Jeff Leve, Bordeaux Writer and Facebook friend, sent me an e-mail recently that simply read, “Hi Eve, If you ever have a Bordeaux class or a Rhone class, I’d be willing to speak at either. Let me know. Thanks, Jeff Leve”
And that was all it took to send me, and our Grape of the Night (GOTN) leader, Rusty Sly, into Bordeaux heaven.
Jeff Leve, apart from being a Bordeaux expert, runs TheWineCellarInsider.com – the chat room is akin to Facbook on wine. I had met him, briefly, at a private wine tasting once, and was somewhat surprised to see that our little wine group had caught his attention.
A flurry of e-mails and we settled on 12 people – but 15 had confirmed before I realized this and another two were on our waiting list – for our monthly meeting at my house.
Dear Grape of the Nighters,
Surprise! GOTN has a road trip for its October meeting! Noted Bordeaux journalist Jeff Leve has offered to host our October Grape of the Night: Bordeaux!
Rusty and I are uber-excited!
The date: Monday October 3 at 7 p.m.
Place: My new Kitchen!
Yours, in wine and out, Eve
Attendees were to be Don and Cheryl Dellepiane, Denise Lowe and John Dickey, Chuck and Heidi Wiedeman, me, Eddie, Rusty and Tracy Sly, Debra Bizek, Larry McClements, Rich and Mindy Bezjian.
It was the first meeting for our group outside of Valencia Wine Company, and with someone else selecting our wines – but the spirit of GOTN is to learn what we can about a given varietal, so we were all enthusiastic about the evening.
And I, in true blond form, spent days setting up tables, cleaning my house inside and out, searching for cheeses, selecting a menu, polishing wine glasses and then breaking said glasses…
Side note, while prepping for the evening I found a really cool site that showed me how to make my own cheese markers from corks: http://thegreenbacksgal.com/diy-cork-cheese-markers I felt like it was a sign that the night would be perfect. Well…
Fast forward to the night of the event.
As guests arrived, we sipped on a 09 Point Concepcion Santa Barbara Pinot Noir that Larry had brought, while Eddie and I gave impromptu tours of our recently remodeled kitchen and master bath. We munched on cheeses, laid out three glasses at each setting and settled into our seats.
Jeff sat comfortably between the two dining tables, after pouring out three wines from the right bank of Bordeaux for our first taste. These proved to be Merlot predominant wines, as is the case he said for the region, but with rigorously different noses that ranged from barnyard to chocolate.
“I pay for length, and how long I can feel and taste the wine.”
“The riper the tannin, the rounder the mouthfeel.”
From the right bank we moved over to the left bank for the next three wines to sample. These, as Jeff explained, were more Cabernet Sauvignon based wines. Where before we got a lot of tannin now we would get more fruit, specifically, per Jeff, cassis.
One more Jeff-ism before I got lost in the wine was:
“Cabernet Sauvignon means is more refined and formal than Merlot based wines.”
As Jeff answered dozens of questions about Bordeaux, I headed to the kitchen to help Eddie get the pulled pork ready for sliders, and then later, to serve my Strawberry Cabernet (one full bottle in the recipe for such a big group!) Sorbet.
It got kind of late for a weeknight meeting, all agreed to return to our regular format next month where Rusty will lead us in a tasting of new world Meritage, also known as Claret!
06 Chateau Fleur Cardinale, Saint Emilion
08 Chateav Smith Havt Lafitte, Pessac-Leognan
08 Chateau Gruaud Larose, Saint Julien
04 Chateau Hawt-Batailley, Pauillac
08 Chateau d’Armaillhac, Pauillac
09 Chateau Cotes de Bonde, Saint Emilion
08 Chateau Ormes de Pez, Saint Estephe
If you would like details on Grape of the Night, or would like to attend a future meeting, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org