Friday, March 6, 2009

Wine club

A couple of years ago, some friends of ours decided to start a wine club. Since I knew very little about wine at the time, I jumped at the opportunity. We decided to follow The Wine Club book (which sadly appears to be no longer in print, but you could probably get a used one if you want), and we took it very seriously. We came up with a year-long plan whereby each month, someone would host; the host would choose the wine and provide food that complemented the wine (suggestions are provided in the book) while everyone brought a bottle from a different country or region that produced that type of wine.

We were very serious at first. With each new bottle opened, we sniffed and checked out legs and slurped, comparing notes - some of us even kept notes in special wine journals. We started with whites and our first was Riesling. Everyone loved the Germans but hated the Californians and Australians because they were too dry. After that was Chardonnay, which didn't go over nearly as well as the Riesling. Next was Sauvignon Blanc, which we all agreed smelled like something between grass and cat pee. Things just went downhill from there, and we finally pulled the plug on the book and just started doing our own thing. 

We tried focusing on a country or region. When it was our turn, S & I chose Spain and I went all out. I cooked for two days straight . . . even took a vacation day . . . and we served up some awesome authentic Spanish tapas. Another time when we hosted, we served several North Carolina wines along with a BBQ meal. Good times! (in my Saturday Night Live lady voice)

We tried almost everything. But no matter what, Riesling (especially Dr. Loosen) is still our favorite, and it's pretty much all we want to drink. Eventually every month became Riesling month, and we stopped doing the whole tasting thing. "Wine Club" became "Wino Club" - OK, not really! I, for example, always seem to be a designated driver. And then we got bored with that so we kind of broke up for a while.

Last night our core group got together again (except for one person who was out of town) and we took a stab at starting over. Our wine for the evening was Pinot Grigio - which is even worse than Sauvignon Blanc if you ask me. But a funny thing has happened since we started wine club almost two years ago: S & I have discovered a red wine that we like: Pinot Noir. This "new discovery" of ours sort of resulted from our trip to the Napa Valley last year (thank you Q&B!!!) Pinot Noir isn't "bloody" like Merlot, doesn't "sting" like Cabernet Sauvignon and doesn't have that funky vinegary taste of Shiraz/Syrah. So I'm thinking . . . maybe next time we host wine club, we'll have Pinot Noir night. 

But whatever we go with, we'll have to chill a couple of bottles of Dr. Loosen Riesling, you know, just in case.