Monday, February 14, 2011

Impromptu Gatherings - Landmark Buddies

Sometimes the best wine nights are the ones that you never planned to have. The ones where good friends invite themselves over, you invite friends over, or just decide you need some company to open some new wine or good wine. It seems to be happening  all the time lately. Is it that I have this intrinsic need to open wine or that my friends have the same need!?

About a year ago, I did a little personal development, or whatever the jargon is for it these days and did some learning through an organization called Landmark Education. I went in skeptical, remained so all the way through and in the end I was blown away. It has been more than a stepping stone, but more like a cliff dive into a different way of living and approaching life. A huge part of the education and technology of the organization are the people you surround yourself with and the support that they give you in creating the things you want for your life. I have been oh so lucky in having quite a number of friends who have been just that support for me. Since it was about a year ago that the transformations began in my life, it was about time to have some of these great supporters over for an evening of some wine, a few nibblies and some great chat. A re-visit of what Landmark is all about, and a re-grounding is always a good thing!

It seemed destined to be a night of carmenere. My wonderful friend at Fort and Foul Bay had come through with another amazing suggestion for a wine, with the Winemaker’s Select Carmenere from Concha Y Toro ($18.99 at Fort and Foul Bay Liquor Store). When he was telling me about it in the store, a couple came up to the display and filled their basket with a dozen bottles proclaiming it was one of the best wines they had sipped lately. I think the comment made was, if I have to take a bottle of wine to someone’s house with me, why would I not take one that is well priced and tastes great!

The four of us sipping that evening, one never drinks, she is always the designated driver, usually vintage orange juice for her, all agreed that this was an excellent and under-priced bottle of wine. It’s nose was full of blackberry, sweet plums and underscored with a little smoke. Upon first taste, the tannic base hits you, lingers and never overcomes you. It just sits in your mouth and tickles your tongue. It is a wine that makes you think, oh wow, this is really yummy. Now, would a first time red wine drinker necessarily think it to be great, probably not. I think the tannins of carmenere, tempranillo and tannat have to grow on you as you drink more wine, but who am I to say – I thought it was quite an amazing wine.

We graduated to another carmenere brought by one of the attendees. So as the conversation wove itself through what was great in our lives and what we were creating next for ourselves, we dove into the Carmen Gran Reserva Carmenere ($19.99 at Fort and Foul Bay Liquor Store). Of course same varietal after another only lends itself to comparison. Both wines had a great tannic base and lots of body. While the W Select just sat alluringly on your tongue teasing you, the Carmen’s finish was a little short. Perhaps if we had done them in opposite order, it might have been different, but still a good value wine and yummy all the same. We were sipping with a little cheese, some tandoori pork tenderloin, crudite with spicy salsa, baguette and prosciutto. Quite a variety of yumminess to go with the wine. Really either was happy on its own, but great with the food as well.

It was a fabulous night of amazing conversations, reinforcing of creations and just plain old catching up. We vowed that we needed to do it far more often, and to keep track of how we could help each other get to where we wanted to go. Always great to share great wine with great people!

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