Wednesday, January 18, 2006

don't you wish you were there?

An account of the Great Pinot Noir Tasting from my father, who gets to have this kind of fun fairly often. I ought to take a wine course.

Thursday evening our wine group had its tasting at our house.
We served the three French Burgundies you sent me for Father's Day
against three Sonoma Pinot Noirs. All the wines were lovely and were
accompanied by wonderful noshes bought primarily from the new Whole
Foods in West Hartford.

The Wines: The problem I posed for the troops was what I hoped would
be a simple one: was a wine French or Californian and which ones do
you prefer? I told them up front that all the wines were Pinot Noirs.
The hardest test would have been to order the six bottles in a random
sequence and ask for answers. However, a rich history of
embarrassments dictated an easier exam. I paired one French and one
California, matching each pair as closely as possible by vintage and
experts' ratings. The former was not a big deal because there were
only two years involved, 2001 and 2002 and the latter was not very
crucial because who believes the experts anyway. I then flipped a
coin for which one of the pair would be served first.

The pairs were:

1. a 2002 Gevery-Chambertin Les Perriere (F. Magnien) and
a 2002 Gary Ferrell Russian River Vallley

2. a 2001 Mac Murray Ranch Russian River Valley and
a 2002 Givry Les Grand Pretans (G.& X. Bresson)

3. a 2002 Merry Edwards Windsor Gardens and
a 2001 Morey-St, Denis Les Ruchots (F. Magnien)

Each of the wines was much appreciated but the test results were not
as good as I had hoped. Instead of the perfect scores I'd expected the
guests averaged one error out of the three pairs. I leave to you
sophisticated students of probability to determine whether the N (9)
and the format permits a statement about the significance of the
results. The favorite was the Mac Murray Ranch (6 votes) followed)
followed by the Merry Edwards (3 votes). When asked for second best
liked each wine received one or two votes with the exception of the
Givry. We elderly persons seem to prefer Sonoma to Burgundy with the
majority preferring the soft, fruity, not very distinctive, but very
pleasant style represented by the Mac Murray. I believe that the
Merry Edwards was far and away the best wine with the most character.
It tasted even better two days later. Since the group doesn't drink
as much as it used to, I get to finish the left-overs in the
succeeding days :( . A semi-truth from an earlier Boggle Vineyards
cork: "Wine improves with age, I like it more the older I get."

The Foods: The accompanying foods were four cheeses; two pates (with
sliced baguetttes and assorted crackers to put them on); a crusted
salami; assorted veggies with Mams' pesto and mayonnaise dip;
peppadew peppers; bing cherries marinated in pinot noir, cinnamon
and cloves; roasted cashews; Spanish almonds roasted in sunflower
oil; and finally a bag of potato chips for Mig who eats nothing

The cheeses were a Belgian Biere, a tasty semi-soft cheese like a Port
Salut but with a bit more flavor; a French soft blue that was
spreadable rather than crumbly; an extremely ripe, beautifully pungent
French cheese (like a Brie that had Limburger aspirations) that could
have been eaten with a spoon; and finally an American smoked Gouda.
The two pates were also very nice; a coarse country pate of veal and
chicken topped with mustard seeds and a creamy mousse confit of goose
and chicken liver. The pork salami was crusted with herbs and didn't
have the overwhelming garlic flavor of kosher salami. Mams thinks it
was named Primo and was made in New Jersey. Mig said it tasted very
Italian. It was the only thing he ate other than potato chips.

We finished off the goodies with green grapes, slices of Grapple (an
apple variety that purports to taste like grapes but smells like roses
and tastes like sweet flower), and slices of a dense chocolate torte.
The torte was brought to us by the As from a bakery in Vermont. It
was flour-less cake that was half dark fudge icing.

All the food was great. We probably shouldn't have eaten any of it
but the fruit and veggies. But the wines deserved the accompaniments.
All of us were delighted.


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Mams said...

Embarrassed that we re-cycled one of the bottles prematurely.

Embarrassed to find out that Grapple is artificially flavored. We thought it was a miracle of genetic engineering.


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