Monday, November 23, 2009

Drink Outside the Box - Tasting Club Edition, Pt 2

At the first meeting of the GrapeVine Tasting Club, one guest mentioned that she didn't know there was a zinfandel grape and that it was red. This got me to thinking about how many different wines we really try. With more than 1000 different wine grape varieties, most of us only drink or even know about 12-20 of them. We are really missing out! So I came up with the idea to have a meeting where we taste grapes that are a little outside the box.

We started with
Mont Marcal Brut Reserve Cava that was served as the guests arrived. Cava is essentially sparkling wine from Spain made using the traditional champagne method. Only sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France can be called champagne. Estate bottled and made from the native xarel-lo, macabeo, and parellada grapes this is a soft, sweet wine with dried apricot and apple on the nose. Flavors of yeast and grapefruit appear on the palate to offer a solid complexity from start to finish.

Nieto Senetiner Torrontes, one of my favorite whites, was next. With flavors similar to sauvignon blanc, torrontes is perfect for the summer to serve with lighter fare and white fish. But I do enjoy its fragrant floral aroma and the tastes of apple, peach and lime anytime. The torrontes went perfect with the goat cheese and fruit we served.

Keeping with aromatic whites,
2005 Domaine du Viking Vouvray was our final white. Vouvray is made from the chenin blanc grape in the Loire Valley of France. An extremely aromatic white with a classic slate minerality on the finish.

On to the reds.
2006 Windmill Old Vine Zinfandel had sweet aromas of black cherries and a hint of licorice. Interesting though that the flavors were of chocolate and coffee, much different from the fruitiness in the aroma.

2006 Nicolis Seccal "Ripasso" Valpolicella is an Italian blend of the corvina, rondinella, and molinara grapes. Valpolicella Ripasso is made by re-fermenting the above juice with the skins of the grapes used for Amarone wines. The process lends to a bright ruby red color and a rich fruit and spice scents.

A sweet ending,
2008 Fracchia Voulet de Casorso. One guest mentioned that this is her favorite red of all time and she drives about 40 mins one way to the wine shop that carries this brand. She was so excited when I told her that I got all the wines in DC! Made frizzante, which is fizzy in Italian but not a sparkling wine, the voulet was very sweet. It tasted almost like liquid raspberry jam in my mouth. A great wine to serve last and went perfect with the chocolate brownies.

Unfortunately I didn't cross-reference the football schedule with the tasting club schedule and committed a serious faux pas. Drink Outside the Box was scheduled for the same date and basically same time as the Redskins vs Cowboys game. My bad! No worries though, my faithful and adventurous wine lovers showed up...and there was more wine for everyone :-)

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