While we were having our dinner at the Ravens Club in Ann Arbor with my fellow Wine Blogger Oliver and his charming wife Nina we were witnessing a bottle of wine take a very unique trip. Of course with the four of us, wine is always a topic of discussion. Oliver was lamenting that he was not writing as much as he would like, and we discussed some of the writings of some of the other Bloggers as well, since Oliver has had the fortune to actually know several of them in person. I on the other hand only know them through their writings or from Social Media, but I feel a bond with those that I have encountered this way. Wine is a social event and not a solitary endeavor, and given the time we can all be rather gregarious in espousing the virtues of the fermented grape.
There was a couple that was having dinner at another table behind my Bride and Nina and they had a bottle of wine between them. There was another couple at the table adjacent to us that were also having dinner, and as one thing led to another, we ended up discussing wines and our passion for the wines and also of our writing about wines; as I said, we tend to be a friendly group of people. The first couple finished their meal and only had a glass or two from the bottle, and even though Michigan now allows you to leave with a partial bottle of wine after your dinner, they took the bottle over to the couple next to us and wanted them to enjoy the wine. This couple graciously accepted the gift, though they stated that they were really red wine drinkers. They tried some of the wine and continued on with their discussion and occasionally our table had some asides with them again. We had finished our dinner and were going to get ready to leave; when the second couple brought over the bottle and thought they we might enjoy the balance of them wine.
I have to admit, that there is seldom a time when wine afficianados would turn down a chance to try a new wine. The wine was a Chardonnay, and there are some people who claim to be ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) drinkers. Now Oliver is a big fan of German Riesling wines, but he does venture off to try other wines as well, as he is a member of the Century Club, and one day, I may get off of my inertia and actually fill out the form as well to see how I fare. Now for Chardonnay wines, I tend to lump them into two large groups. The first group is how this varietal works in the French region of Burgundy, a very crisp and bright wine with a lot of nuance when done properly and there are legions of fans for this type of wine. The other group of Chardonnay, if I may pigeon-hole them is for the big California style oakey wines, that may be very buttery and mellow, and this group has a loyal following as well, though I have noticed in some of the contemporary writings that some people are belaboring the fact of too much oak these days. I did not get a chance to discuss this particular wine with the first couple, as we were originally out of the original equation and perhaps they were looking for more of a buttery Chardonnay, as this wine was made more in the French style. The second couple tried some of the wine, but alas they just were not into white wines as much as they enjoyed red wines. So when the wine ended up at our table, we had to call for some fresh wine glasses to try this new wine.
The wine that was passed around to three tables was Roco Chardonnay 2012 from Roco Winery of Oregon. The fruit came from the Rose Rock West Vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA which is a newer and sub-appellation of the much larger Willamette Valley designation. This was a very well crafted wine that is in an elevated area and not on the base of the valley, and the terroir of this district enabled them to get their own designation. As I stated this was a well crafted wine and there were only 250 cases produced, so it was good that we could have a chance to try it, as it was not offered by the glass in the restaurant. It was a very nice way to end the evening with this surprising gift of wine and our table did enjoy it, and yes the wine bottle became as I tend to call them a “dead soldier,” and I took the bottle with us a memory and another label for me to remove to add to my collection.