This past weekend started innocently enough, it was a long holiday weekend so we decided to lay low and just enjoy one of the last hot weekends here in Ohio until the seemingly 9 months of winter sets in.

Well, that went downhill fast when I got a call from my cousin asking what we were up to. I will tell you this; quite a few of our fantastic wine stories involve my cousin and his wife. After about 30 seconds on the phone we decided that we would hold our annual “Mid-Years Eve,”™ which is never actually in the middle of the year and completely arbitrary, but usually just involves us sitting around, playing games, and drinking too much good wine. This year did not disappoint. We started off with a Riesling and then the evening moved on with an unintentional Pinot party starting with a Joel Gott Pinot Gris from Oregon, two Pinot Noirs from Sonoma County and a Pinot Noir from Mendocino County (California).

Cheese Plate

I can make a pretty mean cheese plate!

Affentaler Valley of the Monkey Riesling: (what I dubbed as the “Curse of the Golden Monkey”)

Seeing how this was a “birthday gift” from my cousin and his wife, I thought it was only appropriate to make sure I force them to drink it share this with them. The color was an exceptionally gold honey color, with an aroma that was sweet, floral, and citrus. The honey color and sweet aroma were slightly misleading. The taste came across acidic, high in citrus, and more like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Riesling. While Rieslings aren’t really my taste, this one wasn’t over the top due to the acidity.

2014 Joel Gott Oregon Pinot Gris – Williamette Valley:

I’ll start by saying this is a great wine and was the first time that I have had it. The heat lately has me really enjoying chilled Pinot Gris (Grigio). It had an amazing peach, flora nose, and a crisp clean smell. The wine had an exceptional taste; light and crisp with lemon/citrus flavors. For the $15 price tag, it’s a pretty exceptional wine.

2009 Nicholson Ranch Pinot Noir – Sonoma County:

Nicholson Ranch

2009 Nicholson Ranch Pinot Noir

The four of us have had the chance to visit the Napa Valley twice together. It was on our first trip as a group that we visited Nicholson Ranch, a small but beautiful, family owned Sonoma winery. The 2009 Pinot was a bottle my wife and I brought back so it seemed like a perfect bottle to open and it was worth the wait. The wine had a pleasant earthy tone, with red tree fruit aroma. The taste was an exceptional light tart cherry, with a nice smokiness. The wine was balanced perfectly between the tannins and slight acidity. I actually can’t wait to get my hands on a few more bottles of their current vintages.

2013 Belle Glos Pinot Noir Las Alturas – Monterey County (California):

I’ve talked about the Wagner family in my 2012 Caymus Cab review. The Belle Glos label is made by Chuck Wagner’s second son Joseph Wagner. He keeps with the family tradition of making fantastic wines. The Belle Glos Pinot was great. It had a pretty unique creaminess, almost caramel and somewhat vanilla mouthfeel (yes, that is a word! look it up!). The taste was full of ripe fruit, never overwhelming, with a great plum flavor mixed with red berry in every sip. I also need to mention the strong dark color of the wine, a deep purple uncharacteristic of a Pinot Noir. The Belle Glos Pinot Noirs are produced from single source vineyards so you may see a bottle with Las Alturas, Dairyman, Clark & Telephone, or Taylor Lane. Each one will have its own unique characteristics.

2012 Roth Pinot Noir – Sonoma Coast

This was a bit of a surprise wine for me. I’m still not sure where it came from, and may have been a random grocery store purchase (edit: I was later informed by my wife that she had intentionally purchased it prior to our last Napa trip). It was a happy surprise. It had a bright cherry flavor with a little oak and was exceptionally cherry forward and crisp. It had a great balance with very little acidity.  This was a surprisingly complex wine and a very happy find. Pic

We had a great time at our impromptu Pinot Party/Mid-Year’s Eve™ celebration. It’s always fun to get together and share wine, especially when good wine is appreciated. At the end of the day, you don’t need to have big elaborate events to enjoy wine. Sometimes you just need a few like-minded people and a good board game.


World domination is serious business even in board game form!

A word of caution…Playing the game “Risk” while drinking (no matter how good the wine) could possibly lead to divorce, especially when world domination is on the line.


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