***I attended this event for free ***
Last Monday night, I attended a wine event at Lima Restaurant & Lounge in DC, where I not only tasted a number of Underdog Wine Merchants’ wines, all of which were in the Octavin Home Wine Bar box, but also met and talked with a number of fellow wine bloggers and tweeps.
For most attendees, the evening started out with the 2008 Monthaven Winery Chardonnay, which I received as a sample earlier in the month. Therefore, I skipped tasting that wine and went straight for the 2009 Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc (website, snooth). The Silver Birch was 100% New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc grapes and had a pale lemon-yellow color. As I mentioned on Twitter, there was a great, citrusy nose—pink grapefruits and lemons. In the mouth, though, the wine could have offered a little more. It had a wetnap-like lemon taste and was missing the vegetal characteristics that make a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc so unique. The wine had a light body and medium-to-high acidity. At a suggested retail price of $24 for 3 Liters, the Silver Birch Octavin Home Wine Bar is definitely a cost effective way to have wine at a party, BBQ, or picnic. However, to be honest, buying this wine should more about cost and quantity than quality. It’s not a bad wine, but it’s not a great wine, either. Overall: 3 Corks
As I was finishing up my tasting notes on the Silver Birch, I started talking with Virginia Writing Wino, Ellen. Ellen only recently started wine blogging, so we had a wonderful time talking about how she started, Virginia wines (since that is her blog’s focus), and the Octavin wines, while eating Lima’s tasty beef and potato empanadas and to-die-for chicken and butter shrimp skewers.
The next wine of the night was the 2009 Big House White (website, snooth). The Big House White is a blend of 51% Malvasia Bianca, 14% Muscat Canelli, 13% Viognier, 10% Grüner Veltliner, 5% Pinto Gris, and 4% Riesling grapes. The wine was a very light straw yellow color. On the nose, there were white flower and honeysuckle blossoms, followed by a hint of stone fruit. In the mouth, there were flowers, stones fruits, and a touch of salinity and something metallic. Considering the sweetness of the nose, the wine was surprisingly dry. It had a light-to-medium body and low acidity. At a suggested retail price of $22 for 3 Liters, this wine just didn’t cut it for me. I wanted to like this wine, particularly after talking with artisan winemaker Georgetta Dane, who was at the event. Unfortunately, though, the wine felt a little flabby and lacked a strong personality. Overall: 2 Corks
Almost as soon as I finished my tasting notes for the Big House White, a couple walked up to me and asked if I was Alleigh. To my delight, I was face-to-face with Mark, from WineLife365, and his wife. Mark and I started blogging within months of each other, so a natural friendship has developed as our blogs have grown. While we have exchanged numerous emails and blog comments, this was the first time we met in real life, and I’m so glad that we had the opportunity.
After meeting Mark and his wife, I chatted briefly with LoganDC. Logan was another person at the event that I hadn’t met before, even though we’ve tweeted with each other on numerous occasions and have several wine friends in common. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to do a live Twitter tasting in the near future.
After talking with Logan, I skipped tasting the Big House Red, since I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago, and, instead, went for a glass of Bodegas Osborne’s Seven (winery, snooth). Seven is made with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache, and 8% Graciano grapes and had a medium-to-dark purple color. On the nose and in the mouth, there was smoked meat, smoked meat, and more smoked meat, followed by a hint of violets and berries. The wine had a medium body, medium tannins, and medium acidity. At a suggested retail price of $22 for 3 Liters, this wine was ok. I preferred the Big House Red, although several people I talked with throughout the night liked Seven better, so, clearly, the preference was up for grabs. Overall: 2.5 Corks
By this point in the night, I met back up with Mark and his wife, who were talking with DC Budget Wine Examiner, Rob, and we tasted the last of the wines—the 2008 Boho Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel (winery, snooth). The wine was a nice, dark purplish ruby. On the nose, there were dark berries and plums with a hint of cooking spice. In the mouth, there was berry jam and spice. At a suggested retail price of $24 for 3 Liters, this was my favorite wine of the night. It wasn’t unpleasantly jammy or overbearing in alcohol, which can sometimes be a problem with Zins, and while the wine didn’t offer anything different, it was decent. Overall: 3 Corks.
After the event, Mark, his wife, and I were fortunate enough to eat dinner at Lima with Cork’d gurus, Lindsay and Jon, and Patricia Schneider Associates marketing wizards, Patricia and Shelia. The food mirrored the excellent appetizers that were served during the event and the service was impeccable. The group’s conversation flowed over the delicious ceviches, guava-glazed BBQ ribs, lobster baked with mango-lime butter, and mussels in an Albariño, lime, cilantro and chili sauce. Before any of us realized, it was midnight and time to head our separate ways.
Overall, the event was wonderful. I had a chance to see the Octavin Home Wine Bar in action, taste some new reds and whites, eat fabulous food, and meet wine bloggers and tweeps that I’ve been corresponding with for over a year. Thanks to Stephen from Patricia Schneider Associates for inviting me to attend as a guest. I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to meet, but I had a great time and really appreciated the opportunity.