The 15th Annual Bowling Green Parks Foundation Wine and Cheese Social, held September 24 at the Simpson Building in Bowling Green, was a smashing success in all regards. It was attended by more than 400 people and appears to have set a new high in attendance. The event also raised more than $37,000 for the foundation's Save the Woods campaign.
Wine for the event was provided by Norm Heinemann, president of Bowling Green Beverage distributors. He really outdid himself this year with another globe-spanning selection that introduced some new wine producing countries to guests.
I had volunteered for the event and so was working furiously to help the team handle the large crowds that hit when the doors opened. Green Dragon plus tasting team members Ace of Bass and Glorious T arrived when the crowds started to ramp down, so I was able to join in the tastings.
For many, the '06 Warwick Estate Pinotage was the first taste of South African wine. I've only tasted a few Pinotages and so enjoyed this sample, which starts with dark berry flavor but has a nice tannin finish that would make this wine well suited for steak.
One of my favorite reds was the '09 Schilds Grenache M.S. from Australia. This is a traditional Rhone-style blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Shiraz. The flavor explodes with cherries and spices. It is unoaked, so it is a smooth, fruit-driven wine.
When Norm heard that we really loved Malbecs, he was kind enough to have two on the tasting menu, the '08 Finca Flichman Malbec Reserva from Argentina and the 2006 Midnight Cellars Malbec from Paso Robles. Which is better? That's a delicious decision to which there is no wrong answer. The Reserva has more plum flavor notes and a slight earthiness wrapped in soft tannins. The Midnight Cellars, which is a beautiful deep violet color, is more jammy, but with a nice medium body and succulent finish.
On the white side, perhaps the biggest surprise was the '09 Chateau Julia Chardonnay from Greece. Yes,
Greece. This is yellow-green in color and has a fruity aroma with a distinct lemon taste. The Chardonnay is finished in steel, rather than oak, so it has none of the woody, buttery qualities that Green Dragon dislikes. This was one of the most popular wines of the evening.
The '09 Lenz Moser Heuriger Gruner Veltliner from Austria is a simple wine -- simply delicious that is! This is a young white wine comparable to a soft Sauvignon Blanc. It goes well with poultry, fish or cheese and costs less than $10.
Another favorite was the '06 Louis Bernard Cotes du Rhone Blanc from France. Cotes du Rhone is known mostly for its reds, but it is a mistake to underestimate this great white. It is a blend of white Grenache, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne and Viognier. It is a much fuller bodied wine than the Gruner and has a bouquet of peach and apricot.
I was looking forward to the '07 Tangent Ecclestone (California) and it did not disappoint. This is a blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Muscat and Albarino. That is an unusual mixture. There isn't that much Albarino in Califonria, so this is a unique wine. The key word is tangy, with orange and honey flavor notes. It finishes up crisp and clean. This is an enjoyable solo sipper or a versatile food partner.
Thanks to the many volunteers and generous sponsors who made this event hapen.