I have decided I may try to have people over on a monthly basis for wine tasting. Being new to Corvallis (and knowing that wine can make fast friends), I want to increase my social interactions and connect with other people who like wine as much as I do. The challenge is that I am new to town, and at the moment my social connections are relatively low...but i'd imagine a nice bottle of vino could get things going...
I picked up Vintjs - a2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir bottle by Wine by Joe in Dundee, OR. I'd had a hankerin' for a good pinot noir as recently I've been dabbling in red varietals and trying to branch out. Familiarity won out in this case, and I decided this was the first bottle for wine night (which I think will be the second Saturday night of each month - come on over!).
I got on Facebook and invited all 10 people I know here in Corvallis, plus a number of folks in Portland I know won't make it just to feel better about the number of invitees (a move as silly as the length of this sentence). I'd set the bottle on my bookcase while looking for my camera, and when I returned I realized I'd set it right next to Buddy Christ (not the REAL Buddy Christ, but close enough). I decided the hook for the party was, "Buddy Christ wants YOU!"
Hours later only one person had replied to my little Facebook invite. Ironically, my friend who decided to join me, Megan, a) did not like wine, and b) was Jewish. That shows me for being sacrilegious and ridiculous. Eventually my friend Matt RSVP'd as well, and it was ON. He suggested to go along with the time of year and the Jesus-themed invite that we dye Easter eggs as well. So a Jew, a gentile, and I got together for some water-to-wine hijinks.
We went to the wine first, Matt and I each ready to take one for the teammates who did not make it (Megan enjoyed a flurry while she watched the festivities). The color was pale and thin - light reddish-almost like dark red raspberries. It took a while to get the nose to open up, but when it did Matt noticed a light fruitiness that he decided was raspberry. I first got heavy plum, followed by berry fruit, with a sweet floral note high in my nasal cavity - oily and violety. Matt dove in first, stating that the taste was much stronger than it smelled. He found the strongest flavor in the middle of his tongue - an unnamed tang that followed a weak start and drifted to a weak finish. He noted that the flavor was not bad, just not complex enough to hit in any place but the center. I found fruit at the front - plum and cherry - with a bitter center note like fruit tea. The finish had the sense that the wine had been sitting out for a while and had oxidized, but carried a bit of vanilla along with the watery clarity.
Both Matt and I felt that the wine would be better with food rather than drinking on its own (of course we then proceeded to drink the whole bottle over the course of the night). Matt noticed that when he had it with the guacamole and chips he'd brought that it brought out some of the peppery spice one expects from a pinot noir. I stated that I thought the wine would go well with a light custard and berries, or grilled chicken and sweet corn. I did not think that it would stand up well to bolder flavors, but carried a light essence of summer. I noted I might even chill this wine (gasp!) to capitalize on its clarity and almost thirst-quenching properties. Matt disagreed on the light flavors, preferring to pair it with pork done with a mustard spice rub. He felt that pairing it with spice would increase the wine's potency. We both agreed that this wine was good but not amazing, tasty but not mind-blowing. We then each poured our second glasses and moved on to dye our eggs.
I will say that egg-dying is much more fun with wine. 9 out of 10 Buddy Christs agree!