Shared bottles are the best bottles – especially when consumed with friends. Themed wine parties are a fun way to share good wine with good friends, and clear out inventory to make room for new discoveries. Over the years, we’ve had fun hosting single-variety blind tasting parties with a lineup from our collection (Let’s Be Franc, Call Me a Cab, Pinot-palooza, Que Syrah Syrah). But, this past weekend, we decided to “mix it up”.
We've discovered many of our favorite wines through shared bottles with friends, or from their recommendations. So, for this dinner party, we thought it would be fun to “mix it up” and have everyone bring a bottle for blind tasting. Keeping with the theme, instead of a single variety, we requested everyone to bring a Bordeaux blend (cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cab franc, malbec, petit verdot).
The night started with Scharffenberger (yes, like the chocolate) Cremant. This was not part of the blind tasting, just something to cleanse the palate before diving in (quite the tasty bubbly!)
Tasting the wines blind always adds a fun element, as all preconceived ideas about a wine are tossed out the window. Inevitably, there is one bottle in the mix that surprises the group, and this time was no exception. Here was the line-up for the night – can you guess the winner?
2006 Blackjack Ranch – Allusion (Santa Barbara)
2009 Glen Carlou – Grand Classique (South Africa)
2010 Tobin James – 5 (Paso Robles)
2007 Vincent Arroyo – Petite Sirah (Napa). Not a bordeaux, but a definite 'mix it up'
We tasted the wines on their own, and then with a cheese course (aged cheddar, creamy gorgonzola, and camembert). It was fun noting the variations in nose, taste, and color....and hunting out the Petite Syrah! They were all very good wines, but there was definitely a clear favorite:
The 2007 Vincent Arroyo… petite sirah! Not surprised a Vincent Arroyo wine overall won the night (it's claimed top spot in two other wine parties). However… since it was a Bordeaux blind tasting, we all voted for just the bordeaux blends. It was a tight race. The winner....
Tobin James 5!
We continued to enjoy all the wines with our paired menu of braised boneless beef short ribs, roasted butternut squash with red grapes, mashed potatoes and parsnips, and green bean bundles. We finished the night with a couple of bonus bottles – Save the Ocean Bordeaux and Vincent Arroyo petite sirah port to wash down the lemonade pie.
A fun night with friends, discovering great wines!