Sunday, March 16, 2008

Gee... life is hard

My daughter is getting married in August and we're working on all of the details for the service and the reception. Parts of the preparation have been a lot of fun.

Alexis and Christian wanted two things at the reception... live music for dancing and decent wine (we do live in wine country). That presented problems. Volume rules and anti-alcohol policies ruled out many different spaces. Add to that the fact that we live in Santa Barbara where everything costs more and the possibilities narrowed quickly. We chose a venue that met our hopes, was reasonably affordable (it is Santa Barbara so reasonable is relative), allowed live music, and had a great menu. We tasted the wines available and at $20 a bottle and up, we were less than impressed. There is a $10 corkage fee so we figured anything $10 a bottle or less and we'd be ahead of the game. So... we've been having tastings of sub $10 wines.

This evening we were tasting some whites. Today, I picked up two bottles - a Tiger Hill Sauvignon Blanc from India! (as a joke, we tasted some Indian wines when we were in India in October and they were bad) and a bottle of Montes Chardonnay from Chile. From an earlier shopping trip I had bottles of Kono Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, a Firestone Chardonnay, a Fetzer Chardonnay, and a Kendall Jackson Chardonnay - all of which were well under our $10 limit.

Cheryl made some amazing chicken and Cheryl, Alexis, Christin, and I had dinner and tastes of 6 wines.

Here are some thoughts...

Tiger Hill - very simple, watery... let's just say that everyone dumped their little tastes.

Kono Sauvignon Blanc - This wine is from the Marlborough region of New Zealand which is known for wonderful citrusy wines. Some great ones like the Kim Crawford cost $13-15 a bottle. The Kona still had some of the grapefruit flavors I associate with this region but it didn't have a lot more than that. I liked it. Nobody else did.

Fetzer Chardonnay - years ago we used to drink Fetzer Sundial and thought this would be a reasonable wine to try. The label said "apple, pear, and tropical fruits." I tasted a dominant flavor of banana which I'm not crazy about. Everybody else liked it more than I did.

Montes Chardonnay - Alexis took a sip and immediately dumped it. She said, amoxicillan! bubble gum flavored amoxicillan." Everyone dumped it.

Firestone Chardonnay - I liked this idea since Firestone is a Santa Barbara winery and they have reasonably good wines. This chard had a bit more citrus than the others. I liked it. Alexis and Cheryl didn't.

Kendall Jackson Chardonnay - KJ has some vineyards right along route 1 in the northern part of Santa Barbara county and blends grapes from a number of regions including Santa Barbara County to make these lower level wines. While this one wasn't a great wine, it also didn't have any overwhelming flaws. Everyone liked it enough to add to it our list and nobody dumped it.

We tasted reds and a few other whites earlier (I'll blog about this later) and it seems that it is much easier to find reasonable reds than whites in the sub $10 range. We'll likely purchase a few cases of the Kendall Jackson to supplement a Paul Mas Sauvignon Blanc that we purchased after an earlier tasting...

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