Monday, January 18, 2010

Pour me some wine... because I'm not pregnant!

So this post isn't so much about food, but it definitely relates as everyone knows that a good wine pairing can really make a great meal even better if you know how, and one of my favorite events of the month are my wine club gatherings. A good friend of ours, Will Morrow, works for Gallo and started this wine club this past summer. A growing group, we meet once or twice a month and each bring a bottle of a specific type of wine - typically alternating between red and white. Then each individual or couple presents their bottle describing the vintage, vineyard, why the chose that particular bottle, and any other information they find relevant or entertaining. Then we place each bottle back in their brown paper sacks and Luke secretly pours everyone a taste of each one at a time. Kirsten serves as our recorder and keeps track of everyone's scores (on a scale of 50-100) and comments for each of the different bottles. At the end of the night, we tally them up - and whoever's bottle received the highest average score wins a wine related prize brought by the previous meeting's winner. As evidences by our group's self selected club name ('Pour me some wine... because I'm not pregnant!' Haha.), we aren't very sophisticated nor do we have very refined palates, but we are advancing and our analysis as a group seems to be improving - especially since we would initially regularly select the Barefoot variety as our favorite of the night when we first started meeting, lol.

Anyhow, our last gathering was Malbec Night! So, I figured I'd first tell you a little about Malbec and then describe our group's findings after tasting seven different varieties - including two bottles of one type, which always makes things interesting. Anyhow, about the malbec: originally a French wine, it is primarily produced and considered to be Argentinian nowadays. Will has called it a very "up and coming" wine whose popularity is steadily growing but is also still fairly under appreciated. As a result, it is pretty reasonably priced. When sampling an Argentinian malbec, one should expect a medium to full-bodied red wine with ripe fruit flavors of plums and blackberry. Also, the tannins are typically a bit tight and the earthy, wood-like appeal makes for a fairly rustic, yet versatile wine. Malbecs pair well will red meats and is adaptable enough to stand up to spicy Mexican, Cajun, Indian or Italian fare (especially with tomato-based sauces). Also try with barbecue, chili, and sausage. Malbec is a particular favorite of my own.

Like I said before, our group sampled 8 bottles of wine - 7 different varieties, as pictures above. Our favorite as indicated by the highest average was the Gascon followed by the Noveciento. However, our least favorite was the Terrazas - and by quite a margin... Generally, we found different 'berry' flavors in each of the wines and varying degrees of complexity. I must admit that we have some very interesting commentary from each of our wine club members - some of my favorites from this gathering included, "fruit bomb," "oak monster," "awkward in your mouth," and "green smell." Haha, most importantly though, we all have a great time together.

As inspired by Kirsten's diligent note taking, I found a wine journal at Borders recently and have been keeping track of all the wines I've tasted since acquiring it, including each of the 7 different bottles tasted at Malbec night. I have really enjoyed being able to keep track of them all - and it should certainly come in handy when selecting an appropriate wine for meals! I will continue to include my wine pairing notes with my blog posts as we go along, so stay tuned! :o)

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