Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Traveling Vineyard

Have you heard of Traveling Vineyard? It's a direct selling company, but instead of selling sprinkles or make up or books "wine guides" sell wine. A former coworker became a wine guide earlier this year. My mother hosted a wine party back in June, but it was the day of our baby shower and I was exhausted after so we didn't go. A family friend hosted a wine party back in October, but we were unable to attend that one too. I decided we would host a party ourselves.

We set a date. About two weeks prior, our wine guide brought us an information folder. It included all the information about hosting a party along with foods that pair well with the wine. As a part of hosting the party, you are in charge of providing snacks that pair with the wines to your guests.

These are descriptions taken from the Traveling Vineyard website of the five wines which were brought to our party:

  1. Zapatazo Torront├ęs: Brilliant pale lemon-yellow in the glass. Nose of white flowers and stone fruits, peach fuzz & ripe apricot. This wine tastes as it smells, plus a hint of minerality. Good acidity and feel, light bodied and crisp, with a lingering freshness.
  2. Hoot White Blend: Brilliant pale straw, medium body. Slightly vinous white flowers nose over nuts and approaching spicy stone fruits, nectarine-to-apricot. Good fresh acidity and acid/sugar balance, richer-than-expected mouthfeel, good extraction.
  3. Rayado Cabernet Sauvignon: Herbaceous black earth fruit nose over toasted plank, baker's chocolate & black earth; with smoke & black pepper touches. Integrated, balanced & concentrated black fruit over the nose flavors, lengthy finish. Juicy, fruity, smooth & quaffable as a burgers-on-the-grill red, or with beef stew and Italian red sauce dishes.
  4. Never Have I Ever Pinot Noir: Translucent garnet-to-brick hues in the glass. Aromas of dried strawberry and raspberry. A whiff of warm spice and dried herbs/violets. Soft on tannins, light-to-medium bodied, clean, balanced and accessible.
  5. Fissata Blonde Fizzy White Wine: Gently sparkling with notes of peach, white flowers, mandarin orange and nectarine. The palate also shows hints of ripe melon and dried apricot.
Our wine guide also brought a Caramel Apple Sangria made with the Zapatazo wine, caramel vodka, and apples. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but I don't have a copy of the recipe. We started the night with the sangria. It had a very strong caramel flavor. It also tasted strongly of alcohol to me. While I could have drank the entire glass of about 4 ounces, I only drink about half of it. I did like the flavor, but after not drinking much for over a year due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, I didn't want to risk ingesting too much alcohol right off the start.

We then began the actual tasting. This included looking at the color of each wine, swirling, smelling, and tasting. We tried the wines in the same order listed above. 

The first wine we tried was the Zapatazo. This wine was also used to make the sangria. It was a little drier than I normally like when it comes to wine, but I drank my two ounces. We paired this wine with cream cheese topped with spicy red pepper jelly and club crackers. While I didn't feel the pairing actually improved the wine, the crackers were delicious!

We moved onto Hoot after that. This is a wine our guide thought I would really like. After the first sip, I wasn't sure how much I liked it. Our guide mentioned something about needing to eat something salty to get the sweetness of the pepper jelly out of her mouth to fully enjoy the wine. We paired this wine with buffalo chicken dip and corn chips. After eating a corn chip with dip on it, the wine tasted much better. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine.

The next two wines were red wines. I am allergic to red wines and have a pretty severe gastrointestinal reaction when I drink them. I didn't try either of these wines because of that, but I did eat the pairings. We paired the Rayado with fudge brownies. My husband wasn't a big fan of this wine, but after our wine guide poured it through a decanter, he enjoyed it much more. I guess the decanter made it more light and airy. The Never Had I Ever was paired with cheddar cheese and crackers. My husband and my mother loved this wine. 

The final wine we tried was Fissata. This wine was paired with barbecue chips and orange juice. The chips were the main pairing as the orange juice was used to make mimosas. I really enjoyed this wine. It made super yummy mimosas too.

Our wine party was a lot smaller than expected because six of our twelve expected guests cancelled last minute. They all had good reasons for being unable to make it, but I was a little disappointed. Once our party was underway, though, I enjoyed the small group. We had more wine and snacks to share among the eight total people who were here. All of the food except for three small brownies and about a cup of the buffalo chicken dip was eaten. There was barely any wine left either.

Everyone who attended our party ordered along with two people who weren't able to make it. We ended up getting a pretty good deal ourselves. We ordered a couple bottles of the Never Have I Ever as my husband really enjoyed this wine. Because of this order, we got a free bottle of wine and I wanted to get a bottle of Hoot. We also got two half priced accessories. We ordered the Magic Decanter Aerator which I'm gifting to my husband for his birthday (from back in May!) and the Wine Saver. Because we ordered three bottles of wine, we also got a great deal on some tulip wine pourers.

While I am not a huge wine drinker, I thoroughly enjoyed this party. I would attend one if hosted by someone else and may host another myself sometime next year in hopes more people would be able to attend. I learned a lot about wine tastings and pairings. I also got to try some wines I wouldn't have had the option to otherwise. The wines sold by Traveling Vineyards is not available anywhere else. The guests we had also enjoyed the party which is always great to hear! If you have an opportunity to go to or host your own wine party with Traveling Vineyards, I would highly recommend it!

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