Wine Club Besties Find Friendship in the Glass

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Lori Kilmartin 2016

By Lori Kilmartin
Sommelier & Blogger

Do you love wine, but no one else in your household does? Do you love wine but can’t afford to buy the more expensive wines you’d like to try. Do you just love wine – and would like to drink and learn more about it?

There’s a great solution to all of the above – join a wine group – or form your own!

wine-beastie-1I’ve been fortunate to be a part of the Wine Beasties Group (play on “Bestie) for about 9 years now. This group of 8 members was formed over 20 years ago and still boasts 4 original members.

We even have a Group “logo”;  a wine tasting beast!

Every month we take turns hosting a tasting that is both fun and informative.   Our evenings usually start out with a glass of sparkling followed by a blind tasting of 6 wines.

Each member contributes $20 towards the purchase of the wine for that evening. There is usually a hidden theme – anything from a single varietal, a specific region or country, to wines with animals on the label!

One interesting theme we did was on how by choosing a wine reviewer that has the same taste in  wines you do – can direct you to wines you might like. Our theme that night was wines that Natalie MacLean had scored over 90+ points.  No surprise – we loved them all.

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Club Members Geri, Gwen, Cathy, Brenda, Sandy, Lori, Pam and Cheryl

We use a tasting sheet to record our observations and of course there is lots of chatter about what we are seeing and tasting. At the end, before the unveil – everyone takes a guess as to what the wines are and what the theme is.  Sometimes the answers are obvious – other times we have been stumped.

Easter Wine Tasting
Easter Wine Tasting

The hostess also provides some background data on the theme as well as information on the wines. We have learned all about Right and Left bank wines from Bordeaux, the different methods of making sparkling wine and how Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto are made, to name a few.

The tasting is followed up with food. Thought is put into making or providing items that will be a great match with the wines that night. Cheese is always on the table, as well as things like stuffed mushrooms, meatballs, charcuterie, tapas, etc. One tasting even involved candy and wine! Needless to say, everyone shares what they think are the best pairings of the evening.

We have tasted Spanish, Chilean, French and Italian wines, Old world, New world and Bordeaux blends.  Every December one of our member hosts a sparkling tasting that everyone looks forward to.

Another member has a cottage near Chelsea where an overnight July tasting has become tradition. This past summer we actually did two extra cottage tastings; one in Tremblant and another in Westport. The Westport weekend included a trip and lunch at a newly opened winery on the outskirts of town.

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Chalet Tasting in Tremblant

We have tasted wines from a specific winery led by the Sales Rep and recreated a dinner two members participated in during a trip to Italy – complete with matching wines. We have shared special bottles of wine that we know the others will appreciate – like a vertical tasting of 2008 – 2013 California Pinot Noir or an expensive bottle to commemorate a 50th birthday.  A “Farm to Table” dinner with local food is currently in the planning stages – and will, of course, involve wine!

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Gwen shared a special bottle on her 50th!

All together or sometimes in small groups we travel together, go out for dinners, celebrate birthdays and attend special events. The common thread in all of the above is obviously wine, however over the years we have become more than a Wine Club – we have become friends.

 

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