NOT A Tasting!

22 Jul

Last night I attended a celebratory picnic dinner.

If you don’t know, I make my living in entertainment. Yesterday was my last day on a tremendously large project that makes the Bonnarroo Festival look like kindergarten. The picnic was a small gathering of key people involved in the project. Everyone’s eyes exhibited the cold, thousand-yard stare of soldiers who had survived multiple battles but still felt as if the war hadn’t entirely ended. We had gone shoulder-to-shoulder in the trenches, taken bullets for our buddies, and survived. And we needed good food and good drink!

When I was invited to attend, I replied: “I’ll come, but only if I can bring the wine.”  They agreed. In the afternoon before the event, I hit the cellar. I grabbed bottles that I like to drink, bottles I knew intimately, and bottles that would fit in at a cookout.

Upon my arrival, I commandeered a table. With my white and sparkling wines chilling in an orange ice bucket, I laid out bottles I had pulled from the cellar for this evening.

Nota tasting

Many people stopped by for a glass or three.

The first question was always “Are we doing a tasting?”

My answer: “Nope, NOT a tasting. We’re doing a drinking!”

Bottles from left to right:

Pere Mata L’Origen 2009 Cava, Spain

Mata L'origen

Hanz Eifel Riesling Spätlese 2011, Mosel, Germany


Dominique Lafon Bourgogne 2011 White Burgundy, Beaune, France

Hild Elbling Sekt Brut Sparkling, NV Upper Mosel, Germany


Substance 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington


Evening Land La Source 2011 Pinot Noir, Seven Springs Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills, Willamette Valley, WA


Chateau Larteau 2006 Bordeaux Superior, Bordeaux France


Chatea Poitevin 2010 Médoc Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux, France


Domaine Fayat-Thunevin Pomerol, 2006 Bordeaux


Adelante Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina


Bennett Family “The Reserve” 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Bennett wine purple

Modus Operandi Rocca-Collineta Vineyard Cabernet 2011, Coombsville, Napa Valley

MO Cab

Modus Operandi Vicarious Red Blend 2012, Napa Valley


Chateau Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône, 2013, Gigondas, France

St Cosme

Finca La Mata Tinta Del Pais, 2012, Ribera Del Duero, Spain

Finca la Mata

I really enjoyed the picnic, because as long as the weather held, I was able to relax, suggest and pour wines I know intimately for a lot of people, some of whom I know well, some I barely know and some I didn’t know at all. Most were impressed by the wines, expressing clarity, depth, focus, fruit, strong tannins, or spice. Some people just thought “wows, it tastes really good.” I got some people to taste and drink outside their comfort range, and some people were blown away by wines they didn’t know existed. One person said “This is awful!” and when I insisted they toss the glass and try something else, they admitted to teasing me and said the wine was delicious. (Whew!). And some people swung by the table, drinking their beer or tequila, merely observing, checking out our little ‘NOT a Tasting’

Even before the rain hit and we had to call it a night, it was a very successful evening, and a ton of fun for all!

So. What’s in YOUR glass?  

à votre santé!


2 Responses to “NOT A Tasting!”

  1. jimvanbergen July 24, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi Simone, thanks for your question. So here’s my answer, and a suggestion for you.
    These wines: all classic Bordeaux red wine blends: Poitevin is medium bodied, excellent balance and a classic 2010. Charteau Larteau is full-bodied, has a ton of dark fruit, notes of forest floor, leather and pencil shavings, powerful tannins to make a well-developed 2006. The ’06 Fayat-Thunevin Pomerol is softer, medium-to-full bodied but has excellent balance and a long, perfumed & floral finish. Each is a classic example of Bordeaux offering good balance, classic winemaking, and offers excellent value in price per bottle.

    Quite honestly, for anyone looking to explore the wines of Bordeaux, I suggest petite chateaux and to sample the various Bordeaux regions, i.e. the left bank of the Gironde estuary (i.e. Graves, Medoc, Haut-Medoc, often dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon) and right bank (St. Emilion, Pomerol, often having more Merlot in the blend), as well as Côtes de Bordeaux, eight outer zones where merlot tends to be dominant in the red wine blend and which are often lower in price than the left & right bank wines.
    Having said all that, I often suggest Sherry-Lehmann’s Unsung Heros (shameless plug, but no, I don’t have any association).
    which currently includes 2009-2012 vintages.
    they also have a more expensive mixed case of Bordeaux
    which has vintages from 2006-2012 and offers an excellent cross-section of Bordeaux’s appellations.
    Does this help? If you have any more questions, email me at and let’s continue, by all means.
    Warmest regards!


  2. Happy Wine Woman July 24, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    Have been asked to recommend some Bordeaux available in the U.S. as part of a client project – not my area of expertise. How would describe the ones shown? Help! 😀


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