There’s no better, easier, quicker, or more fun way to expand your knowledge base, and enjoy getting together with others who have the same passion.

One of the greatest joys of my wine life was to get turned onto The Wine Century Club. (Thanks, again, Wannabee Wino.)

This month’s meeting had Jim Caudill, Sondra Barrett, Jose Diaz, and me swirling, sniffing, sipping, and tasting these wines with great Asian cuisine at Chinois Asian Bistro… once all wines were tasted.

This meeting had a lot going on. We felt sorry for anyone around us, because we were the worst cork dorks ever. I even brought “jimmy” with me for the night. “jimmy” is a commenter on my wine blog, who became so disgusted (about 40 comments later) with the line of reasoning and whining on my “Plastic Corks are going to be the death of me” blog post, that he wrote… “now I know where the name ‘cork dorks’ come from.” I brought a print out of his comments with me, because he was so  direct. I was also racing to find jbrown’s comments, too, because his comments were classic. I knew that they would add a lot of laughter to what we were doing. I didn’t find them before I left, but I’m now including him, for the sake of our minutes:

Here’s what jbrown had to say:

“pathetic, if you have to struggle with a synthetic cork to open a bottle or remove it from a worm than you shouldn’t be drinking. a rabbit! a rabbit! there is $50 wasted when you could have spent it on a better bottle of wine.

“you aren’t wine lovers, you are weak and sad fetishists, i imagine you all own special crystal ware that you can only drink with a certain wine. clueless.

“go back to smoking cigars or whatever you whiners did before you started letting the blogs and spectator tell you what to think.


My response to jbrown was, “You’re the best.”

I left the house with a case of Riedel glasses, my wine glass bag (with an Eisch glass and a Ravenscroft glass), the wines, the wine notes, my camera, my purse… Anyone seeing me with all this stuff would think I was moving into the restaurant. I wonder if jbrown knows that a wine glass carry bag exists? That should put him right over the edge, I’m thinking.

Ravenscroft glass review, during this meeting, will be tomorrow’s topic

To the wines….

August 11, 2010 ~ White Wines

2008 Rocca Soave Classico ~ Garganega 100% ~ Italian

Big yum on this one. It was our first wine, and because it was in a Sauvignon Blanc bottle, I took my cues for it to be the lightest that we were going to be tasting. I was correct. (Good rule of thumb.) Jim told us that this variety was the wine that soldiers of World War  II, who traveled into Italy, brought back with them…

It was very clean with a lemony steeliness to it – just very fresh and a great palate waker-upper. The finish was soft, and very enjoyable.

2009 Arnaldo-Caprai Grecante Grechetto Dei Colli Martini ~ Grechetto 100% ~ Italian

Our next white wine… This one was in a Burgundy-style bottle, so I was thinking it would be a bit heavier than the Soave, and that also proved to be another good rule-of-thumb decision. This one was more complex. I found an aroma that’s familiar to me, but I’ve never been able to put my finger on it… You know how that goes? Sondra said, “chicken soup,” and I got it. I love chicken soup… it’s warm, friendly and has sweet aromas… Delicious with so much to offer. This wine delivered.

I felt that it might have been malolactic fermented (because of its complexity), but it was aged in stainless steel. It’s complexity comes from being hand picked, collected in small containers, and gently pressed. All of this TLC lets a wine keep so many of its original aspects, that was its charm. On the finish, it had a lovely light olive oil complexity. This is a very special wine to share with great people.

2003 Oak Knoll Oregon Niagara ~  Niagara 100% ~ Native American, Vitis labrusca

An older wine was only tasted so that we could say that we did it. Now, I’m going to get a new vintage, because that will make more sense to get the “grapyness” of this wine. Now we know more about Niagara, all checked it off…But I’m off to get a new vintage to get a real handle on what it can be like at its best. I’ve had this bottle for a while, but need a new vintage. I owe it to the club members…

August 11, 2010 ~ Red Wines

NV Todd Hollow Vineyards, Erik’s the RED ~ Proprietor Red Wine has become the official “Wine Century Club of Windsor, California’s “put-you-over-the-edge” wine. This wine is a blend of 18 different varieties ~ Paso Robles AVA

Petite Sirah, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvedre, Rofosco, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Cabernet Franc, Rubired, Counoise, Dolcetto, Barbera, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Sangiovese.

This wine is 14.9 percent alcohol, so you know it’s a fruit bomb. We experienced a melange of aromas, we all loved it, and had great thoughts about a Whahoo Barbecue… At $20, this is well worth the price, even if you’re  not looking for a wine to put you over the top with your list of 100 wines. This one did have Jim Caudill cross that great benchmark. Erik’s RED… The wine to make Wine Centurions out of us all…

2004 Beronia Rioja Reserva ~ Tempranillo (with a blend of Mazuelo and Graciano) ~ Spain ~ $16.00

This wine, because of its age (2004) was tasted next. It was soft and silky, yet very dry on the finish. I knew that this was a wine begging for food, versus a wine that would stand out in a crowd on it’s own. With the alcohol at 13.5 and the age being seven years, this one – if tasted first – would have just shone on its own merits.

I waited until we had foods to go with the wines, and asked everyone to taste it once more, after tasting the taro root fries… That was the ultimate selling point. This wine was meant to be enjoyed with food, and so we did. It was beautiful with food. So many European wines are much better with food, because that’s the goal of winemakers in Europe… mostly.

2007 Arnaldo-Caprai Montefalco Rosso ~ Sangiovese 70%,  Sangratino 15%, Merlot 15% ~ Italian

Our final wine for the evening… Having tasted Sangratino at our last WCC tasting, we immediate recognized the flavor profile of this variety… Even over the 70 percent of Sangiovese. I find Sangiovese to be a more light bodied wine, when not in a Super Tuscan blend (Sangiovese + Cabernet Sauvignon). The small amount of Sangratino definitely was a flavor we could pull out. I brought this one because Jim Caudill had missed our last meeting, and I knew that he most likely would be tasting this for the first time… and checking it off his list.

Jim Caudill arrived still needing more wines to cross that border, and when he got home and calculated his wines, he was happy to report, “Having reached 104 varietals, I am applying for membership in this most august body, and many thanks for your consideration.”

Ha!… He makes me laugh. I can only image what it would have been like to have jbrown at this tasting, too.


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