Love learning about food and wine pairings? Then you may want to become the newest member of the Tasters Guild International — a US nationwide society of foodies/wine-lovers who gather together with their local chapters to geek out on all things culinary.
While wine tasting at this year’s SF Pinot Days, I was lucky enough to meet John Engstrom and Jim Lipman of California’s only living Tasters Guild chapter, the Diablo Tasters Guild located in the San Francisco East Bay Area. They were kind enough to invite me to one of their monthly get-togethers where they sync a local restaurant’s venue and cuisine with a California winery. This month the Guild featured food with an Italian flare from Buon Appetito in Fremont alongside some Spanish-inspired wine from Bodegas Paso Robles.
Here I am, still going strong with my French wine kick. A heads up, this is going to be one of my first critical reviews, but it’s all in good spirit I assure you….
I feel like I need to give some back story. When I was I bought this wine I had a specific flavor profile in mind. I wanted something with a soft mouthfeel, something oaked (but not oaky) that would lessen the severity of any potentially dominating fruit flavors. I guess I wanted Chardonnay and Sauv Blanc to have a baby. I had a few different varietals in mind, but apparently they were too obscure for my local shop. Very sad. Now, I kind of knew when I picked up the 2015 Bordeaux Blanc from Ducasse that this wine wouldn’t quite fit the brief, but I took a chance, gave it a go, and here’s what I learned.
I will not lie to you, I was intrigued by the name, the label, and the poem on the back of this wine. Maybe I was in a place of needing patience, poise, or something just plain pretty. Well I got all of that with True Myth’s 2014 Chardonnay.
After my visit to Bonny Doon’s Davenport tasting room where I got to chat one-on-one with owner and winemaker Randall Grahm — which was both fun and educational — I couldn’t help but go home with, what I thought, was the most outstanding wine of the 12 I tasted that day: 2011 Le Cigare Blanc.
True story: I was perusing the wine aisles at Costco looking for my fav generic red blend when a Costco employee stopped to ask if he could help. Turns out they didn’t have what I was looking for. “But,” he says, “if you like that, you’ll love Tractor Shed Red.”I kinda looked at him like he was crazy-go-nuts. The thing you have to know about me is that I find blends — of any kind — hard. In my experience, everyday blends found at the local shops with cute, funky labels listed at under $20 tend to be…imbalanced. Imbalanced in aroma, taste, texture, and ultimately enjoyability.
So the fact that I even had, what I’d call, a “favorite” red blend was kind of a big deal — and I was willing to deal with the fact that they did not have it in stock. But the Tractor Shed Red price was right for experimenting, so I took a bottle home. Now, every time I go to Costco, I take two.