Thursday, March 25, 2010

Potluck 2/26: The Wine-al Countdown

Mike, the man who can always be counted on to bring a 12 pack of beer or an extra-large bottle of wine, hosted the last potluck in February. In typical Mike style, he came up with a potluck theme that combined scientific rigor with a love for wine: an old fashioned wine-tasting. We brought bottles of wine, put them in paper bags, and then numbered them, so we could taste unencumbered by the knowledge of the quality of the wine or who brought it.

There was also food, of course. A delicious lentil dish, a cheesy tuna bake, pasta with homemade pesto, spicy cheesy potatoes, and a bourbon apple cinnamon bundt cake (which was my contribution). My cake was tasty enough, but really nothing special. And I didn't adequately butter the bundt pan, and when I tried to un-bundt it, it broke apart. So we ate it from the bundt pan. I can assure you, it was much better that way. Did I mention the bourbon glaze that got poured over it? I guess it was a little special. I got my recipe from The Kitchen Sink, and you can go there if you want the cake recipe. But let me just give you the glaze recipe, for pouring over whatever you want to taste like bourbon. Mmm.

Bourbon Glaze
from The Kitchen Sink

Shake a scant 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 Tbsp water in a mason jar to mix. Add 1 or 2 Tbsp good quality bourbon. Shake some more. Pour over cake, ice cream, poached fruit, or just into your mouth.

But back to the wine... here were the rules. Pour yourself a small (or large) cup of wine. Remember the number on the paper bag you poured from. Drink wine. If you are a true connoisseur, make mental notes on the flavor profile and think long and hard about what rating (between 0 and 10, with one decimal place allowed) you should give the wine. Write your rating in the row next to the wine number you drank. If you're just a regular person, sip wine, swish it around in your mouth, and pick a random number that may or may not correlate to the actual tastiness of the wine. Write said number in the correct row.
I personally only found a few wines that inspired either praise or serious dislike. Otherwise I went more with the "pick a number" method. There was plenty of good conversation, so it was also common for people to forget what number wine they just tried. What I'm saying is, that it wasn't a perfectly scientific study. But it sure was fun.
Near the end of the night, Gabriel took a calculator and tallied scores. Mike had provided prizes for the best wine, and for the best value wine (the wine with the highest score to price ratio). It should be noted that ratings of "i" and "pi" were disqualified for being imaginary and irrational, respectively. The rating, "ASS," was counted as a 0.

Katie and Kevin won the Best Value award, with their wine, Green Fin White Wine, at a price of $3.99 at Trader Joe's. Here is Katie accepting their prize, a princess bubble kit! (Yay!)

Gabriel's wine won the Best Overall award. He brought an Ulrich Langguth Riesling. Here we are accepting his prize of a scary inflatable pig punching balloon. It was truly scary, so I have spared you all by not posting pictures of it. It should be noted that Gabriel also brought the worst wine: Zarafa Sauvignon Blanc. Apparently, a giraffe on the bottle does not a good wine make. If you can decipher Gabriel's handwriting, here are the full results:

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  1. Fun! Looks like you guys know how to combine serious studying with serious libation!

  2. PS You can find roasted green wheat at any middle-eastern grocer