A few Sundays ago, we had the pleasure of attending a “Taste of the Vines” wine club release party at Eagle Ridge. Owners Jim and Cheryl Perry consistently out-do themselves with these parties, so it is safe to say that expectations were high. And again, they exceeded their previous best.
This party celebrated the release of their 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2011 Zinfandel. both varietals are squarely in Jim’s wheelhouse. Jim also espouses a theory about odd and even years and their effect on Zinfandels. I don’t really understand that, because I have enjoyed his Zins from both even and odd vintages, but I nodded wisely and said that we, too, were looking forward to an amazing odd-year Zin.
Like their previous party, they had moved a row of barrels forward to create a private space for dining tables. Jim and Deborah Thurman catered the event. Yes, that Chef Jim! The food featured pulled pork that not only paired well with the new wines, but actually contained the new wines. His passion for making people happy through food is apparent after a 30 second conversation. And Deborah’s memory never ceases to amaze. After meeting hundreds of people in her day, she see me enter the room and says, “Hello again, seafood allergy!” Talk about happy dining, I’m always sure that their food will taste great and there won’t be any unfortunate after-party issues. Thank you Thurmans!
But on to the wine. The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon had hints of dark fruit and leather, with just enough tannins to stand up to food. Great balance with a clean finish. We’re hoping to have the discipline to lay this down for a year, because it has the makings of greatness.
The 2011 Zinfandel was… Wow! Frequent readers will know that I define many wineries by their skill with the Zinfandel, and only recently awarded “favorite Zin” status to Darcie Kent’s latest release. Sorry Darcie, your reign was stellar, but brief. This new Eagle Ridge offering has it all: fruit forward on a bed of zing, crisp cherry nose, balanced acid, and enough punch at the end to stand up the Chef Jim’s pulled pork. I can’t wait to pair this with our tri-tip. Some smoked potatoes, some Bearnaise sauce, and this amazing Zin. Hungry yet?
The party was great! Because of the round tables seating 8, we met some fun people who shared our enthusiasm for wine (Jim’s wine particularly) and were able to sample the great food and amazing new wine in a comfortable and relaxing setting.
Well done, Jim and Cheryl! You out-did yourselves again.
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?