A few Saturdays ago, my husband and I went to a wine tasting at our friends Brad and Cassia’s house. Cassia used to work at a winery in California, and with a little encouragement she will launch into an enthusiastic comparison of real versus synthetic corks and other smart wine topics. They hold seasonal wine tastings at their cute little apartment. This was our third or fourth invitation, but every time they had hosted a party, we were out of town. What are the odds, I ask you? Someone was obviously conspiring against us. That’s why I was so excited to receive the quarterly evite and see that we could actually go to this one.
Here is the lovely hostess (in the middle) flanked by Stacy (left, another Nikon lover) and Sarah (right, with a haircut I may have to emulate).
Cassia made a delightful little tray of pumpkin muffins with a cinnamon sugar topping.
With a little encouragement I persuaded her to share the recipe, and will soon be sharing it with all you lovely people.
Cassia? If you were wondering why those muffins disappeared so quickly, well, I may have a confession to make. I simply ate them all, in a quick and quiet frenzy. Then I blamed it on the nearest partygoer.
Just kidding! But I did eat probably half of the cheese. My strategy was simple: position myself by the food with my camera and pretend to be taking a million artistic and well-composed shots. In between each shot, feed myself a delectable, creamy square of cheese. It’s not the first time my camera has allowed for successful subterfuge, and it won’t be the last.
The little bowls of cheese and the plate of salami had these adorable little labels.
Each guest had a wine glass assigned to them with his or her name written on a little circle of paper attached to the stem. It was brilliant–it saved me from losing my wine glass about 5 times.
In the dining room, the wine was laid out: 2 bottles each of 9 different kinds of wine; 4 red, 1 rosé, and 4 white. They were all hidden inside a brown paper bag with their identifying numbers.
The idea was that we would taste all the wines over the course of a couple hours, take notes on these adorable little tasting note cards, and guess from the master list which wine was which.
The person who correctly identified the most wines would win.
I’ll give you a hint: that person was not me.
I tried to challenge myself to smell and taste all the interesting things wine connoisseurs are always identifying in wines. Did it smell like citrus? Like jasmine? Like oak? I was miserably bad at it. I thought I might be good at it since I love cooking so much, and regularly smell and taste all my ingredients. However, as I closed my eyes and told myself “focus, focus: what do you smell?” while attempting to think outside the box and listen to my senses, all my brain said was “Well . . . mmm, it smells like wine!” It was time to beg our hostess for some help. “Cassia,” I said, “all I’m getting from this one is ‘table wine’. What is it that you smell?” She swirled the wine around, inhaled, tasted it. “I’m tasting some almost burnt caramel flavor. It also has some herby undertones to it.” I tasted again. It still read ‘table wine’ to me. “Burnt caramel, burnt caramel, burnt caramel,” I repeated to myself over and over again. “Table wine!” my consciousness shouted. “Be quiet and let me sense the burnt caramel!” I yelled back at myself. Soon there was a yelling match inside my own head. So I did what any reasonable person would do at this point–I gave up and moved on to wine #5.
Unfortunately, wine #9 ran out before I had a chance to taste it, so I shrugged my shoulders and randomly wrote in “Cuvet.” When the results came back in, it came to light that I had only guessed two wines correctly: #4, which was the Rosé (the, um, only Rosé), and #9. Two out of nine! Can you believe it? I think that means that I flunked wines.
What am I doing wrong??? And why can’t I be a wine conoisseur?
Well, at least I had a blast drinking all of them. Yes, I enjoyed every minute of the flunking experience and I slept like a baby that night, lemme tell ya.
Jess and Nate showed up.
I was very excited because I had yet to meet their now 2 month old baby, Desmond. He is the master of face-making.
Watching little Desmond’s parents interact with him was one of the highlights of my evening.
On a tangent, Cassia has mastered the art of smiling for the camera. Please notice the open eyes, the relaxed mouth, and the nonexistent wrinkle factor. I apparently was failing at my own tutorial on the ‘fake smile.’ Gragghrar, I hate it when I don’t follow my own rules!
The winner was announced at the end. And it was Jon.
What a little usurper. Eventually I’ll take my rightful victory back from him.
But first I need practice. A lot of practice.