Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wine Club at Chez Moi!

Well, it was finally my turn to host wine club. Me being me, I was BUGGING OUT. I wanted to serve good food, enough to keep people sated but not stuffed. Plus I had a reputation here: I'm new to cooking and everyone knows it and sometimes that adds expectations. 

So needless to say, I was planning and replanning my menu all week; popping into various grocery stores and party aisles trying to prep. I'm happy to say it went off with nary a hitch (one minor one; I had designed little wine rating cards and I just didn't have time to print them out). 

I had my cheese plate, with garlic French toasts from The Fresh Market (I'd planned to do this myself, but I covered meetings every day this week and there are some things I just didn't get to). I had alternating rows of brie and smoked gouda and omigod I forgot how good smoked gouda is, especially plopped on top of a fresh piece of toasted bread.

I made a caprese pasta salad — so easy, so quick and delish. I got many compliments, which was great. I cooked the fusilli the night before, then chopped up cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil when I got home from work. I mixed the whole thing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. I'm having the leftovers today for lunch.

A plate of berries — raspberries, strawberries and currant grapes, which are THE BEST THING EVER. EVER. That is not debatable. If I were in debate club, and we were to defend this point, I would win by default because there is no defense necessary. They are the best. 

The untouched spread.

Votives from World Market and freesia.

This week was boxed wine and here's a lesson to impart: wine boxes are hard to open. Really hard. This is Erica, engaged in an epic struggle.

After a few glasses, things always get a little rambunctious. 

I forgot to take pictures of the boxes (hostess fail!), but here's the line-up:
  • Almaden Chablis: A light, very fruity white wine. I thought the flavor of the white grapes was very vivid and the smell honestly reminded me (in a good way!) of grape-scented markers.
  • Target Wine Cube Pinot Grigio: I got this one, because c'mon, someone had to. It was quite dry and tart, but still light. I won't hate having it in my fridge, and for $11 for the equivalent of two bottles, I think it's pretty good.
  • Pinot Evil Pinot Noir: A very smoky, very dry pinot. Miranda immediately craved barbecue, so it would probably pair well. 
  • Killer Juice Cabernet Sauvignon: This lived up to its name! It was spicy and had a little kick. 
  • Banrock Station Cabernet Sauvignon: Smoky, with hints of vanilla and cherry. Very good and apparently, the winery donates some profits to wetland preservation.
  • Pacific Peak Merlot: This was the hands-down favorite. It was a very fragrant wine, fruity yet warm with hints of vanilla. We were all loving this one.
  • Black Box Riesling: Tart, not your typically sweet riesling. I liked it okay, but since I love sweet rieslings, it wasn't my fave. 


Bret said...

I like the target cab as well.

and NO ONE got franzia??? that's shocking!

Amber said...

i know! I considered it; it seemed sacrilege not to.