Ten groups gathered around two tables, one within the winery and one out in the glorious sunshine. In front of each group sat five glasses and a beaker. The challenge was deceptively simple -- combine Sangiovese, Barbera, Teroldego, and Primitivo to create a compelling blend. At least 40% had to be Sangio, no more than 10% could be Barbera, and all four had to be used. We had one hour.
My Charles and I started with what we called the, "Mathematical Blend." It was nice but wasn't quite right. Onward we delved, creating six blends within the space of that hour. We were the most satisfied with our fifth blend. It had just enough fruitiness to be enjoyed on its own but with enough backbone for personality. Plus, it would go great with food. We had enough extra time after creating our favorite blend for what we called, "Charles' Extra Credit Super Tuscan," which we didn't enter but also thoroughly enjoyed. It was 75% Sangiovese, 2% Barbera, 15% Teroldego, and 8% Primitivo. Try it out the next time you have a wine party. It was quite nice.
Then the competition commenced. Everyone brought enjoyable blends to the table. One didn't have much structure. One was very fruity. They were all nice. When we got to our wine, Mark, Mr. Winemaker Extraordinaire, poured everyone our blend. Not to start any rumors, but I MAY have witnessed him taking the extra from our offering and stashing it away. In the end, we didn't win the competition. The blend went to the creation for which we voted. (We weren't allowed to vote for ourselves.;)) It was very nice, and the lady who won was very surprised and honored that hers was the most popular.
If all of that wasn't enough, my Charles and I and the rest of the blenders got to try Mark's newest creation, a sparkling rosé. Full of strawberries with just enough dryness to please the palate, it was the best sparkling wine I've had in a long time. I can't wait until it's bottled!
As the day wound down, we realized that we needed to get home to the pup. We said our goodbyes and left our entry's recipe with Mark. As we drove away, my Charles and I looked at each other and smiled. He looked back at the road and said, "This is the most fun we've had since we moved to Nevada County." I couldn't agree more.
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