A Cambridge Cellar (Red White Boston Event!)
This post is brought to you in large part by @RedWhiteBoston, @WholeFoodsRVR and @PantherVin who joined forces to host a really dynamic, interesting and informative wine tasting last week! The setup for the tasting was simple; RedWhiteBoston knows wine and wine events, Panther Distributing distributes (yes, you guessed it) wine to the greater Boston area… and WholeFoods on River Street has a wonderful little room with space for wines, appetizers and people! The evening was attended by people throughout Cambridge and Boston- who really know their wines. After each tasting, we were asked to “judge” the wines with some fun… albeit vague… badges. For example “off the beaten vine” and “easy drinking.” Rarely do I find wines NOT for “easy drinking,” so luckily (for the lushes in the crowd) we were given a ‘cheat sheet’ for appropriate badges per bottle. In addition to this fun setup, we were also doing out part to help inform the Whole Foods crew which wines to purchase for the store. Thus, I’d call this, among the most productive of wine tastings I’ve attended
(apologies for the photos and lack thereof. Mine came out very poorly!)
Because there were several bottles, I’m going to keep the descriptions brief except for my favorite (skip to bottom if you want to know…). I’m also including the “badges” results of the evening.
2008 Brookman Wines Chenin Blanc (Australia)
So, in full disclosure- I missed this one because I arrived late. But I hear it was a favorite of the white wines of the evening.
2009 Vista Hills Pinot Gris (Oregon): Personally, I liked this one. It was really subtle, but smooth. It had a nice cherry finish, but left a little more to be desired throughout the rest of the palate.
2009 Conte Estate, Primrose Lane Chardonnay (Australia): For a Chardonnay, I didn’t mind this one. It was much less buttery mouth-feel than Chardonnay’s I’ve tried. I think that’s in part because it in not oaked for a particularly long time. If someone requests a Chard and you don’t tend to like them, I’d actually suggest this bottle because it’s light and texture friendly. It would have paired well with fruit and cheese.
2008 Linda Domas, Shotbull Shiraz Rosé (Australia): Surprising! This is a rosé, obviously, but that’s highly unusual for a Shiraz. So, if you covered the glass, you’d think it was a genuinely dark red wine. The taste was very well-balanced, it had a smooth mid-palate and left a hint of pepper in the finish. I think it was good; all in all, it was interesting and satisfying for a rosé. Surprise some friends with this one!
Most votes for Off the Beaten Vine (almost no one in the room had ever tried a sparkling shiraz rosé before)
Others of note: Robust and Food Friendly
2009 La Bete, Selection du Cave Pinot Noir (Oregon): Ok, time to be honest. This tasted like background music. I hardly could find the words to describe it at the moment I tasted it, let alone now. It was just a bit boring and I think even a salad with vinegar could have overridden its taste. Forgo this one.
2009 Brookman Wines “Cool Sands” Cab/Merlot: This was a fun and satisfying wine especially juxtaposed with the previous Pinot. The wine had a nice balance but what truly stood out about this one was the really full aroma. I could smell a hint of lavender, blackberry, plum and some vanilla. You could really taste a few of those flavors- mainly the vanilla, blackberry and plum, many of the other promise of the aroma fell a little flat especially in the finish. However, the mid palate was yummy and you can’t discount the fact taste is over 70% smell, so that aroma really took this wine up a notch.
2006 Conte Estate, The Gondola Grenache/Shiraz (Australia): Julia’s FAVORITE!! Apparently, I was like many others of the gathering as this was voted the winner of the evening. This was the most complex, long-lasting, full-bodied wine of the evening. There were hints of cherry, pepper, licorice (only in a light, good way), and blackberry. I really enjoyed the tannic quality and for a relatively dry wine, I loved how much of the fruit I could really taste! It also had the earthy quality I’ve come to love, which gave the wine a deep purple hue. Yum!
For some added “fun”- here are some notes about this vineyard and varietal: This particular wine is comprised of 70% Grenache and came from vines planted over 40 years ago. The remaining 30% is from Shiraz grapes on 17 year old vines growing in a very rocky part of the vineyard, which is in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The ABV 14.5%- and the smooth, rich quality of the wine is generated (according to the vineyard) from its harvest process, which is done mechanically, in batches, which allows for a very fluid and flexible fermenting process. Each grape is separately aged in American and French oaks for 12 months. Yum.