Enjoying Life One Glass at a Time

November 2016 Wine Club

A great tasting and a primer on oak from a couple of very knowledgable folks was on tap for our November meeting. Phil and Nancy McCullum from Sweet Earth Vineyards in Willamette Valley, Oregon were on hand to enlighten us about OAK!


Before getting started, I need to pass on heavy kudos to Michele Gazica and Bob Spetter who had the ‘in’ with the winemakers and whose suggestion led to our very successful November program. This is the 3rd or 4th (so hard to keep track of these things) very different programs instigated by one of our members. If you have an idea for a wine related program/tasting, PLEASE pass it along. We love to have your suggestions. Also, once again, mental applause and a bag of Skittles to Bob Rea who has taken over the job of Wine Club Photographer (which now pays twice the salary of the entire Board of Directors). Thanks to Bob who could have been enjoying “icky” wine instead of immortalizing us in pixels!

The Tastings

So…we got something very different from Phil and Nancy. Apart from their amazing store of knowledge about nearly everything winemaking, we got an in-depth schooling on the similarities and differences between French and Hungarian Oak.


The wines were a true test of the Oaks used, as all three wines started out in the same vats until going into French (Estate Pinot) and Hungarian Oak Pinot Noir-Hungarian Oak). The third wine (Quilters’ Block) was a blend of the two.


Tasting I found to be very interesting. I am usually able to smell differences in wines more readily than when tasting them. In this case I spent quite a while trying to discern the difference by smell (it was there but, I thought, subtle) before I tasted the wines. The tasting was where the difference became very apparent. The Hungarian Oak gave a sharper taste that seemed to be more upfront than the French Oak. Not that it was unpleasant, just more ‘there’. BTW, I should add that all 3 wines were
very nice and would stand up well in any blind tasting of Oregon Pinots.

Nancy and Phil also provided a bottle of their wine for our door prize, won by Toni Kellas.


Judging by the comments I received, this program ranked up with the top 2 or 3 we have had (I heard several comparisons to the Olive Oil tasting). When folks like Phil and Nancy give their time to help us learn about what to them must be a labor of love, it stays with us for a long time. Again, our sincere thanks.

El Primat Vino

We (Wayne, Kathy, Diane, and I) spent a lot of time talking about the El Primat Vino contest. We all agreed that we liked it, but we have yet to figure out a good format for it. One option is to drop it altogether—as always the easy way out. If you have any ideas, let one of us know. Our problems with the high-quality limited tasting are several; too many wines to taste at one sitting; high cost of wine if we separate the tastings into ‘heats’ and then rebuy the heat winners; combining tastings with our normal programs (again, too much wine to taste in one sitting).

The Food

Is it me or were the appetizers some of the best we have EVER had? Seriously, they were wonderful, spanning the gamut in types of meats, vegetarian offerings, with a good balance of sweet and savory. You should all take pride in the effort you put forth. Some of the great tasties below:




And The Folks That Make Us Great!











So Until Next Time…