The article we based this event on was so ridiculous. “My favorite thing is having good friends over for a wine tasting…I provide wines from the blah blah fancy region of France and spend a million dollars on each bottle, which I have shipped directly from my favorite wine shop in that aforementioned fancy region of France. Then I go to my local cheesemonger and order cheeses made from the goats of angels and also whip up a five course meal for my guests.”
Marthable wine tastings are a bit different. OUR guests got to choose the wine themselves, and we fed them oyster crackers, cheese from Ellwood Thompson (which actually DOES have a cheesemonger on staff), and some completely unfancy hors d’oeuvres.
Each of the 10 couples (and Justin) brought two identical bottles of white wine from anywhere south of the equator that cost no more than $15 a bottle. We wrapped one set in cloth napkins using safety pins, affixed numbered stickers to each and set them in buckets of ice placed around the garden. The other set went into the fridge for later.
Everyone was equipped with a wine glass, a pencil and a scorecard and set to tasting. Some sipped. Some drank full glasses. There was no time limit; no order; no rules except that each person was asked to rate each wine on a scale of 1 to 5 and also to jot down some extemporaneous thoughts on each.
After about two hours, everyone had tasted all of them, and then some. An impartial panel of judges – Susan and I- tallied the numerical average for each wine and determined the winner. We also awarded a Spirit Award to the guest with the best comments.
The winner was a 2008 “Phebus” Torrontes by the Fabre Montmayou winery in the Mendoza region of Argentina. For selecting said winner, Rodney and Jackie were awarded a highly coveted, limited edition framed photo of the Marthable team and a commemorative photo on this blog.
The Spirit Award competition was fierce; this crowd took wine notes to a new level of description and poignancy. “Paula Dean called. She wants her butter back.” “Halfway between Sprite and Radiohead.” “Tastes like broccoli; a dessert broccoli”.”Robitussin.” I mean, these guys were good. But the award ultimately went to Ash for having a fantastic comment for every single wine, including “If I were a wine, this would be me.” and “A beautiful blend of a beautiful blend.”
The runner up wine was a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Miguel Torres in Chile. Other entries were:
- Paso Del Sol “Terra Mater” Sauvignon Blanc, Chile (2008)
- Bodego Carrau “Sur Lie” Sauvignon Blanc, Uraguay (2008)
- El Cipres Torrontes, Argentina (2007)
- Oak Grove Pinot Grigio Reserve, California (2007)
- Indaba Sauvignon Blanc, South Africa (2008)
- Kanu Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa (2007)
- Santa Florentina Torrontes, Famatina Valley, Argentina (2008)
- Finca El Reposo, Saint Jennet, Argentina (2007)
Next time, a new category of wine that we do not provide but our guests do will duke it out. In the meantime, we continue to strive to be a beautiful blend of a beautiful blend. [by Lesley]