Sunday, February 23, 2014


Wine Group Night.....February 22, 2014

As the evening winds down, you could hear people humming The 4 Season's "Oh What A Night" as people said their goodbyes....full, sated....close but not quite wined out.

But let's start from the beginning...Join us vicariously as I review another perfect evening with great friends, food, and wines!  Because...THAT is what wine night is all about.

When God created Heaven and Earth....He also created Grapes....and thus...Wine was Born!  And for that we are eternally grateful.

Tonight was California Cabernet Night.......and Wine Night began as all wine nights do, with the arrival of people AND FOOD!  Somehow, we need to get the food thing right.  Either that, or invite another 20 or so people.  I'm sure we will keep trying.

Appetizers and mains and desserts and wines!  OH what a SPREAD!

The table is set--ready for arrivals

Tonight our group was joined by special guests and (newer) friends, Xochitl and Barry Maiman....just another one of my Internet pick-ups.  Yes, I am known for trolling wine lovers on the Internet! Also joining us was (non wine drinker and son) Brian....he may not drink...but he CAN eat!

Jacqueline, Pamela, Brian, Ellen

Matt, Mike, Paul, Xochitl

Upon arrival guests were greeted with a glass of 7 Angels, 2011 Grenache Blanc.  Light, refreshing, pleasant...a perfect way for people to get in the mood for what was to come, while standing around enjoying the (many) appetizers....chatting...and getting in the groove.

Lynn provided us with an assortment of meats & cheeses and a grape compote, a spinach & kale dip with crudites, crab cakes with lemon dill sauce, and a Mediterranean eggplant spread with flat bread,and a platter of fresh berries.  Dana made mini vegetable quiches and a bruschetta with buratta cheese.  Pamela topped crackers with smoked salmon, cream cheese capers & dill, and stuffed celery with blue cheese and a dollop of apricot preserves.  Ellen brought homemade egg rolls, fried rice, and jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce.  And if that wasn't enough, we also had teriyaki chicken wings, Lynn's bowtie pasta with mushrooms, artichokes, peas and asparagus and Pamela's sweet & sour meatballs.

A few appetizers to get started

...and a few more!

OK....a little more food

Don't forget the hot stuff!

Time for the main event! Wine Tasting Wine Group Style!
Brown bagged bottles ready to pour

As is our routine...all wines have been brown bagged....and randomly numbered.  Starting with bag #1...progressing to bag #6.....tasting, talking, analyzing, smelling, eating, laughing, and jotting down notes on each wine over the next few hours....enjoying every sip along the way.

Doing what we do best!  Eat, drink, and have fun!

As always, the intensity builds, the anticipation...everyone is now thinking as we go around the table giving our individual scores:  What were we drinking?  WHAT WINE WON?!  Not that there are ever any losers.  All the wines are unique....and tonight.....they were perhaps the most different of any night!  Each wine was very distinctive and had it's own characteristics.

One thing was totally in agreement as Ellen tallied up the scores:   Everyone unanimously rated the bottle in bag #5 the WINNER!

The anticipation has been building (and as You the reader has been wondering), WHAT were the wines?  And WHAT was in bag #5???
Soooo many (great) wines

Time to unwrap!  The incredible layout of wines below:

Napa seemed to rule the night with four entries:

Arns 1995 Cabernet...this could only be from Paul and Ellen, who as always, reach deep down into their extensive cellar, to contribute something unique and unobtainable.

Cade 2007 Howell Mountain...from Dana and Matt.

Daou 2010 Estate Soul of a Lion...from Mike and Pamela

what's this..another Daou!  2011 Reserve Cabernet from Don and Lynn

O'Shaughnessy 2004 Howell Mountain from Xochitl and Barry

Robert Sinskey 2004 from Jacqueline.

So many distinctive, interesting, tantalizing wines....but tonight NAPA ruled!

The UNANIMOUS Tastes of the evening awarded #1 to:

Followed Closely by:

But WAIT!  There's MORE!  Dessert!!!   YES!  The dessert competition we have been waiting for! A mouthwatering flourless chocolate cake by Jacqueline (and an impromptu chocolate meringue that was totally mouth watering), and a DARK chocolate caramel tart with hazelnuts and espresso, provided by Xochitl...who also provided the perfect accompaniment:    Roxo 2008 Paso Melange, a port style blend of Cab Franc, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon...

Chocolate Meringues by Jacqueline

What was left of Tart by Xochitl....because the photographer forgot
to take a "before" picture!  Sorry, too busy eating!!!

Flourless chocolate cake...Who needs flour?

Oh yes, more wine...bring it on!

Everyone agreed:  The desserts were a tie!  The perfect finishing touch on yet another perfect wine night!

8 bottles of wine, great food, great friends, lots of laughs.....what more could you wish for?

And another wine night comes to a close.   Thank YOU wonderful friends.....looking forward to the next time we can eat and drink and laugh and simply enjoy life together!

A Little TOO much to drink you think?



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