BVCC Wine Evening 2004

The Pleasant Valley Golf Course in Sutton, Massachusetts is world famous; the location has been a featured stop on the PGA and LPGA tours. On October 6, 2004, Pleasant Valley served as the host for the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce's annual Food & Wine tasting. The event brought in just under 100 different wines for tasting, as well as a delicious assortment of food from regional chefs.

The two-level banquet room was comfortably full of people, without being noisy or crowded. A jazz trio kept the evening humming with toe-tapping tunes as visitors wandered from table to table, sampling the wines and delicacies.

It's always wise to develop a plan of action for a wine tasting, so I decided to sample the more exotic wines on the list. That would keep the number manageable, and let me sample wines I might not normally try on a whim. To keep my tongue fresh, I started out with the whites.

Blackjack Ranch Reserve Chardonnay 2002 ($27.99)

Blackjack's wines come from Santa Barbara, but are made in a French style. This comes as no surprise when you learn the winemaker hails from Dijon. Blackjack's wines have won many awards, and it's easy to see why. This Chardonnay is smooth, citrussy, with hints of smoke and mineral. It has a lovely, lemon finish. This is quite a refreshing difference from over-oaked Chardonnays.

Green Point Yarra Valley Chardonnay 2002 ($23.99)

Green Point is a new winery in Australia, which is created by the famous Moet house of France. The Chardonnay is crisp, fresh and juicy, with peach and nectarine flavors. This is a very nice Chard and was impressive for a brand new winery and vineyard.

I took a break to sample the shrimp bisque from Whitney Place at Northbridge. It is very smooth and creamy, with just enough shrimp to add a delicious flavor and texture. Highly recommended. Now, on to the reds!

Stephen Ross 2002 Petite Sirah ($35.99)

Stephen Ross Dooley and his wines were featured at the Castle Restaurant in Leicester this past spring, so I already knew that I enjoyed the winery's selections. The Petite Sirah is certainly a fine example of the quality found in his products. It is full flavored and dense, with tongue drying tannins and a long finish. Flavors of blackberry and red currant are the main features.

2001 Barton Vale "Changeling" Shiraz ($39.99)

Barton Vale is found in Eden Valley, South Australia, and the Changeling has won many awards. It is still young, but its name indicates that it has a dual nature. It can both be drunk now, or aged for another 10-15 years to reach a new peak. The wine is quite smooth even now, with a flowery and spicy, bright flavor. It is full and rich, with violet and blackberry flavors.

Luca Beso de Dante ($47.99)

Luca Beso de Dante is a blended red created by Laura Catena, the daughter of the Luca winery's main winemaker. Laura's two sons are named Luca and Dante, and "Beso de Dante" means Dante's Kiss in Spanish. This wine comes from Mendoza, Argentina, a region located in inland foothills, providing a long, cool growing season for the vines. The Luca Beso de Dante is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon with 20% Merlot. It boasts a gorgeous balance, with red currant, black currant and smoke flavors. Having a great body and finish, the Beso would be perfect for pairings with steak.

Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Aqui 2003 ($24.99)

Interestingly, this light, sparkling Italian wine has a rich berry flavor. It's sort of like a berry, rich, semi-sweet Champagne. The wine would go perfectly with a light appetizer, salad, or even dark chocolate. The finish lingers nicely.

Three Saints Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 ($25.99)

Located in Santa Barbara, California, the Three Saints winery is brand new and is already winning rave reviews. The winery gets its name from the three vineyards the grapes come from. The Cab was smoothly balanced, with gentle flavors and finish.

Colonial Estate Shiraz 2003 ($29.99)

These wines are made by renowned winemaker Jonathan Maltus, who is well known for his work in the St. Emilion, region of France. The Colonial Estate grapes are sourced from the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley areas. In fact, 2003 is Jonathan Maltus's very first vintage in Australia! The Shiraz is warm and creamy, with subtle tannins and a lovely flavor. It could easily age for another 10-25 years.

Sensi Testardo 1999 ($23.99)

Sensi is a Super Tuscan from the Chianti region of Italy. The term "Super Tuscan" means that the wine is using French style grapes in addition to the more traditional ones. The Sensi is a blend of 30% Cabernet with 70% Sangiovese. The wine is aged for 12 months in oak, then another 24 in the bottle. It has rich berry flavors, with a smooth mouthfeel and long finish.

Green Point Victoria Shiraz 2002 ($25.99)

The red offering from the Green Point reps is a 2002 Shiraz, full of licorice and black pepper flavors. This is well balanced and smooth, with a lovely finish.

The evening was winding to an end, and it was time to sample the ports. Usually port goes extremely well with chocolate, and the Uxbridge-based "A Slice of Heaven" had an amazing collection of chocolate cakes and desserts. However, watching my diet, I avoided the crowds stacked around the sweets and went for the liquid desserts from Portugal.

Andresen Porto Century 10 ($19.99)

Andresen is a traditional winery found in Portugal. The Century 10 is a tawny blend that ages for 10 years in oak casks. It has a nutty, sweetish flavor with dried fruit and a smooth, long finish.

Andresen Porto Royal Choice 20 ($34.99)

Also a tawny, this port has aged for 20 years and shows a much more complex flavor and body. There are more subtle notes of hazelnut and orange. This tawny was less "in your face" compared to the first port, more gentle and light.

By now the crowd was thinning, and all agreed that the evening was a triumphant success. Be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming wine events at the Pleasant Valley Golf Club!

Master Wine Event Listing

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.