We had such a fun week of Christmas!  It’s been busy and packed with tons of people we love.  It’s been relaxing and full of quality family time. 

It all started Monday night with a family wine tasting event.  My parents, my brother – Kevin, my sister-in-law Lindsey, Brady and I  were all  assigned a region of the world to buy a $10-20 bottle of wine.  We had to learn about the wine and the region of the world the wine was from, and then we had 2-5 minutes to be the sommelier about our wine. 

It was fun to see how each of us prepared for the this event.  For my speech, I just talked freely about what I had read about my wine selection – also my speech contained the least amount of information of all of us.  Next year, I will have to change that.  

My dad and Brady had multiple pages of information printed and highlighted from many different sources – from Wikipedia to wine review sights. My mom had bought her top two choices the week before the event to sample them and make a selection based on her favorite.  And Kevin and Linds had lots of info queued on their phones to share at their turn.



Here are the wines we selected.  Not pictured is the white (that was in the wine fridge) my dad had chosen from Chile.


Here are a few tasting notes from different sources:

South America: Riebeek Cellars – Pinotage

Riebeek Cellar’s Pinotage 2011 from Swartland, South Africa is a delightfully light, aromatic red. This gem presents as a deep raspberry ruby color, with aromas of red velvet and spice box that rise from the glass, like a heat haze on the desert. The attitude of Riebeek Cellar’s Pinotage is easy going. This Pinotage is ripe with black plum juice, figs, light strawberries, red currants, and ruby fruit. The most ardent flavor in this delight is red grapefruit! (source)

Pinotage is a crossing of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. The ‘Pinot’ half of the name was given priority because of the prestige associated with Burgundy’s great red grape. The ‘age’ part was taken from the end of Hermitage, one of several local names for Cinsaut.

France – Caves Saint-Pierre – Gigondas

Dark cherry hue with aromas of sweet red berry and sour pie cherry further in the glass. There is a nearly perfumey note in this nice bouquet with a suggestion of leather.

Palate is surprisingly supple structure with a candy like sweet presence of red berry and maybe some light cherry. There is an interesting but elusive creamy “something” near the rear and finishes nicely with a lasting pleasantness.


Spain: Teso La Monja “Romanico” Toro

The 2010 Romanico was affected by frost in spring and rainfall in July, so that in some parcels they had to harvest three times in the plot. It has more aromatic ‘volume’ than the 2011, with dark cherry, wild strawberry and cold stone. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, lightly peppered black fruit, hints of black olive, and fine, quite tense structure toward the finish. Drink now-2018. (source)

Australia: Red Knot – McLaren Vale Shiraz

Deep magenta. Alluring primary aromas of black cherry, strawberry and milk chocolate are highlighted with hints of roasted coffee bean and vanilla. The palate is a delicious compote of ripe summer berries, perfectly balanced with the satiny fruit tannins and fresh acidity. This medium-full bodied wine is guaranteed to please and “slips down a treat”!(source)

California: Michael Pozzan – Pinot Noir

Chile: Santa Rita: Sauvignon Blanc Reserva

Straw yellow colour; Intense herbal, grassy, cooked asparagus and gooseberry aromas; Dry, medium bodied with gooseberry/citrus and mint flavours; pronounced acidity on finish. (source)

After 6 tasting – more like 5 tastings and a generous glass poured by my heavy hand, we didn’t have any wines we didn’t like.  

We determined that the Tesa La Monja and the Gigondas were the heaviest and both were very smooth and perfect for eating with heavy appetizers as a meal.

The most easy to drink were the Pinotage, Pinot Noir and the Shiraz.

The Sav. Blanc was a great refreshing treat in the middle of 5 reds, although we probably should have started with it.  

We plan to restructure the event next year to include parings.  Overall, it was a blast.  We learned a lot and followed the tasting with an amazing dinner of filet, jumbo tiger shrimp and vegetables.