FEWC March 8, 2024

The last Wine Club meeting before Scott and Amy move to Tennessee.

It was with mixed emotions that we had FEWC last night. Our good friends, and co-founders of FEWC, will be moving to Tennessee next week. While this is the realization of one of their longtime goals, they will certainly leave a void that will be tough to fill. We wish them all the best in their new home. To celebrate their accomplishment, we drank 4 bottles of wine that each had a special meaning.

These are the four bottles we opened last night

The first was very special, Bald Knob, from Owl Creek Winery in Southern Illinois.

When we first started getting interested in wine, the 4 of us took a weekend trip down to Makanda, Illinois where we sampled several wines along the Southern Illinois Wine Trail. The grape that is commonly grown down there is Chambourcin, not a great wine making grape, but for Illinois… not bad. We had a really good time during that trip and have several funny memories. This was the last bottle I had, a 2009 vintage, that actually was not awful… we did drink it! It got the evening started with some good memories.

Second bottle of the night was an old FEWC favorite that Scott and Amy brought over. This 2019 vintage of Rutherford Ranch’s Cabernet Sauvignon was delightful. It is one of our favorite wineries from Napa Valley. Over the years we coined a phrase, “You can’t go wrong with Rutherford!”. Rutherford is one of the Regions in Napa that consistently delivers excellent wine. This was quite a different taste from the Knob Creek!

Our third bottle of the evening was another that brought some significance to the table. FEWC members have historically not been fans of Pinot Noir. However, over the years we have found a few that we actually liked very much. This Pinot from Lemelson Vineyards of Oregon, is one of those wines. This was a 2012 vintage, so it had some nice aging to it, and the other point of significance is that this particular wine is called, “Thea’s Selection”. So we were also honoring Scott and Amy’s daughter, Thea, her husband Will, and son, Blaise. What a delightful bottle of wine!

The fourth and final bottle was an Italian wine, Brunello di Montalcino, a 2015 vintage from Siro Pacenti. I had been saving this for a very special occasion. Why? Because this wine was deemed the “best wine of 2019” by James Suckiling, with a perfect 100 point score! I could think of no better occasion than celebrating Scott and Amy’s new journey in life. We may not be seeing them as much as we used to, but I know we will still see them now and then.

So Lenny and Janet would like to offer our goodbye to our dear friends in a familiar way:

“Good friends, Good wine, Long life!”

Sept 1, 2023 FEWC

The weather has been perfect for outdoor FEWC this summer.

So out to the patio we went and started off with a dry Reisling wine from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York called Ravines.

It was nice and refreshing, the nose was lemon grass, there was lemon and citrus on the palate, with a crisp finish. A perfect wine for a hot summer night.

Here is a great picture of Scott and Amy enjoying this wine

That went down in about 5 minutes!

Next up was a 2012 Clos la Coutale. It is really exciting to drink 10 year old vintages. While this was very good, I was hoping for better. None of us found anything exceptional about this wine…. although we still drank it!

The best bottle of the evening was the 3rd bottle. Scott brought a 2019 Stag’s Leap Merlot. It was outstanding! I don’t have a picture, but I am sure you can find this wine at most Binny’s. As usual, we are always delighted with a good bottle of Merlot

Janet rolled out the usual tasty charcuterie of cheese, crackers, salami and grapes…. very nice. We also had a chilled bowl of Lenny’s homemade salsa with tortilla chips (hard to stop eating those).

We toned it down a bit for the 4th bottle and Lenny opened a new wine from Cooper’s Hawk Winery that was a red blend from South Africa. None of us had ever tried it before, but that is what FEWC is all about. I would describe it as being very similar to a pleasant California red blend.

Another happy FEWC meeting.

Until next time: Good wine, Good Friends, Long life!

FEWC gets back on track!

It has been a busy summer for the FEWC members. It hasn’t always been easy to find a Friday evening that all of us had available.

But we fixed that last night!

It was very warm out, so we started on the patio with Aperol Spritzes, and a few Italian songs. Janet and Lenny were recently on vacation in Italy and while there, discovered that THE drink was Aperol spritz. It was a nice reminder of Italy and the perfect way to start wine club off on a warm night. We then washed down our Spritzes with a chilled bottle of Lenny’s favorite Rose, Mas de Gourgonnier.

The weather forecast showed that we were in for some stormy weather, so we moved indoors and opened a wonderful 2012 Grand Cru from Chateau Barde-Haut in St Emilion, that Scott and Amy brought over. What an elegant bottle of wine! We all loved it.

We decided to stick with France for the rest of the evening so I brought out a bottle I purchased while the 4 of us were in Bordeaux several years ago, while doing a tour of Chateau Leoville Poyferre. Another 2012, this one was also, spectacular!

Janet then fed us all with a beautiful charcuterie of toasted baguette slices covered with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar. Each of us also had a shrimp cocktail cup with guacamole instead of cocktail sauce. Delicious!

The last bottle of the night was also from St Emilion. A 2020 vintage from Chateau La Perriere that we all tasted just a few nights ago at a special French wine tasting held at Binny’s. For a young wine, we found it to be excellent… which is not unusual for the 4th bottle!

Sorry to have taken so long to update you with the goings on at FEWC, but we are staying busy in our retirement!

Until next time: Good wine, good friends, long life!

Back from Vacation – Emergency Wednesday FEWC!

It has been a busy month for the FEWC crew. Scott and Amy recently returned from Europe. They visited with Amy’s cousin in Slovenia for a few days and followed that by touring about in Northern Italy. They are such Jet Setters!

Lenny and Janet just returned from a bucket list driving trip to New England to see the Fall colors and visit a few old friends.

We had a lot to talk about!

All relaxed after a couple of nice vacations.

We were REALLY relaxed after draining these four beauties!

First up was a 2015 Pomerol from Chateau Ferrand. Scott loved it… Amy and Janet liked it … and Lenny was underwhelmed. I guess I was just expecting a bit more from a 7 year old wine from such an excellent region of France… I still drank it though!

Next Scott opened a 2017 Valpolicello from Zanato. Wow! This wine was stunning! A pleasant nose, wonderful color, full bodied and a taste that woke up the old taste buds. Amy and I both thought it had a nice cherry taste with a velvety mouthfeel. This was my favorite of the night.

The third bottle was another Italian wine (Scott had an Italy theme going on in honor of their trip). This was a very nice Chianti from Nipozzano. A bit drier than the Valpolicello, this wine would be lovely with a pasta dish… but we were quite satisfied with the tiny little pizzas that Amy cooked up (she got the idea from some snacks they had in Italy) instead. Amy also provided some sweets in the form of maple cream sandwich cookies… in honor of Janet and Lenny being around all that maple syrup in Vermont. Everything was delish!

After sharing many stories about our vacations, Scott decided to open one more bottle. It was a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from Josh Cellars in California. This wine was way to good to open as the 4th bottle! Scott and I have a running joke about that.

We had a great time, as usual, hearing about each others travels and tasting some really nice wines.

On a more personal note from Janet and Lenny, we had a chance to visit with Carol, a close friend of Janet’s, while we were in Boston. We had a wonderful time and hope she gets to read this. We would also like to give a big Thank you to Tom and Jen, who showed us a great time out in Stow, Mass.

As always: to good wine, good friends, long life!

FEWC on the Patio! 6/17/2022

It has been awhile since the last FEWC posting. Sorry for being so lazy.

Last night was a beautiful night, perfect for FEWC on the patio. Here are the 4 bottles we opened.

The first bottle was a Rose from Mirabeau in Provence.

We all found this to be a very tasty, enjoyable summer wine, perfect for a warm day or night on the patio. If you want a good Rose, stick with Provence.

Next we opened the bottle Scott brought, a 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon by Oberon, from the Napa Valley. This wine was a real gem! We all loved it. I never would have guessed it to be only 2 years old. It was very balanced, with a pleasant nose and tasted like red fruit… but not too sweet. Janet thought the finish was fleeting but that just made us want to have another sip! Buy this wine and store it for 3 more years… it will be a stunner!

The third bottle was the oldest bottle of wine that I had in my stash. A 2007 Meritage from the highly regarded (but no longer with us) Sawyer Cellars from the Napa Valley. It’s not often that we get to drink a 15 year old wine, but I thought we would celebrate the fact that due to the close proximity to the summer solstice, this would be the longest amount of daylight for FEWC on the patio this year. We found this wine to be wonderful.

Janet served up some delicious shish kebab skewers that had veggies and Italian sausage on them, that I cooked on the grill… delish! She also put together a very refreshing salad highlighting cucumbers and mangos. Chocolate chip cookies topped off the snacks.

The last bottle of the night was a Merlot from Rutherford Hills, a longtime favorite of the FEWC crew. You know the saying, “You can’t go wrong with Rutherford!”

Let me close with our FEWC toast: “Good wine, good friends, long life!”

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.