Wine tasting with friends in Sonoma County
My friends and I got together last week for an informal wine tasting party. It was a blind tasting — the bottles were wrapped in paper bags — with a couple of basic rules:
- This was a red wine party; no white wines allowed.
- There was no limit on price.
With these very basic rules, I went wine hunting at Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa, Calif. Since I don’t drink much wine, I didn’t have an emotional attachment to a particular variety or winemaker. My goal was to find a wine I knew no one in my group would copy.
I went to the “South American” section and found myself studying a bottle of 2007 Bodega Colomé Malbec Estate from Argentina. This wine was awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator magazine, so I was willing to risk my reputation on this wine. Its price of only $20 added to the allure.
My hunt was rewarded; I was the only person who brought a South American wine. Virtually all the other wines were either Californian or Australian. (A lone French label didn’t perform well).
That evening we tasted 17 different wines with copious amounts of food as well as memorable commentary and conversation. How did “my” malbec stand out? It won second place, which made me very proud.
It also surprised my friends. “Malbec? What’s that?!” Well, they have an idea of its merits now.
Following are the top three wines that pleased my friends’ palates and made memories from our party. (Click on the wine name for details from Snooth.)
- 2007 Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasters tossed two-centers such as “smooth,” “really good” and “The finish is capital.”
- 2007 Bodega Colomé Malbec Estate. Some samplers said, “a little bite” and “very dry finish.”
- 2004 Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Aspiring oenophiles opined, “a stand-alone wine” and “dark, oaky, complex and smooth.”