The morning of our Cork Popper reunion, with the theme "Quarant-wine," started with an ER trip for Rick and ended with us all tasting seven wines, enjoying a fabulous feast of appetizers and desserts and having a non-stop, "It's been 16 months since I've seen you!" catch up party!
The morning of our party, which was to be on Rick's patio, began with a call from him shortly before my 8:30 physical therapy appointment -- he was sick as a dog and after a talk with our doc, I took him to the ER. (PT has been rescheduled.) Four hours later we were on the way home and he was feeling much better. It was a diverticulitis attack/infection and it eased almost as quickly as it came on. I was elated!
|Photo by Cheryl Rice|
I power-set the patio of our group of 12, relieved it could go on and even more so that I had made my cake, deviled eggs and ham sliders the night before. I was also glad that we had decided to use paper plates, especially after everyone left and clean-up was a breeze. That was a good thing -- we were both exhausted!
|Photo by Cheryl Rice|
For those new to the Marmelade Gypsy, Cork Poppers is our wine tasting group. Each couple brings a different bottle of wine and we taste and (usually) discuss it. Don't expect erudite comments during these conversations! If you've read any of our previous posts (archived above on the Cork Poppers tab) you know that our comments will never be included in "Food and Wine." (Although Popper Mike said we should have them on youtube!)
|Bob introduces his wine|
Cheryl and Dick contributed to the beauty of the table with lovely roses in a wine decanter (one great hostess gift!) and Kate kept everyone informed of the day's events while we were still in limbo at the hospital (note to self - next time bring the tablet to the hospital so you have your email address book at hand!) Cheryl also supplied many of the photos for this post as my battery was on its last legs!
Usually I have more to say about each of the wines but this time we were just so darned glad to see each other that, with a few exceptions, we bagged the background of the wine and just enjoyed. I'll list them below -- but the comments, unless otherwise indicated, are mine.
|Dick, Cheryl, Roger and Kate catch up|
We started with a Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc, 2018.
Cold, crisp and delicious, it was a wonderful start to our afternoon, which was very hot, even under shady trees. This wine, from the Columbia Valley, is readily available around in the U.S. nationwide.
|Bob, Clayton and Dick - photo by Cheryl Rice|
Starting with light and moving darker, we went to Kate's Rose, called Villa Sparina.
Rose can be a hit or a miss for me. I like the cold, freshness of a dry Rose, especially on a hot summer day. But I don't like sweet wines and some are. This one, though, I would buy in a heartbeat. It had a wonderful color and was dry and delicious. Kate got it in the 6-for-$60 package from our local wine shop and I will definitely go get a bottle of my own of this one for about $13 retail.
Our third wine was from Anne and Clayton, Quedarse Garnacha, 2019, a Spanish wine. Anne introduced this one -- it was a deep purple with smooth, round tannins. "This is sure to be gone quickly," one of our merry band said.
Other comments were "Very pleasant," "Very drinkable," and Dick's noted, "I've never had this grape by itself. This would be good with chicken -- more like a Pinot an less like a deep red." I like the dryness of it," Clayton added.
|Anne and Clayton - Photo by Cheryl Rice|
Anne got this from a wine club that she and Clayton belong to. The non-member price was $19.95 and the member price was $13.
Our group drinks reds, for the most part and we had quite a selection. The fourth was Bourgeuil 2017 from Roger and Meredith. It was a Cabernet Franc and had wonderful rich tannins, tasting of cherries. It's from the Loire Valley and was $16 at our local wine shop.
(About this time, Roger, seen in the photo below in the Hawaiian shirt, said, "What's that big bird out there" (on the lawn). We reminded him it was actually a squirrel, although we liked Mike's interpretation of the "grand tufted peacock of South Dakota" better.
|Roger and Barb -- Photo by Cheryl Rice |
I was up next with one of my favorites -- Arcos Toscana, a Tuscan wine. This was part of our 6-for-$60 deal at the same place Kate found her wine. When Rick and I had it several weeks ago, we knew we would have to share this with the Poppers.
Everyone gave this one good reviews, including a "thumbs up" from Clayton and comments of "Really good!" from Dick, Roger and Barb. It's rich and fruity and you really get the sense of the fruit, though it's not a sweet wine, like a sherry, for example. It's a full blown Tuscan red. The market price would be $15.
Barb was up next Z's 7 Deadly Zins, a California Zinfandel. This wasn't my favorite but I suspect that it was because the flavor profile was considerably different from the one before and it tasted slightly more -- not bitter, really, or sour, but enough different that I would have preferred to have had it later.
We came to our last wine, from Bob -- Three Finger Jack, 2019. This came from our Meijer store (a large superstore) and is a Northern California wine aged in rum barrels.
My notes had "really good" and comments were that it would be delicious with pork or barbecue.
No guarantees on which of these are available in other parts of the country or internationally. Most of ours came from either the market or local wine shops. While we all had favorites, there wasn't a bad one in the bunch!
After the tasting (with a wonderful cheese and cracker selection by Bob) and a telephone catch-up with our Popper-alum Pat, who lives in Savannah, we enjoyed quite the feast!
There were ham sliders, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktail, tomato/mozzerella/salami skewers, an enormous charcuterie/antipasto platter, Rick's bread (made after he got back from the ER) and a variety of spreads.
For dessert I made a cake with my new Nordicware bee-pan and Kate brought fabulous cookies from Goody Goody.
|Dick and Cheryl|
Everyone left with party favors that included framed couples photos from our past events, hand sanitizer and a noisemaker. But most of all, everyone left with smiles.
|Our Happy Group -- Photo by Cheryl Rice|
It felt good to be normal again.
Cheers! (Check out past Cork Popper posts, organized by country or type of wine.)