They came. They saw. They tasted. On September 17th we had a fantastic interactive Jessup Cellars tasting party in our Brooklyn apartment. We had about 15 people pop in throughout the evening to enjoy samples of:2010 Sauvignon Blanc
We prepped for the party by trying to open up the space in our apartment creating a large area where everyone could interact with each other and sample all of the food we prepared. To help spruce up the place, I went to the Grand Army Plaza Green Market and purchased freshly-cut flowers from Lebak Farms in Chesterfield, NJ: beautiful dahlias, celosia and zinnias in fall colors. Recycling the empty Jessup wine bottles that we had, I made arrangements in various bottles to place around the apartment.
My go to specialty food purveyor in Brooklyn, BKLYN Larder took on the task of helping to pair cheese with each wine. Their suggestions were fantastic, but my favorite pairing was the Quadrello di Bufala from Lombardy, Italy that they paired with the Pinot Noir. The other pairings were:
Summer Snow, Weston VT (sheep’s milk) with Sauvignon Blanc
Bra d’Alpeggio (raw cow’s and goat’s milk) with the Merlot
Tarentaise, Reading VT (spring cow’s milk) with the Table for Four
Pecorino Ginepro (sheep’s milk) with the Cabernet Sauvignon
To this fantastic list of cheese we added a few other nibbles to pair with the wines. Homemade focaccia bread was the base for two pizzas: a margherita and a sweet potato/ caramelized onions/ sopressata. We also made crostini with an artichoke and parmesan puree and through in some BKLYN Larder house marinated olives (which I am addicted to). Oh, and wonderful friends brought dark chocolate desserts to pair with the Port.
The interactive part of our party was found in the kitchen. We displayed all of the wines on the kitchen counter, letting everyone pour their own tastes and work their way through the 6 wines at their own pace. On the refrigerator door were home-made magnets (courtesy of my wonderful husband that indulges me in all home event planning efforts) listing each wine and their tasting notes. Tiny magnets were strewn about the bottom of the refrigerator, each printed with different words relating to wine and tasting. Such as: mind-altering, bright, chocolate, cloudy, finish, perfect and my favorite blank for a “create-your-own.” Throughout the night, guests were able to pair words with various wines and share their thoughts. And everyone really got into it! I will say, some of the write-ins were a bit risqué, but here are the responses (the bold ones are my favorite):
Sauvignon Blanc: Citrus, tart, bright, grapefruit, trangy, tasty, quick, yowza. The write-ins: lovely, crisp, never ending summer.
Merlot : Dry, peppery, tannic, fruit, easy-drinking, buttery
Pinot Noir: balanced, cherry, sweet, vanilla, smoky, alcohol, earthy, oak, perfect. Write-ins: autumnal, panty dropper (come on, it’s hilarious)
Cabernet Sauvignon: Napa in a bottle, bitter, body, rich, no joke, layers, full, mushy, big, supple, aggressive.
Table for Four: Slap you mama, mind-altering, berries, slow developing, smooth, deep. Write-ins: Me gusto, full body
Zinfandel Port: Ripe, flowery, chocolate, finesse, powerful, luscious. Write-ins: Cherryliscious, dessert
Needless to say, everyone had a great time. The Pinot Noir was by far the favorite of the evening. We had to open a third bottle that we had on our shelves to satisfy the masses. The Sauvignon Blanc was a close second (as shown by the three glowing comments I received below post-party). My favorite of the night was the Cabernet Sauvignon. Always a Table for Four lover, I decanted the first bottle and actually found that I liked the non-decanted second bottle better!
Here are some thoughts from my guests:
Heather – “My favorite of the evening was definitely the Sauvignon Blanc. While I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, as I’m usually not a huge fan of Napa Sauvignon Blanc, this was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. It was crisp and light, and decidedly citrusy – just how I like it! It was the perfect opportunity to extend the summer just a bit into a cooler September.”
Emily – “This wine was a perfect white wine for the evening. The taste was crisp, semi-sweet, and left me desiring more. I was engulfed in its fruit aromas, which hinted of grapefruit and berries. It paired nicely with cheese and crackers.”
Faye – “I’m a die-hard, full-bodied Chardonnay lover…. I’m talking oaky, buttery glassfuls of flavorful heaven (I know.. us Chard drinkers are hard to come by). Nothing depresses me more than when summer ends, and perfect white wine drinking weather is long gone. Why stop drinking white wine you say? Well, I’m the same person that refuses to drink iced coffee the second the leaves turn. It just feels…wrong. So, I need a good red wine to help the transition and turn my frown upside down. Usually, this comes in the form of a velvety smooth Pinot Noir. During Morgan’s tasting the other weekend, I was introduced to the most fantastic pinot noir that has crossed my lips in quite some time. Filled with juicy notes of cherry, silky vanilla and my favorite nuances of oak, I blatantly ignored the other wines (after tasting them of course) and returned to my beloved 2008 Pinot Noir. My first tasting comment was “Autumnal”… 5 very smooth glasses later, my boyfriend was happy to see that I appropriately commented that it was a “panty-dropper”. Nuff’ said.” – (she’s a writer, I don’t know if you could tell
Everyone is anxiously awaiting the next tasting and making plans to travel to the Jessup tasting room in Yountville ASAP!