Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

First wine club: 2004 Pinot Noir

By Jessica Yadegaran
Monday, January 29th, 2007 at 2:33 pm in Uncategorized.

Michaela, Jenny and I have long talked about starting a wine group, and we finally had our first get together this Saturday night. We invited our friend Christina, who works in the industry, and about six others. Eight to 10 people is the ideal number for a tasting club because one bottle serves them perfectly. Here’s how ours worked:

Jenny hosted the first one and thus got to pick the theme (2004 Pinot Noir) and provide most of the snacks. She sent an email out weeks in advance so we all knew what wine to buy. Couples brought one bottle, so we had five bottles total. There was no price point requirement, which I think is a good idea, because that way you can really explore the range of a varietal’s quality, not just it’s varying expressions.

We covered the bottles with bags and assigned each bag a letter, A through F. Then we got to tasting. Tasting and scribbling on our tasting sheets that Jenny had printed out in advance. It was good that we had some foods ideal for Pinot, like stuffed mushrooms. We discussed some of our impressions then eventually revealed the favorites. Here they are:

FIRST PLACE: Not surprisingly, was Clos Du Val ($24). Michaela said we must have a French palate but I beg to differ — I think this wine is smooth without being boring. It has a nice finish for how young it is and actually tastes more like an 02. It has and probably will continue to be one of me and Jenny’s favorite wines. We’re hoping to serve it at her bridal shower in April. Eeee!

SECOND PLACE: Sterling. Only 14 bucks and so delicious. Especially with salmon, I’d imagine. A great buy.

THIRD PLACE: My wine. Gundlach Bundschu’s Rhinefarm Vineyard from Sonoma Valley ($32). I liked the overall Burgundian flavors, it was silky and had lovely dried rose aromas. I ranked this one third on my list.

FOURTH PLACE: Bouchaine from Carneros. Around $24. Too much cherry for me.

FIFTH PLACE: Concannon. It was only $9, but we could’ve lived without it. Almost had a cooked fruit flavor to it. More like a zinfandel, too sweet, than a Pinot Noir.

An Alameda couple in the group is set to host next month. I’ll share our findings with you and maybe even post photos if we get their permission. Future themes include unoaked or naked chardonnay, reislings and sparklings.

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