I'm getting caught up with posts that should have been done long ago. Our last Cork Poppers gathering focused on Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. All the wines in this tasting were $10-$20 at our local grocery.
(Excuse the fuzziness of these photos. Even without too much wine, I was fuzzy with my camera, and the speed settings were off! Honestly, it wasn't the wine!)
Wine guide Dick explained that chardonnay is considered a full bodied white wine, fruity and buttery.
We started off with three whites. The first was Bogle Vinyards 2011 Chardonnay (California). It was spicy and very crisp but with lots of great fruity tones. It was my favorite and at $10 a very good wine for the price.
Next up was Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Columbia Valley 2010 Chardonnay (Washington). This was aged eight months in oak barrells (the other was half-aged nine months).
It did have a nice finish and was on the buttery-silky side. But I didn't like it as well as the first. (However, a LOT of people in our group of 11 did. A preference thing -- yours, too!) At $10, those who liked it were very happy with the price!
The third white was Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Chardonnay. This was $14 and frankly, I didn't like it nearly as well as the first, either. It had that creamy finish and maybe I just don't like that finish. (Sincere apologies for this photo, but it gives you an idea of the bottle)
(Interesting to me: I generally don't like oakey wines, but this was aged in stainless steel which I generally prefer, but still didn't like so well. Better than number two, though!)
We switched to reds with Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Dick explained that both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are considered medium red wines (Pinot Noir light red and Syrah/Shiraz full bodied red).
Maybe my taste buds were off. On my notes I wrote "Clayton said 'great for after work'" and I noted "tasted sour to me; is it my meds?" This one was $10 and many folks did indeed like it.
Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) was next. It had the most alcohol -- 14.5% (the others 13.5) and should have been considered a fortified wine. (I didn't get a photo of this bottle)
Rick said "It makes you pay attention" and Roger said he would like it with a steak or a hot dog
(Cheryl said that talking to Rick is like talking to a Pomeranian, her breed of choice -- but a tad high strung, I think. So was Rick.)
Next was Chauteau Ste. Michelle 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington's Columbia Valley. I liked this one very much. Others noticed a nice complexity, while Clayton said it would be a great wine to read the paper with.
Of all the reds we had, I said I liked this best and Pat agreed. At $14 it's a little high, but doable.
Finally we enjoyed Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Bodega Catena Zapata, Mendoza Argentina. We all agreed that it was nice but fell a little short, but may have been over chilled (the wines were outdoors and we are in Michigan winter, after all).
I'd give this another try on someone else's dime before spending $19 on it, but Dick did point out that it should have been decanted.
We also learned that wineries need only be accurate within 1.5 percent of the actual alcohol percentage. At 14% the alcohol tax goes up and some wineries will understate the percentage at the top to avoid the tax issue.
Our hostess Barb had organized a Mexican feast with enchiladas to die for!
My contribution to the meal was guacamole and a corn salsa.
As always her table was beautiful.
Each place setting had a colorful bag of beans to take home. (I might add they made excellent soup in Rick's hands with spicy sausage and lots of herbs!)
Individual centerpieces capturing the theme of the evening, combining our wine theme with the Mexican one.
Everyone chips in with our pot lucks and I have to say no one left the table hungry!
And the women left the table with special party favors -- their own centerpiece!
And as always, it was most of all time with good friends, laughter and tastiness. Can't beat that!