I have a very, very sweet gig – taste wine, maybe invite some friends to join… and write about it. That’s a whole lot of fabulous right there.
Earlier I announced that I’d be having a┬ápinot party to taste my way through a number of BC wines. Turns out a few of my friends decided to join me on my dangerously yummy mission. You know who you are, and I’m grateful.
I haven’t been part of a varietal-specific evening before, and it was an absolute blast. Made food choices easy because people didn’t have to ask me what they could bring – I simply informed them of the 12 bottles of pinot noir we were to consume, and attendees brought everything from salmon, spinach and mascarpone stuffed baked goodness to cheese and chocolate. We were covered.
The lineup was varied in production and age with small lots going head-to-head with larger production contenders. But considering this is BC, production at many wineries is usually capped at something reasonable. We’re just not that big. Yet.
We started out tasting, but ended up drinking. In my books that’s a successful wine night. We had a few professional wine-o types (a viticulturist, a marketer and a winemaker), some non-professional wine-o types (let’s just call them happy consumers) and a few in between (yours truly, and a chemical engineer who spends far too much time around wine). It’s always good to have a mixed crowd when tasting – way more interesting.
We brown-bagged the bottles so as to have as close to a blind tasting as possible. A few guests tweeted (hashtag #pinotparty, not to be confused with #pintoparty); take a peek and see a bit of the play-by-play. (remember: we were socializing, and that significantly impedes my ability to tweet, drink and chat)
One party-goer said that after ranking the top three, the rest were are fairly close – BC wine tends to do that. Our folks make pretty good booze.
Without further ado, here’s the breakdown in popular vote:
- Arrowleaf 2006 (picture perfect pinot noir, classic taste with wet stone and fresh berries)
- Stoneboat 2007 (heftier, bricks and mortar meets end of season strawberries – you know, the small and real intense kind)
- Tinhorn Creek 2007 (strawberries and clay – delicate) / Gehringer Brothers 2008 (pale beauty, softer and quieter)
The rest fell somewhere around 4th place, give or take an “ooh” or an “aah” moment. In case you’ve forgotten what else was on the pinot menu, here goes:
- D’Angelo 2006 (tied for someone’s 2nd choice)
- Mount Boucherie 2007
- Stag’s Hollow 2006 (tied for someone’s 2nd choice)
- Robin Ridge 2007 (someone’s 1st choice)
- Eagle Bluff 2008
- Le Vieux Pin 2006
- Inniskillin 2006
- Silkscarf 2006
Our surprise for the evening was a contribution by the Oldfields from Tinhorn Creek: a 2003 and 2005. All I can say about the 2003 is wow – drink it if you’ve got it, because it’s absolutely stellar. By far my favourite of the night, even though it wasn’t in the original lineup. There’s much to be said for late entries.
What I learned from this night was that you can’t judge a wine by its bottle – I’m the first to admit that I have packaging bias. Often it’s unintentional, but it’s there. I get caught up in the pretty font (oh, I love me a good font) and nice labels (texture is everything). Taking it beyond the marketing and straight to the booze was definitely the way to go. Turns out I liked some way better than others I thought for sure I’d be swooning over.
Ultimately, the best way to un*wine*d is with friends, food and fun. After all, isn’t that what the whole wine thing’s about?