This week we revisited Austria!

Scott and Amy hosted the 3/25/22 FEWC meeting with Austria as the theme.

While cruising down the Danube last summer, we spent a wonderful day exploring Vienna, Austria. We sampled some delicious wine and food. Scott and Amy thought it would be fun to eat and drink as if we were in Austria for our FEWC meeting. Dan and Cynthia were able to attend which made the meeting all the more fun!

The first bottle of wine was a white from the Wachau Valley, an area which we cruised through and also stopped for walking tours. It was a beautiful area where a lot of grapes are grown.

A 2020 Gruner Veltliner from Domane Wachau

We had 2 bottles of this wine which was pleasing on the nose and palate. This wine was very pleasant with a flavor and mouthfeel similar to a Chardonnay… but not overpowering on the butteryness. It comes in 1 liter bottles, which is a good thing!

Next up was a red (which was not easy to find). My choice was based solely on the label!

This one was hard to describe. We all agreed that it would be a nice wine to have chilled on a summer day. It had a little bit of sweetness but not much. Needless to say, there was none left.

Amy went full on Austria for the snacks! There was quite a variety: Apricot kernels, which I found similar to pumpkin seeds, 3 different types of Austrian cheese, some Austrian chocolate treats and the highlight (for me) was apple strudel. We must be doing something right!

For the third bottle, Dan brought a Petite Syrah from the Cline Vineyards in California that everyone enjoyed immensely. (don’t have a picture)

We had a wonderful time reminiscing about Austria and just enjoying each others company.

March 11, 2022 FEWC

Now that we are all healthy again… time for Wine Club!

A 2010 that was delicious!

We started the evening with the oldest bottle in Lenny’s French rack.

A 2010 Chateau Larose – Trintaudon from the Haut Medoc region of Bordeaux. After decanting and about 30 minutes of breathing, we had our first delightful taste. Everyone agreed that the nose was very pleasant (even if we couldn’t identify an aroma). Both Amy and Lenny tasted cherries on the palate. This wine had a wonderful balance of acidity and tannins. It had a medium to long finish that everyone agreed left you wanting another sip!

By the way, this bottle was a gift from Scott and Amy to Janet, for doing the calligraphy for Frankie’s wedding invitations. Thank you both.

Next bottle in the batter’s box was another well aged Bordeaux from Scott’s collection.

2010 Chateau Bergey

This bottle is from the one of our favorite regions of Bordeaux, Pessac – Leognan.

We decanted this one but did not have much time to let it breathe. Unfortunately, it needed lots of time to breathe! I felt this was a superb, complex wine but it had a rather musty nose that slowly got better with time. We all agreed that by the second glass this was much more enjoyable, with a definite oakiness that Scott really likes. Look at us… two 12 year old wines in a row… what a bunch of wine snobs!

After the second bottle, Janet brought out the snacks for the evening that had a theme; Bruschetta. With offerings of traditional tomato and onion, red and yellow Bell peppers in oil and artichoke-parmesan taponade, there was something for everyone to spread on little rounds of toast and enjoy. There was also some Smoked Gouda to put on crackers. Yummy!

On to the third bottle. Another Bordeaux from Pessac – Leognan.

2014 Lacroix – Martillac

This 2014 Lacroix- Martillac is the baby brother to Latour-Martillac at less than half the price. FEWC had never tried this particular wine before and we all found it to be wonderful. Amy was impressed with its deep purple color (almost opaque). It also had a very pleasant nose (no decanting at all on this one… the third bottle!). No specific taste came through for anyone but we all thought it was delicious! Janet said that this was her favorite of the night.

All in all, another delightful chapter in the saga we call Friday Evening Wine Club.

Let me end with our toast with which we customarily begin each meeting:

Good wine, good friends, long life!

FEWC celebrates Scott’s health

We were all delighted that Scott has been given the OK for wine club. To celebrate, Scott and Amy hosted the Feb 11th edition of FEWC.

We sampled some excellent wines that night as well as some tasty healthy snacks. Here are the wines we opened.

I know, you can’t read any of the labels. Neither can I. But bear with me and I will do my best to get you through them from left to right.

The first was an ancient bottle from Scott’s cellar, a 2009 Bordeaux from Chateau Ollieux Romanis. This was a real treat! Everything that one would expect from a 13 year old Bordeaux…. this wine had it. A wonderful nose and a fruit forward flavor that slapped you in the face and said, “Wake up! This is what you have been waiting for!” It had a lovely balance of acidity and tannins that you only get from a wine aged this long. It had a beautiful mouthfeel and smooth finish that lasted just long enough to make you want to have another sip. It isn’t often that you get a chance to drink such a stunning wine. We loved it!

Next was a 2015 red from the Asti region of Italy. Who knew that they made anything but sparkling wine from Asti? That is precisely why Lenny chose this wine. The winery is Olim Bauda and the wine comes from the Secco grape. This bottle was just OK. It was certainly not even close to the level of the Bordeaux… but we drank it anyway! Scott felt that it got a bit better after having some time to breathe but I think he was just trying to make me feel better.

With the third bottle, Scott brought us back to Bordeaux with a 2019 Tertre du Moulin, St Emilion Grand Cru. This was a luscious, fruit forward, delicious wine. Janet felt that it had strong tannins but still liked it. We all agreed that while the the taste and mouthfeel were wonderful, the finish was a bit fleeting. Overall, an outstanding wine from St. Emilion. Scott was unleashing the big boys!

Staying in France for the 4th bottle, Scott brought out a 2020 Cabernet – Syrah from Maison Barboulot. I can’t say too much about this bottle because…. frankly…. I don’t remember! That’s what happens sometimes with the 4th bottle. I do recall that Scott and I had just solved the Pandemic problem but unfortunately, those details are also gone.

I hope everyone stays healthy and remembers our FEWC toast: To good wine, good friends and long life!

FEWC for Feb 4, 2022

Easing back into Wine Club, FEWC met last night and sampled a couple of excellent French wines!

The first one we tried was a 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape from Chateau Husson.

Always a treat

Everyone agreed that this wine was lovely. A wonderful nose and subtle fruit on the palate is the first thing that you notice when taking a sip. With very smooth tannins this wine has a pleasant mouth feel with a medium finish. This was Janet’s favorite of the night. I am pretty certain that this wine will put a smile on the face of even the snobbiest oenophile… even Lenny!

Next was a 2015 Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux from Chateau Cote de Baleau in St Emilion.

St Emilon does it right!

What a delightful bottle of wine. I felt that this wine was a bit more complex than the first with a bit more acidity and a slightly longer finish. Right away, Scott noticed a hint of oak (he is our oak expert) that was nice… not overpowering. Amy liked both bottles a lot and felt it was a toss up between which was better.

The third and last bottle was an old favorite of FEWC from Napa California, a 2018 Merlot from Rutherford Hill.

You can’t go wrong with Rutherford

While all of the FEWC members are fans of this wine, it was not quite equal to the stars from France that we opened before this. We have a couple of favorite Merlots and this is one of them. A pleasing nose (stone fruit?) and just the right amount of fruit on the palate make this a crowd pleaser. A nice luscious mouth feel and long finish make this wine a delight to drink.

As usual, Janet made sure we didn’t go hungry with a nice assortment of heart healthy charcuterie choices, as well as some stuffed mushrooms. Even the Hummus, which she punched up with some hot Paprika from Hungary, was delicious.

Until we meet again, drink some wine!

FEWC welcomes a new Chapter

On December 3, 2021, The Northcenter Chapter of FEWC convened it’s first meeting! Large by FEWC standards, there were 9 people in attendance for this gala event, which not only served as a FEWC meeting but also as the showing of Will and Thea’s new house. Thea asked that each couple bring 2 bottles of wine that were similar… but different in a way…. a very interesting challenge.

Thea, started things off with 2 different bottles of Champagne. The perfect way to start a new FEWC chapter. The bottles lasted about 2 minutes, so you can guess that everyone loved them.

We shifted to regular wines by opening one of the 2 Malbecs from Guggenheim Winery in Mendoza, Argentina, that Scott and Amy brought. One bottle was the Reserva and the other their regular vintage.

This is the wine that started FEWC!

This was a very nostalgic choice because it was basically this wine that got us going with wine club many years ago (about 2009). As usual they were very satisfying.

Next we tried one of the bottles that Dylan and Frankie brought. The 2 bottles were from a Portuguese vintner that

creates wine by finding what they feel are the best grapes from several different areas.

We all thought this was pleasant on the nose and the palate. It had a lively acidity that begged for another sip.

In between tastings, Thea put out enough food for an army! We somehow managed to keep drinking more wine, though.

Next we opened both bottles that Lenny and Janet brought: both were from the Conn Creek Vineyards Anthology Cabernet Sauvignon collection: one was a 2015 and the other a 2018. The idea was to see if we could taste a difference in different vintages. We all agreed that the 2015 was a bit better.

Napa reds

Matthew and Abby brought 2 interesting whites from Sancerre, France.

One from the top, one from the bottom

These bottles were wines from the same Vineyard and the same type of grape, but one bottle was from grapes grown at the top of this steep vineyard, while the other was from grapes grown at the bottom! Very cool.

I don’t know what the overall opinion was, but I liked the grapes from the bottom a little better.

Thea made sure that all of us got a nice tour of the new house (which is spectacular) and we had a wonderful time.

We struck Gold!

While on a recent mini vacation to the very swanky White Pines Resort, in Mt. Morris, IL, Janet and Lenny brought a 2014 Bordeaux with to enjoy at our campfire.

What a fabulous wine! I had to show you the bottle. If you ever run into this online or at a wine shop…. buy it!

Emergency Meeting of FEWC

Since we were not able to meet last Friday, the FEWC Executive Committee decided to convene an emergency session on Wednesday night. It turned out to be a big night for old vintages.

We started off with a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from the O’Shaughnessy Winery in the Mt Veeder region of Napa Valley.

Scott summed this wine up in 1 word: SMOOTH.

This Cab was excellent. The color was very dark purple while the body was medium to full. It had a wonderful nose that nobody could put a likeness to. It just smelled good! The taste had a nice balance of fruit, acid and tannins, with a wonderful soft mouthfeel. It was a hit!

Next we opened one of Scott’s oldest bottles from his wine futures stock. A 2010 Bordeaux from Chateau Villars.

It was worth the wait!

The color was dark but not quite as dark as the first bottle. This one had very little to offer on the nose, at least from what we could tell, but it tasted wonderful! Lenny thought it was a bit more acidic than the Cab, which gave it a bit more balance. The mouthfeel was not quite as lush as the Cab but this was one of those wines that got better and better with time to breathe. This was Janet’s favorite of the night. At this point we were 2 for 2!

The third bottle was a 2014 Montepulciano from Canneto Vineyards in Italy.

In Amy’s words, “The perfect third bottle”.

This wine was much lighter in color than the first two. Although nobody could actually put their finger on the nose, 3 of us agreed that it was kind of “funky smelling”. Lighter in body than the first 2, it had a nice fruitiness with medium tannins. This was a nice bottle with which to finish the evening.

As for treats, Janet put together a splendid charcuterie board that was part savory and part sweet. With a couple of very nice cheeses (Compte was the star) toasted French bread, 2 different Italian hard salamis and scrumptious marinated green olives holding up the savory side. Warmed caramel went terrific with fresh apple and pear slices. If caramel was not your thing you could drizzle honey on your fruit! There were soft chocolate cookies and peppermint/chocolate bark. No one left hungry. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture… I was too busy eating!

Without question, a wonderful session of the Friday Evening Wine Club.

No FEWC this past Friday

Janet and Lenny had a rare High School date night, which included a “fancy” dinner at Culver’s followed by the Buffalo Grove HS vs. Wheeling HS football game.  BG won 35 – 7.

No wonder we couldn’t do FEWC!

As for this weekend…. Happy birthday to both Scott and Amy!

We are scheduled to have an emergency meeting this Wednesday.  Details to follow.

A New FEWC Chapter

Friday Evening Wine Club is expanding!

On Friday evening, Nov. 9, two of the original founders of Friday Evening Wine Club were very happy to share in the inaugural meeting of the Tinley Park, Illinois chapter of FEWC. The hosts, Gary and Sue, were presented with an official FEWC certificate duly naming the Tinley Park chapter. And what a well-attended meeting it was!

There was quite a variety of wines to be shared—as the photo attests— and the ten attendees came well-prepared to discuss their chosen wine.

As several of those in attendance were St. Xavier University alums, it was only fitting that the evening began with a 2010 Xavier Cotes du Rhone from the Southern Rhône Valley in France. The group also enjoyed a California Pinot Noir, a 2015 red blend from Blue Sky vineyards out of Illinois, an Alexander Valley Cabernet and a Fusion of dry, blended red wine from Prairie State Winery. In addition, Cooper’s Hawk winery was well-represented with a white, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and their sparking almond wine.

The hosts did an outstanding job of providing plenty of nibbles to sustain their guests together with great music selections as a welcome backdrop to the lively wine discussions.

Familiar wine terminology travelled around the room—tannins, aeration, color, nose and legs. It was a welcome learning experience for some and a chance for review for others.

As the evening wound down, it was clear that an expanded appreciation of different wine varietals spread among the guests, some fresh friendships were formed (and what better way to make a new friend than over a glass of wine?), and—most gratifying of all—new wine fans were created.

Happy drinking to the Tinley Park chapter of FEWC as they continue to learn about and discover the world of wine!