Friday, May 10, 2013

Another Wine Tasting…or Was it a Food Tasting?

About once a month, our wine tasting group gets together to socialize, taste some different wines and share some appetizers.  Sometimes there is a theme and sometimes, we all just bring a wine you like for everyone to sample… In April, it was our turn to stage this event… We chose wines of Eastern Europe as our theme.

This is our kitchen counter just prior to the arrival of our wine tasting group.  Members of this group only number 7 couples…with an occasional guest or guest couple…and sometimes a substitute couple. 
For awhile, the host couple furnished a main course and the others brought side dishes, appetizers or dessert.  It was decided that this was too much pressure and since everyone in the group is retired or mostly retired, who needs the stress!  Now it’s 'just' appetizers with the host furnishing desserts…

We always start out the evening with a little ‘non-theme’ basic wine furnished by the host and, in this case, Laurie also whipped up a batch of Tellico Bourbon Slushies…always a winner!  You have to ‘eat’ these slushies’ with a spoon…

Holly and Joel brought these terrific little ham and cheese sandwiches on poppy seed buns. 
You will note that we didn’t take any food pictures showing a complete platter of food… We were too involved with pre-tasting libations and the food itself and we almost forgot to take photos at all!
I hope that I remembered correctly who brought which appetizer!  If I got it wrong, you have my apologies up front...

Here Martha is working her way past the stuffed grape leafs (from Karen), the olives and cheese, the smoked salmon and the lox…all with toast crisps, sour cream, dill sauce and capers.  And yes…just to the right of the photo…there is a bottle of Tabasco for those like myself who like a little added ‘heat’ with their food.

Thanks to Karen, would you like to try a little Greek spanakopita?  Karen was on her own this evening as Charlie was out of town on business. (As mentioned above, not everyone in our group is totally retired)

How about Larry and Bev’s stuffed potato skins…3 different varieties?!  My favorite was the Greek version…with feta cheese and sausage.
Irv and Martha really went out of their way to match their appetizer with the Eastern European wine theme!  Martha made up this batch of Latvian piragi that was accompanied with a sour cream and horseradish sauce.  These are the Latvian version of Polish pirogi.

Fred and Jenny brought this great carnivore’s platter of meatballs and little pork ribs while Dick and Susan brought that nice looking pate and crackers…
Just in case anyone was still hungry there were bowls of mixed nuts and chocolate covered pomegranates here and there around the party space.
Then we had to stop eating and actually begin our wine tasting!

I included this photo just to prove that we did eventually stop eating and started tasting the wines that people brought.  This is Irv talking briefly about their wine… One can get ‘booed off the stage’ if they go into a long dissertation about the wine that they brought to the party!
Our people photos didn’t come out too well for this evening’s events… We have a brand new camera and Laurie is still figuring out how it works.  Worse yet, I took some of these photos…and many others that I’m not sharing.  The fact is that I don’t learn about these newfangled gadgets until my better half tells me the basics about how they work.

Here are the wines we officially sampled at our wine tasting party… From the left there are wines from Moldova, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Greece, a wine from the ‘Russian’ River valley area of California and finally, another Greek wine.  We were pleased and surprised to find that we generally enjoyed all of these wines!
This was a nice selection of eastern European wines considering that we live in eastern Tennessee.  While we wouldn’t have had any real challenge finding comparable wines in a major market, very few stores in these parts carry any wines from that part of the world.
Thanks to Bob’s Package Store Inc. (, McScrooge’s Wine and Liquor Warehouse ( and Corks Wine and Spirits Inc., a new small batch wine retailer located in the Turkey Creek shopping area next to the new Publix Store. ( All of these retailers contributed to our gathering as they all carried at least one variety of wine from Eastern Europe.  McScrooge’s had the widest variety from this region while Ryan McElveen at Corks actually offered to provide us with a bottle from his own personal collection…  

Did I mention dessert?!  This is a Carmel Tres Leche Cake from Costco.  It was a definite winner, capping off our little party with a bit of sweet to settle all of that food and wine…
But back to the basic question… Was this really a wine tasting or was it a food tasting?  The fact is that tasting is a ‘gentle’ way to describe either part of this evening… The wine was great, the food was delicious and the socializing was even better!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…especially if you’re hungry!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this fun evening with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Nice write up Dave. I believe you should be the official Wine Group reporter/ blogger

  2. Fun, fun it sounds like to me!!!!

  3. Dear David, This looks like a lot of good fun. It doesn't matter if it is wine tasting or food tasting as long as you all had good fun and food. Blessings, Catherine