"Relationships"...actually, on the night of the wine tasting I changed the name to "The Challenge". The theme of this tasting was to see if I could stump the panel by throwing them some curves. I just finished reading the book, "Zin : The History and Mystery of Zinfandel", by David Darlington, where I learned that Zinfandel and Primitivo were essentially the same grape (one is American, and the other is Italian). I wanted to see if the panel of experts could tell the difference, or even pick which ones were "New World" vs "Old World".

As usual, I decided to try a few new recipes since I was hosting. Unfortunately I didn't plan my timing very well, and thankful my guests were not only patient, but also very helpful. Michelle came over a little early, and made a Roasted Red Onion with Thyme Butter, while Andrea prepared Scallops wrapped in Raddicio and Panchetta. (Thank you Michelle and Andrea for pulling my "bacon out of the fire" so to speak. :-) Anyway, when people started arriving at 6pm, I still had a lot of cooking to do. In order to let people chill while Andrea and Michelle helped me finish preparing dinner, we started off with a bottle of 1991 Beaulieu Vineyards Brut Reserve Sparkling Wine. This is a fairly new addition to the BV collection, and one that Michelle and I had enjoyed the week before at a tasting up in Napa. It's quite good, and reasonalby priced, especially with my BV wine club member's discount.

We finally started the tasting at about 6:45pm with Foccaia and Scallops wrapped in Raddicio and Panchetta. The first flight consisted of:

Almost no one picked these as Zinfandel or Primitivo, and most of us were somewhat disappointed in the Chase Zinfandel. (Hayne Vineyard is one of the major vineyards used by Turley in their Zinfandels, and the wine has been hyped as being, "just like a Turley". I would counter, "using the same grapes doesn't mean you get the same wine.")

Next we had the main meal which consisted of bread that Steven and Andrea brought from a new bakery near their house, Chicken wrapped in Bacon, mixed Green Salad with edible Flowers, homemade Potato Gnocci, and Roasted Red Onion with Thyme. (I was planning on making Spicy Roasted Squash too, but ran out of time and motivation.)

Having stumped most of the group with the first flight combination of Zinfandel/Primitivo, I decided to get "down and dirty" with the second flight and throw out some real "zingers". They included:

Again, this is a selection of wines that not many people have tried, and they are not typically characteristic of the varietal or region. All in all, I liked the Amarone the most, but truly none of these wines were really memorable wines.

After the tasting, I served a Simple Chocolate Tart and we sampled a few additional wines:

So, after enjoying great food, and some interesting wines, we parted company planning on the next wine tasting (hosted by Michelle and Allison). Thanks again to everyone for a lovely time. We definitely missed Barbara, (this was the first tasting that she has missed), but her stories of "Angel Lady" were almost worth her not being there.

Hosted By: Robert
Attendees: Alison
Joe and Liz
Jim (Joe's Brother)
Kathy and David
Steven and Andrea

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