Thursday, February 16, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: There Were Leftovers?! Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon, Nugan Estate Chardonnay, Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris

It's kind of a big joke among wine lovers that the term "leftover wine" is an oxymoron. But it happens. If you are like me and are the only wine drinker in the house. (Hubby sips every once in a while, but then again, he doesn't write a wine blog, does he?) Or you could have a situation like we had the other night: a huge party.

It was actually a dinner party - or part of one, anyway. Every year, our neighborhood association hosts a progressive dinner party. You start at one house for appetizers and drinks. Head to another for dinner. And everyone winds up together at yet another house for dessert. We were the dessert house this year, which is really a great house to be. People show up at your door with some sinful desserts...and all the wine and beer also winds up at your house. Since dinner is over, this becomes more of a traditional party, so there is much eating and drinking. Seriously, you should see our recycle bin. I am almost embarrassed to put it out, but then I figure that anyone walking by will remember that we were the dessert house and the garbage collectors will just be very impressed. So it will go to the curb on its designated day. Overflowing.

The other good thing about the dinner is that the coordinator picks out a variety of wines. After all, you have to cater to 30+ tastes. It's kind of fun to start with one type at appetizers, choose a different one for dinner and yet another with the sweet stuff. And as the very last house of the night, the open bottles stay with you (or, at least the bottles you can't pawn off on others to take home.)

This year, we wound up with three different wines after the dinner. So being the good wine blogger that I am, I gave each of them a sip and am going to tell you about them right now!

Nugan Estate, Vision Chardonnay, (2009, 13.5%, Australia, around $10) is such a pretty color! Bright yellow-gold with a bouquet of peaches and pears. It tasted of peaches and cinnamon and a bit of vanilla (or something sweetly mellow...I came up with vanilla). It was very silky in my mouth - but not "thick" like some oak aged Chardonnays can be (only part of this wine stayed in oak for a long time, and then was mixed with wine that had fermented in both stainless steel and oak - that's probably why). The finish was crisp and tangy with almost a Thanksgiving spice to it. By that I mean the spices that you associate with the smells of Thanksgiving kitchens: nutmeg? more cinnamon? Either way, it was very nice. 

Next up on our leftover list was some Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris (2009, Oregon, 12.5%, around $16). In addition to the stainless steel aged Pinot Gris, a little Pinot Blanc and a bit of oak aged Pinot Gris were added to it. These little additions really added to the wine - great depth in this one! It was a very light gold color, with a bouquet of pear and green apple and some newly mown grass. It tasted of tart apples with a little spice in them - which I think came from the oak aged wine they added (OK, at first I was confused by the oakey spice, and then I did my homework and found out about the addition of the oak aged wine and it all made sense). It had a nice light texture in  my mouth and a lively finish that kind of bounced all over. This is the perfect wine for summer sipping! And it went well with the desserts too!

Last of my leftovers was Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon (2007, 13.5%, California, about $14). I had this with the amazing beef tenderloin dinner that our hostess served - heaven!!! It has a garnet red color and a bouquet of very ripe cherries (almost like a cherry wood would smell, if that makes any sense) with a little bit of pepper. It tasted of toasted, jammy fruits and had a long silk with a little bite finish. The tannins were there, but they were warmer and toastier. I loved this wine!

What a fun night it was! Hubby and I got to catch up with neighbors we don't get to see that often (kids of different ages and nasty winters to blame), eat some wonderful food and taste some great wines.  All in all, a very successful progressive dinner, don't you think?


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