Monday, February 16, 2015

#68 - Mardi Gras Tasting Party

The revelers with masks and the wine bottles!
Horatio inspects the decorative curtain
After my last wine tasting party, I got a lot of comments from friends that they wanted to have another round.  Adding Mardi Gras into the mix seemed like a good fit, so the Mardi Vino was announced.  This party was a blind tasting of more than just wine ... guests also sampled non-alcoholic beverages and a variety of cheeses.

Some of the many wine varieties we tried.
To keep with the Mardi Gras theme, everyone brought masks, and plenty of beads were available.  Beads were given out for correct guesses on the tastings and on the whim of the hostess :) - those with the most and least beads at the end of the evening also received prizes.  The evening also ended with a king cake and a final sip of whatever each individual had enjoyed the most to drink.

It was interesting to see how the group had favorites (or least favorites).  Among the non-alcoholic beverages, there was no clear favorite.  However, the coconut water was dubbed "yuck" and "tastes like pedialite".  The sweet tea advocates were evenly divided based on whether the individual had grown up in a region where it was served regularly.  And, the barley water was a surprising new taste - there was agreement that the lemon flavoring probably made the taste a lot better than having it unflavored.
Considering the latest taste

The wines had three top runners - the Prosecco from the Lamarca Winery in Italy, the Shiraz from Piping Shrike Winery in Australia, and the Blueberry Mead from White Winter Winery in Wisconsin.  One of the more interesting wines - but less of a "yummy, buy it by the case" reaction - was a pomegranate wine from Armenia.  The least favorite of the group by far was the rose from Skinny Girl Winery in California ... there was some speculation as to whether trying to produce a wine with less calories had led to a wine with no layered notes.
Horatio sat very quietly at the table for most of the evening - perhaps hoping to go unnoticed when the cheese course appeared!

The cheeses seemed to be a hit with everyone.  No discernible favorites here - the group liked all 10 varieties.  There was surprise that the Irish cheddar included blueberries and that the Havarti came from Denmark.  More people were correct in guessing the types of cheese than the types of wine served.
Anne finds the king cake baby

At the end of the evening, the king cake was served (with baby - to indicate who should host the party the following year.).  Beads were tallied ... and the designated driver arrived in time for a slice of king cake as well ...

Barb with her jester hat prize