Despite the fact I LOVE that writing for this blog can often consist of hanging out in my bed drinking wine (I mean, what else does a girl need?), I was thrilled to get out and about this past weekend on self-imposed assignment (oh...poor me).
The Mission, Should I Choose to Accept It...
I get to hang out with all the coolest fermentation enthusiasts - my friend Chris being one of them. It was he who invited me to the 3 Fools' Annual April 1 Party (thanks buddy). The promise was a chance to taste some good wine, eat some good food, and listen to some good music (lots of goods apparently). After doing a double check on Facebook to ensure that this was not some elaborate prank among pals, I planned to make an evening of it. The day was BEAUTIFUL beforehand, so I was very excited to get to wear cute shoes and a sundress that evening. I may be a girl who plays in the dirt and climbs mountains, but I LOVE a chance to get pretty!
Welcome to the Main Event
The party was out at Emerson Winery in Monmouth, a long, rambling shed of a space that was half-barn, half airplane hanger, and all amazing. I was greeted immediately at the door with what I can only imagine is true 3 Fools style. A giant blackboard sported mad-lib style fill in the blanks where patrons could plug and chug amusing combinations of verbs and adjectives. I was encouraged to sign in and get tickets for door prizes (canvas bags, shirts, and amazing hand-made cribbage sets in the shape of the number 3). The band, Wild Hog Gumbo was pickin' and wailin' up a storm despite the deadening acoustics, and at the back there was a table sporting finger foods by Block 15.
Oh...and there was wine!!!
There were three wines offered by the Fools for tasting. I worked through them throughout the evening and enjoyed each one:
- '08 Pinot Noir: generally what I love about pinot noir is that it is delicate, thready, and forces me to focus my attention onto it fully in order to gain a sense of what I am drinking. This pinot did none of these, but I loved it anyway because it totally surprised me. Darker and richer in color and texture than what I know of pinot noir, this wine sported a deep maroon that was almost purple. The nose was musky and deep - right in my face with strong cherry and plum and a spiciness that did not seem peppery, but more of a clove. There was an overall sweetness in the nose that lingered after I'd stopped smelling. Upon tasting I found those cherries and plums to be powerful initially, giving way to smokiness, and a tart finish. While sipping and talking I detected a light sense of sweet clover in my mouth that hung at the top of my palette. I had a very strong emotional reaction to this wine. It hit me hard in the gut because I was expecting the high-falootin' sensibility of what I know of pinot noir, and instead I got his accessible, blue-collar wine that made me feel comfortable and kicked back. I instantly wanted hot grilled sausages and mustard with a thick, crusty roll. I could drink this wine all day and then some!
- '09 Syrah/Viognier: This was the second wine I tried, though at that point I was ready to just stop and get myself a bottle of the first! I noted its cloudy and rich color and the satisfying way it clung to the sides of my glass and was instantly bought in. The nose had a green, herbal aroma - kind of like blackberry bushes after rain - that combined with dark fruitiness. I found a lovely topnote of violet that danced with a sweetness I never could identify but loved. The taste was deep and sensual - berry fruits, chocolate, and vanilla with a sharp dankness on the finish. This too was an amazing comfort wine - one I would happily eat with a big plate of spaghetti, cheesecake, or late-night munchies...maybe all three.
- '09 Pinot Noir: This pinot was served to me straight out of the barrel, and its clarity and delicate appearance promised a more traditional flavor. I was so entranced by the color - a deep near-violet - that it took me a while to even get to the tasting. The nose took a while to open up, but when it did I got tart cherries, pepper, and dark fruit. It hit me hard with a peppery punch that flirted with cherry and black raspberry. The strong sense of oils and tannins conjured the idea that the wine tasted like how my best-loved baseball mitt smelled (and I mean that as the highest compliment possible). The finish was long and grassy with hints of blackberry leaves and herb garden high up in my nasal cavity and deep into my throat. Closer to traditional, this wine still gave me a pleasant surprise with its rich complexity and vivid flavor. I could just as easily drink it with a classic steak dinner as I could a ballpark frank with extra relish - it was accessible enough to make me feel at home, and intricate enough to take me places.
I was very pleased by this event - it was a great way to spend a Friday night! The people were warm, the music lively, and the food delicious and creative (who does not like bacon-dusted brownies!?!). Mostly though, I was incredibly impressed by the 3 Fools' wines. I found them to be remarkably creative, terribly intense, and beautifully executed. At the end of the night I got to meet the "Fools," and have a short chat. Once having met them and sampled their wines I can say that their love of whimsy, dedication to their art, and appreciation for the fun things in life play out in their wines. I'd gladly uncork anything they throw my way!