As I have said many times and will continue to say, the best way to learn about wine is to taste it. Local wine tasting events are simply a great way to taste and learn about wines. Wine tasting events are usually very economical, ranging in price from free to $20 to $25 per person. Yes, there are very special events, mainly in the larger markets, that run into the hundreds of dollars per person. But these are usually pouring very high-end wines. You will want to have a very refined palate before you shell out that kind of cash for those more expensive wine tastings.
There are a number of benefits gained from attending these types of tastings:
- Typically, they are staffed by folks who are knowledgeable about wine and especially the wines being served.
- You can taste a large variety of wines for a very reasonable price. At the Chalet tasting you could have tasted 45 wines for a $25 donation. This is a great value.
- You have the opportunity to taste specific types of wine (Cabernets, Pinots, Chardonnays, etc.) and specific labels or wineries.
- You get to meet some new people and have a good time.
- Always remember to taste responsibly…we don’t want you to have to a call a bondsman.
It doesn’t matter if you are in Wichita, Elkhart or New York City, there is a wine tasting in your community most likely every week. It just takes a little research to locate them and it is time well spent.
This was the 12th year that the Chalet Party Shoppe has sponsored this charity event at its County Road 17 store in Elkhart. This year, as in past years, the recipient of the money was very worthwhile organization: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.
I spoke with Kevin Deary the President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Elkhart County about the Chalet event:
“We would like to thank Chalet and Belmont Beverage for their dedication, hard work and continued support during the past five annual wine tasting events,” said Deary. “Chalet has been grateful hosts for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County and with their support the club is able to pursue its mission ‘to inspire and empower all young people, especially those who need us the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible adults.’ The more than $7,000 raised during this event will go toward helping us fulfill that mission. We are grateful for the support.”
I know Kevin personally and he truly is dedicated to helping kids and does a great job for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
A total of 26 vendors participated in the event offering samples of wine, spirits and craft beer. This year, as in years past, some great Italian food was provided by Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant and Rulli’s Italian Restaurant. Both are locally-owned establishments.
Nine of the vendors were pouring wine. There were about 45 different wines to taste. Of all the wines I sampled, four stood out as good everyday wines and were reasonably priced. Chalet even had its own table at which wine consultant Daryl Miller was pouring five wines that are sold exclusively by Chalet. Two of those wines were in the group of four wines I am recommending.
Those wines are:
The French 2013 La Croisade Reserve Pinot Noir
This wine was deep purple in color and the nose was of red fruit. The palate was full and it also tasted, although not overpowering, of red fruit. The mouth feel was a pure Pinot Noir, a little soft and the finish was pleasant and of reasonable length. This wine sells for $9.97 per bottle.
Sottano 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina.
The next wine I liked from the Chalet flight was the Sottano Cabernet. Wine Enthusiast rates this juicy, full-bodied red wine at 88 Points. This wine had a lot of black cherry and was spicy on the palate and had a little heat on the finish for an extra jolt. It also had a reasonable length. This wine sells at $12.97 per bottle.
The Brancott Estate, 2013 Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc
The next two wines I am recommending were poured by Pam Lake who was pouring five wines distributed through Southern Wine & Spirits. This Sauvignon Blanc is from New Zealand. Although I am not a fan of the grapefruit, oaky tasting Sauvignon Blancs, which I think is typical for New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, this one was quite tasty and produced a little ripe lemon and acidity on the palate. This wine sells for $11.99 per bottle.
Dead Bolt 2011 Winemakers Blend California Red Wine
The last wine I would like to recommend is a California red wine called Dead Bolt. It is a 2011 vintage, blended from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Shiraz varietals. The wine is smooth and satisfying. This is a truly a good everyday red and a great value at $10.99 a bottle.
It is unfortunate that it started to rain just about the time the Chalet event started. This may have affected the turnout which was about 70 people. Although the crowd was about equal to last year’s event, the amount of money raised for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Elkhart County was double the amount from last year and totaled more than $7,000…not bad for a rainy Saturday afternoon. Please join me in congratulating the Chalet staff and company CEO Clair McKinley for continuing to support our community with this event.
If you are in the area, stop by the Chalet Party Shoppe and talk a little wine with Stan Minden, the wine buyer. Stan and his wine department team are very knowledgeable and a great source of information. I have known Stan for a number for years and can verify that he has a good palate and will be helpful in selecting just the right wine for you.
As always, I appreciated your support of our wine blog and encourage you to share it with family and friends. If you care to share your comments on this blog or other topics please do so in the comments section below.
Until next week,