Wine Down, Girls Night, Book/Wine Club whatever you call it, this is one of my favorite nights of the month, Book/Wine Club with some of my favorite women. We’re started as (library) card-carrying, book-toting readers about a dozen years ago. That fact amazes me almost as much as these women do. They are each beautiful, creative, strong, supportive, great advice-givers, amazing home cooks and they enjoy a glass of wine as much as I do. Other women have joined and left, but this core group of five has withstood the test of time, life issues and triumphs. We are more than a Book/Wine Club, we are a sorority of sorts, offering encouragement, understanding, acceptance and when all else fails, a sense of humor.
Our meetings used to be much more involved and labor intensive. When it was your turn to host, you picked the book we’d read and hosted a book-themed dinner. Unfortunately, the hostess didn’t get to enjoy the get-together as much because she was ready to collapse by mid-evening. Each month the meal was a feast, props relating to the book appeared and even small gifts for each person. Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about it. We finally got a little smarter and realized the Book/Wine Club was really most about sharing time so now we meet in restaurants for happy hour. For a change of pace, I offered to host an easy, no-book, no-prop wine tasting at my house.
Each of us contributed a bottle of wine carefully concealed from the others until the moment of tasting and — thanks to an absolutely beautiful Michigan spring evening, we dined al fresco under a beautiful blue almost cloudless sky and bright sun which of course, itself morphed into a setting sun, though we were talking so much, we hardly noticed!.
- Seaglass/Sauvignon Blanc/California: 13.5% alcohol, about $10 per bottle
- Manina/Sauvignon Blanc/Chile: 12.5% alcohol, about $9 per bottle
- Yellow Tail/Chardonnay/Australia: 13% alcohol, about $9 per bottle.
- Blackstone/Pino Noir/California: 13.5% alcohol, about $8 per bottle
- Pampa/Malbec/Argentina: 13% alcohol, about $12 per bottle.
Clearly, the wines weren’t expensive and there wasn’t a bad one in the bunch. We tasted each from light to dark, with and without ‘wine crackers’ between each and found that the wine crackers really did cleanse our palates and changed the taste of the wines.
We started our tasting/feasting with a charcuterie board or in other words, a grown-up meat and cheese platter. A charcuterie board is easy to assemble with so many options. Just layer your favorite cheeses, cured meats and nuts and fruits. They go really well with any kind of wine and literally have something for everyone on them. . . girl food, guy food — anyone can enjoy a charcuterie board.
This is what was on ours:
- Smoked Gouda
- Soft Havarti
- Herbed Goat
- Plain Goat topped with fig jam
- Kalamata olives
- Crunchy breadsticks
Now I am by no means am I an expert in all things charcuterie; my first was at Prost Wine Bar & Charcuterie (and I needed help pronouncing shahr-koo-tuh–ree ’cause I’m that person) in Frankenmuth which is in mid-Michigan. It sounds fancy ~ but isn’t.
We continued our food and wine fest with another simple appetizer – store bought hummus and tzatziki then dove right into this beautiful, fresh Pesto Pasta.
Time with good friends is time well spent. Cheers!