So, for those keeping count (uh, me), here's what we went through:
Nierano Moscato D'Asti Pitule 2007: Given how much I talk about this wine as a classic warm weather quencher, is there any surprise I'd start with a Moscato D'Asti? This was a classic moscato - sweet pear and melon notes with a floral scent and just the right amount of frizzante (plus, a nice, slight 5.5% alcohol content). My friend, Eric, (and Rebecca) and I practically finished the entire bottle ourselves.
Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc "The Fume" 2007: Enjoyed this wine with some of our pre-dinner cheese, crackers and pretzels.
Firesteed Pinot Noir 2007/Gruet Brut Sparkling White: While some enjoyed the smooth berry notes of the Firesteed Pinot (recommended by my friend, Rachel - thanks RK), some of us (uh, me, wih the help of the afore-mentioned Eric) made very quick work of this very dry, crisp sparkler.
Botromagno Primitivo 2005: My guests went through it so quick I didn't even get a shot. I guess it was good!
Lange Pinot Gris 2007: Lange is one of my favorite Oregon producers and we opened this white for those late-comers who wanted to start with white. Crisp, dry, with a nice hint of oak and citrus. Went fast, as did everything else it seemed.
Quinta de la Rosa 2005: For those who haven't tried wine from the Portuguese region of Douro, what are you waiting for? Awesome berry with some restrained tannins on the finish. Everyone I've introduced this particular wine to has become a fan.
Hendry Red Table Wine 2002: Traditional Bordeaux blend of Cab. Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab. Franc. I had to decant for awhile. I'm still drinking now (having opened about two hours ago) and it's finally calmed down though it's still pretty big. I opened for a different Eric and he preferred the Quinta de la Rosa. Would have been better while serving heartier food but I'm enjoying it.
So there's the round-up. Ultimately, my favorite of the evening was probably the Quinta de la Rosa. I'm just having a hard time being let down by wines from the Douro right now. They just seem to be doing everything right and aren't too big where they're over-producing crap (yeah, I'm talking to you Argentina).
Much more important than the wine, o.k., nothing is more important than the wine, maybe as important, are all of the friends who helped me enjoy my annual bacchanalia.
A special shout out goes to:
Bill H.: Even though you didn't stop by, you've been a great landlord. Thanks for the grill.
Tim B.: Thanks for being the grill master. Anytime you get "grill-sick," come on by and feel free to bring Grace!
Liz (and Nick): Thanks for the cupcakes and the cocktail idea. You are my Liz Lemon and I adore both you and the amazing Nick L.
Thanks to everyone else who made their way up from Delaware, Pennsylvania and the far reaches of Hoboken. I had a great time and I hope you did as well. I'm now thinking a January late winter blues party may be in order (especially since it means good, hearty reds and maybe a stew - Joanna, you up for that?).
Cheers and Happy Summer,