On Monday evening, our best and dearest wine shop started the Holidays off early by throwing a pre-holiday wine tasting featuring the wineries from the Philbrook Wine Experience. The Philbrook Wine Experience is a charity wine event that brings together over 40 wineries to raise money for the Philbrook Museum educational programs and museum operations. The Philbrook, located in Tulsa, OK, is a favorite of mine. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to taste some of the wines featured.
Wine + Art = Philanthropy. Tasting and buying wine for the greater good.
Obviously, there wasn’t enough time, space or manpower for our little wine shop to pour all 40 wines so the lineup was cut to 6 starters.
If I had created the lineup, I would have placed the bubbles last as the Clean-up hitter. The Blanc de Noirs was a deep golden and slightly dry. It had bread yeast aromas and citrus with a mild bitter finish. As I’m writing this, after thoughtful consideration, I concede that Amy, our wine shop somm, may be a better team manager than me. Greeting my Thanksgiving guests with a glass of bubbles could possibly defuse any pre-holiday tensions from previous gatherings that may or may not have transpired. Bubbles potentially puts everyone in a good mood in the first inning. Thank you, Lord.
This wine has a very small production and wasn’t what I expected as I moved from nose to mouth. Nice and unique. It’s made with 85% Grenache Blanc and 15% Roussanne. The texture changed from racy and bright to a thicker cream soda made of pears, raw apples, herbs and a slightly bitter lemon finish. There was even a touch of effervescence. It’s the one player that loves to surprise you by stealing a base.
Once again, my perception of chardonnay and reality is shifting. Joullian was smooth, creamy and floral with nice stone fruit. Chardonnay has always been a DH for me in the lineup. But I moved it back to starter and brought this one home. This in itself shows how much wine and wine drinkers change over time. I was a child in the chardonnay oak-boom era so I’m not sure why I let other’s past disdain shadow my opinion. I’ve tasted a few oaky butter bombs but recently like merlot, the next generation of chardonnay is a calmer, balanced version of its predecessors. It might not be first or second up but it’s in the top five.
Barra Pinot Noir, Mendocino 2013 SRP$21
Pinot, I love you. Pinot is always a solid hit, steady and dependable. With that biased declaration, I will happily vote Pinot into the hall of fame. This pinot was true to form, spicy, cherries, low acidity and would definitely go well with Thanksgiving dinner. The finish was a little weak but still gets the job done. Barra is estate grown, family-owned and operated, 100% organic vineyard which is always a home run for any team.
It came to the plate swinging with a strong aroma of fruit and berries. There was acidity on the front decked with plums and raspberries and tannins at the end. Overall, it’s the flamboyant player on the team who entertains on and off the field. It’s sourced out of northern Oregon with 4 different grapes in the blend.
Pietro Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast 2013 SRP $23
The team motto on the bottle states, “A century of wine history in every glass”. Pietro Family Cellars sources their grapes from Napa (I suspect Laird), Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake County to create this solid hitter. Down to earthiness, it’s very fruit forward with blackberries and smooth tannins. An old world style player that brings experience and balance to a team. Dependable in the present as well as for the length of the contract. I found it delicious.
Happy pre-holiday menu planning, friends and thanks to Amy for getting a decent lineup for the start of the holidays!
p.s. I’m really enjoying this World Series. For one, my team isn’t in it so no pressure. Two, I kinda like both contenders with their storied pasts so it’s just been good old fashioned baseball. Go C!