the right wine. Again, according to him, never have crackers with the cheese, always a good quality bread. And you have Rick to take care of that requirement - when he's not riding his bike in Detroit that is. The other day in our local liquor store (you still cannot buy wine at Costco here) they had a Jacob's Creek Australian Shiraz on sale, and I bought a bottle - and both Miriam and I enjoyed it very much. I will go back and buy a case if they still have it. So when Rick extends his bike trip beyond Detroit, and journeys up to Waterloo, tell him the wine awaits, and I will try and match it with the right cheese! Ciao! Ci vediamo!

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

I enjoy reading about your Cork Popper parties. I wish Maryland's law allowed the Costco's here to sell wine. The Barberas sounds nice, it is great they donate proceeds to the animals in the area. The label on the Tuscana is pretty. Love the table setting, colors and the plates are pretty. It is a shame Rick missed the party. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy weekend ahead.

Rita C at Panoply said...

Best.Group.Ever., and always so full of insightful information! I cannot tolerate the histamines and tyramines as a result of the fermentation process of the darker wines. I get a very bad RWH (red wine headaches), even with just a small glass. So, please pass the limoncello and pinot grigio again!
Love those party favors - hilarious - that, and the comment of Pompeii being the Vegas of early Italy.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I just love your wine group and the corker parties. So much fun to read about. Roger's comment about smelling like purple made me laugh. It makes perfect sense to anyone who loves the scent of color crayons.

R's Rue said...

Great.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

It’s always fun to read your posts on these gatherings, Jeanie. I enjoy red wines and admittedly will buy on price & interesting labels. My top bottle price limit is about $15 and if I find a sale at the local wine outlet I’m even happier.

Miss Val's Creations said...

How fun! Limencello is a must for an Italian themed party! The winesicle is certainly a creative way to keep the bottle cool. I certainly would have enjoyed tasting all of these. Since we recently joined the Costco nearby, I now feel inspired to try some of the imports they offer!

Sami said...

Always great fun :) I had never heard of the winesicle, but doesn't the ice then melt and dilute the wine?
The dinner plates on the table are very pretty.
I can bring my home-made Limoncello and join your party next time Jeanie :)

Pamela said...

What fun! I'm in Italy now! I was in Pompeii a few days ago and tried Limoncello for the first time. You have a great group of friends.

William Kendall said...

It sounds like you had fun.

Plus you didn't get buried in a pyroclastic flow, which is a bonus.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Nothing beats good food and companionship

bobbie said...

I love reading about your Cork Poppers parties!! I LOL at your friend smelling purple, and at the LAVA soap! Thanks for sharing!

The French Hutch said...

Oh love the fun theme for your Cork Poppers! You had me at the limencello and antipasto platter! Everyone looks like it was a grand time and so many delicious dishes and good wine. Lovely table. I feel like I was there too!
Happy fun Halloween.......

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I always have such fun reading these posts. I just watched the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun...again! So I am in the mood for these wines and the Limonchello! Hugs!

Sandra Cox said...

Aren't those roses pretty. And what fun. Haven't seen winesicles before but they sound great!

Polly said...

I wish I could join one of your cork poppers parties Jeanie, you have so much fun, good friends, food and wine - perfect x

Alexandria said...

What a great time you had, and a perfect combination:food and wine.
Thanks so much for the follow!

My Wonderfully Made said...

Well I don't know a whole lot about wine but it sure looks like you all had some serious fun. The winesicles . . . oh my hahaha! Love the Lava soap too. What a fun group!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

One of these days I'm going to go looking for some of your recommended wines at the liquor store! I was just introduced to a very nice, middle of the road red called, "Don't Poke the Bear". I just love your get-togethers! -Jenn

Prims By The Water said...

Although I am not a wine drinker, it looks like you all had FUN! Janice

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Sounds like such a fun time! I may have to make note of some of these wines. I wish the Costco near me sold wine! When I was in Tuscany years ago, we stayed at a vineyard that produced Chianti. I'd never been a fan before, but accompanied by the right foods, it was delicious. I've only seen it once here in all these years - at $50 a bottle! But last year in Colorado, there it was for a very reasonable price and so I bought it. It was just as wonderful as I'd remembered. Cheers to a fun post!

thepaintedapron.com said...

What fun you all have each gathering! It sounds like it was full of funny stuff!! I love that each gathering has a theme, and everyone brings a wine to sample...do you have a required price range? You are lucky to be part of such a fun loving group, thanks for sharing your special evening!
Jenna

Victoria Zigler said...

Sounds like another great get-together for you guys.

So... I have to ask... Did you guys figure it out? What does purple taste like?

Judy at GoldCountryCottage said...

Hi Jeanie. You guys always have the best fun and I have never seen such beautiful, soft fall colors as around your ditch. Thanks for your visit. I am happy to report that I am still alive and kicking and our weather is now wonderful so maybe we can stay around for a little longer this time..Happy Weekend..xxoJudy

Unknown said...

This looks like a blast my sweet friend. How fun.

Marilyn Miller said...

What fun you and the Cork Poppers have. I love seeing you laughing. Now you know I don't much like wine, but I could learn to love limencello! The party favor just made me smile. What a clever gift.

Anca said...

What a fun party. It looks like everybody had an amazing time. Fab photos!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Sorry I was offline for three days, but I guess you know I'm not a drinker. However, I adore your cork poppers parties and love seeing the wines. Mostly, though, I enjoy seeing the decorations, the food, and of course the photos of how much fun you have. LOVED the Lava!!!!! I'd give anything for a few of those corks, too (grin)!

Carola Bartz said...

You sure had a lot of fun with your wine tasting and delicious food and especially good friends. How wonderful to have these! They remind me of our "neighborhood gatherings" - once a month some neighbors and we gather (we take turns who hosts) to have food and wine (often a bottle per person since no one really has to drive), share laughter and celebrate friendship. So important in our lives.
One thing though - no part of Italy borders Germany. Maybe you meant Austria? Stifskellerei Neustift definitely are German words.

Sandra said...

Cute idea using the lava soap:)

crackercrumblife said...

This looks like it was a blast!! (haha)

The Valpolicella you brought needs to go on my list, I love the descriptions for it. :)

crackercrumblife said...

This night looks like it was a blast! (haha)

The Valpolicella that you brought sounds amazing, I love all y'alls descriptions of it. :)

And I love the Lava soap!! Such a cute idea.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Such a fun night! What a fun group of people. I'd love to do something like this when my group of friends has older kids that can entertain themselves in the basement without supervision or stay home... So in like 15-20 years. ;) But it's something to look forward to in a different season of life!

Hena Tayeb said...

Looks like you guys had a great time.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such a lovely post Jeanie.
These parties always look a lot of fun with great food, good wine and wonderful laughter … special times.

All the best Jan

Tammie Lee said...

So much fun! I would love participating.

I might have to host something like this, if I can get folks to drive to the wee cabin in the woods.

Pam Richardson said...

I love reading about the Cork Poppers’ events. You all are fun bunch that enjoys each other’s company and a good bottle of wine. Cheers!

Tracy said...

Wow... what a fun theme! There's so many good Italian wines out there, this had to be good! Ooo... a little limencello is always a great way to start something. ;) That winesicle is new to me--what a terrific little gadget! We love a Valpolicella...And a Valpolicella with "forest floor" tones--that sounds dreamy to me! Oh, and gotta have a Chinati, right?! And that Toscana label--WOW... labels themselves are often works of art to enjoy even before tasting the wine--more are! Such good wine... such good food... And those Lava soap favors--absolutely brilliant! You guys are fabulous!! How many exclamation point for one comment??!! haha... Thanks, as always, Jeanie ((HUGS))

Jenny Woolf said...

It always looks as if you have such a lovely convivial time! Had to smile at the LAVA soap! It got me to thinking what kind of party favour I would think of. There's a kind of soap here that contains lava from Santorini, but each bar probably costs as much as a bottle of wine!

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