Mary and I finally held the Syrah tasting last night. Joe was here, with Britta & Aaron and his parents, and was commenting on how I wasn’t keeping up with my blog. So true. What was funny about the timing of that comment was that I had taken my camera on the Cinderella training ride that morning so I could pick this up again. I thought those rides would be something fun to chronicle and get me back on track.
Anyway – the tasting was fun. We did it blind – 12 wines, listed below. The consensus winner of the evening was Martin Ranch, with both their 2003 & 2004 at the top of many people’s lists. Kathryn Kennedy was next (special thanks to Marty for the contributions!). And, a surprise entrant on the favorites list was the River Star 2003 that I had picked up in Cayucos this fall when spending a long weekend down there with Molly and the puppies. The Australians didn’t fare too well this evening. Funny – both of those wines I read about in Robert Parker’s column in Business Week (did I get the year wrong when shopping? Will have to check…) and the Shoo Fly came highly recommended by the guys at the Wine Club over the holidays – but it was probably the least liked of all. Of course, there wasn’t anything that was a bad wine – just some we liked much, much more than others.
As always we had plenty of food. A good thing because at one point Mary and I thought we were going to cancel the evening. Only Rich and Debra had replied yes to the eVite. But then Adam’s parents could make it and brought a friend. And Joe’s mom & her husband were in town. Val returned home from Manhattan. Suddenly we were a crowd again. Rich made his signature guacamole. Had some appetizer sausage, mustard and crackers that came from one of our Coffee Boys (thank you, Victor!). We had the Silver Palate Good Times derived veggie chili – yet another meal that would not have happened without Mary’s considerable efforts – chopping, sauteeing, and having to take direction from a frazzeled hostess who keeps her mods to the recipe in her head.
And then there was the cake…the Chocolate Blackout Cake from Serendipity’s “Sweet Serendipity” cookbook. It’s a four layer cake that I thought would be a rational size because the recipes said the cakes would collapse while cooling. The picture in the book looked a little bigger than a normal height cake, but not by much. The thing is a foot tall. And when I picked it up to take it to the fridge for storage, it felt like it weighed 10 pounds – with 1/3rd of it eaten. Britta also brought the roll cake, but I think that will be dessert tonight.
All in all – another fun evening with great friends. Look out for Sunday night dinner next week. Jennifer will be up from SoCal and we’ll have some other first timers. Need to start thinking about the menu.
As promised…the wine list:
1) Kathryn Kennedy 2004 Syrah (SC Mtns)
2) Ursa 2003 Syrah (El Dorado)
3) Kathryn Kennedy 2003 Reserve Syrah
4) Martin Ranch 2004 Syrah (Therese Vineyard, SC Mtns)
5) Tablas Creek 2004 Syrah (Paso)
6) Montes Alpha 2004 Syrah (Chile – Alpalta Vineyard, Colchagua Valley)
7) Kathryn Kennedy 2003 Syrah (SC Mtns)
8) Woop Woop 2004 Shiraz (South Eastern Australia)
9) Martin Ranch 2003 Syrah (Therese Vineyard, SC Mtns)
10) Sedna 2003 Syrah (Napa)
11) River Star 2003 Syrah (Paso)
12) Shoo Fly 2004 Shiraz (South Eastern Australia)