Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Wine Tasting ~ Pinot Noir

Ok... for those of you just joining me... Jon and I are not wine drinkers. I joined the BakeSpace Wine Club to learn about wines and maybe to stumble across a wine that I actually like. In January I discovered a Riesling that I really like!

I got to select the wine for March and chose Pinot Noir. So far I have learned that I don't like dry wines and I don't like very sweet wines. I read that Pinot Noir had less tannins (the stuff that puckers my tongue) so I thought I'd give it a try!

March we had LOTS of wine.... more wine than we could actually taste. We drank 6 out of 9 bottles of Pinot Noir.


I ended up having 9 wine tasters, which although it was a good party, was not very conducive to actual thoughtful tasting or good tasting notes.

I think I need to max out at 6 or at the very most 7 tasters, unless I go to a more structured tasting portion of the evening. But I also don't want to dampen the fun.

Also... I think I need to invest in some VERY small glasses, so that tastes are more taste sized. My wine glasses are pretty big, and even though we try to pour taste sized quantities, it's very easy to over pour in the big glasses.

Maybe starting with small glasses and more structured tasting, we can get good notes and move on to just enjoying the wine, food and company.

Ok... here are March's tasters.

First of course Me (Marguerite) & Jon

Ericka & Drew (a little blurry... but still cuddly newlyweds!)

Whitney & Jeff


And our newest tasters John & Wynne


Now for the reviews! Hopefully next month the reviews will be a bit more informational.

Ok... first wine up was selected by Ericka


Name: Estancia
Price: $14.99
Year: 2007
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: Estancia Pinot Noir displays luscious berry flavors, spice and a rich supple finish.

Deep purpley red

~Marguerite - tastes like berries

~ Jon - doesn't bother him.. inoffensive... not tongue curdling

~ Drew - nice mild table wine

~ Ericka - not bad... doesn't fight with the fresh blackberries

~ Daniel - inoffensive... neutral

~ Whitney - very mild.. warming

~ Jeff - tastes like red wine

~ Wynne - fruity

~ John - it's good

Would you buy again?: personally... no... while not bad, it's not a wine that will convert this non-wine drinker.

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes: Drew said it's a good table wine. I'm really bad at pairing.


Next up... selected by Whitney


Name: Five Rivers
Price: $12.99
Year: 2006
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: The nose of this classic Pinot Noir is brimming with rhubarb, violets and cardamom, with hibiscus flowers and a note of vanilla from the easy oak treatment. The palate with rejoice with the taste of wild strawberries followed by tangy bright cherries, hibiscus nectar and a strong acid backbone. It's spicy, structured and complex.

red color... lighter than the Estancia

~ Marguerite - I liked number one better... but I did LOVE that there is a Goddess on the label!

~ Jon - smells like candy... sweeter

~ Drew - sweeter... more depth... better than #1

~ Ericka - more tangy than #1... not good after a slice of kiwi

~ Daniel - like this less than #1

~ Whitney - not as rich as #1... not as warming

~ Jeff - tastes like alcohol

~ Wynne - very tart... likes #1 better

Would you buy again?: Again... this isn't converting me to a wine drinker.

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes: No ideas


Third up, selected by Daniel


Name: MacRostie Carneros ~ PA Liquor Control Board Chairman's Selection
Price: $14.99 (half price as Chairman's Selection!)
Year: 2006
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: This wine is very dark garnet in color, and the nose shows bright black cherry with a bit of allspice. Full-bodied, velvety and luscious, the palate delivers all the ripe fruit promised by the nose, with just enough toasty vanilla oak to provide a soft supporting framework. It concludes with a long, lush finish.


~ Marguerite - more tannins... least favorite so far

~ Jon - berry... I like this!

~ Ericka - ooooo.... I like how it smells

~ Drew - likes it better than #1

~ Daniel - raspberry... I like this! Favorite so far!

~ Whitney - most lingering taste

~ Jeff - good initial taste

~ Wynne - best taste so far

Would you buy again?:

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes:
I've got nothing.


Next wine picked by John & Wynne.


Name: Chaddsford 25th Vintage (a Pennsylvania wine!)
Price: $15.99
Year: 2006
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: Light, delicate red with a mouth-filling combination of fruit and earthiness.


Lighter red color

~ Marguerite - less tannin than #3... berry (order of preference so far for me.. 1, 2, 4, 3)

~ Jon - sweetest so far... berry... juicy... best so far

~ Ericka - musty grape smell... slighty effervescent

~ Drew - thin... that's good... smokey flavor

~ Daniel - better than #2, less than #3

~ Whitney - very nutty

Would you buy again?: Nope

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes:
I don't know


And the next wine chosen by me!


Price: $22.99
Year: 2006
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: Black cherry fruit punctuates the intial impression of our Anderson Valley Estate Pinot Noir. Fairly full and rich with varietal velvet, fresh earth and brooding integrated smoky oak, it remains lively and charged with a youthful buoyancy that portends extended palate pleasing performance.
Gold Medal West Coast Wine Competition
Gold Medal Dallas Morning News Wine Competition
Gold Medal San Francisco International Wine Competition
Silver Medal Florida State Fair Wine Competition
Silver Medal Grand Harvest Awards Wine Competition
Silver Medal National Women's Wine Competition
Silver Medal Pacific Rim International Wine Competition
Silver Medal Tasters Guild International Wine Competition
Silver Medal Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition
Silver Medal International Eastern Wine Competition

Deeper red color

~ Marguerite - more tannins... berries

~ Jon - really sweet

~ Jeff - very dry... makes my mouth taste like a shoe

~ Whitney - richer... like it... favorite so far... enjoyable lingering

~ Ericka - fruitier... best so far

~ Drew - liked #4 and #3 better than this

~ Daniel - berry... tasted like #4

Would you buy again?: No

Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes:


The last bottle we opened was chosen by Whitney.

#6 (YOU are number SIX! I am NOT a NUMBER! I am a FREE MAN! sorry... a little Iron Maiden popped into my head)

Name: Just Good Wine - Jargon
Price: $10.00
Year: 2006
PHOTO of bottle:

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine: Bright and seductive flavors of black cherry with a hint of strawberries, cola and dark tobacco. On the palate, this wine has a smooth silky texture, followed by mild tannins that deliver structure and complexity. This is a generously fruit-driven wine with a great balance of harmony and astringency. You'll be craving a second glass.


~ Marguerite - berry - not as much tannins

~ Jon - less berry more like #1

~ Whitney - fruity... juicy

~ John - lightest so far

~ Wynne - drier

*Whitney mixed this with Fresca and it really brought out the grapefruit flavor of the Fresca.

Would you buy again?:
Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes: None


Pinot Noirs that we just didn't get to....



I served fruits & cheeses this time.

Morbier - I LOVE morbier!!




Jarlsberg Dip - I often buy this ready-made at Giant Eagle, but someday I'll make it myself. I served it cold, but it's also very good warm.

Baked Feta - this is adapted from Peter's recipe over at kalofagas.ca
Greek Food and Beyond
I hadn't planned to adapt it, but didn't read the recipe carefully before going to the store. Check out Peter's Baked Feta and the rest of his blog. If you LOVE Greek food, you'll be hooked on his blog. If you don't love Greek food, you'll be dying to try it when you see his fabulous recipes! I'll post my adaptation later. But if you haven't tried Baked Feta... you MUST try it!!


Michael Chiarello's Mushroom Blue Cheese Tart. I'll be posting my usual step-by-steps for this later too.

A few miscellaneous pics...

Me & Tawny - (she wasn't tasting wine!)

From left to right, Wynne, Ericka, Whitney, Jeff, Me, John

Ericka trying to explain when she switched from being a Patriots fan to being a Steelers fan... She's obviously possessed... see... her eyes are red! We know she's really still a Patriots fan! (although I must admit "Go Steelers" is starting to roll off my tongue much more naturally than "Go Pats!"... uh oh....)

John and Daniel

The candle is lit... this was taken during Earth Hour. With the flash you can't tell that the lights are out. (and... ummm... the Pitt Game was on too)
Ericka, Wynne and Drew

Drew and Tawny

Me with my notebook and Jon

Jon & Drew

Not a member of the BakeSpace Wine Club yet? You should join! Don't worry if you don't feel knowledgeable, everyone at BakeSpace is always happy to help and always in a very friendly way!

So that was March Wine Tasting!


girlichef said...

Very cool...thanks for mentioning this club (I'm a big wino). Would have loved to have been there..Pinot Noir's are my faves right now. Looks like a good time :)

melissa said...

I am not into wine at all (I know, I know, I'm a bad foodie), but:

1. Peter at kalofagas rocks.
2. That tart rocks
3. You're so pretty! Good to see you.

Bob said...

I wish I knew enough people to do this, it looks like so much fun!

Peter M said...

Marguerite, I enjoy Pinot Noir alot and it also reminds me alot of the Greek varietal, Xinomavro.

You know how to throw a party...these booze tastings rock.

Thank you for trying the baked Feta and I do hope everyone enjoyed it.

PS...Melissa rocks too!

Tangled Noodle said...

It looks like such fun! And the food you served - delicious (especially the baked feta and tart!

Dajana said...

Good food + good wine = heaven
Your wine parties rock!

Spryte said...

Heather... you should join!

Melissa.. I agree... thanks... and *blush*!

Bob... you don't need a lot of people... actually it's easier with fewer than I had this time.

Thanks Peter... we LOVE the Baked Feta!!

Thanks Tangled!

Thanks Daja.. you should jump in this month!