Tasters Guild members talk with Mary Alice and Bear Woodrum as they stroll about
Tasters Guild members talk with Mary Alice and Bear Woodrum as they stroll about

[Editors Note: Some of the recipes from the evening are posted at the bottom. More will be added shortly so please come back]

I ts difficult to review wines at a tasting when you find yourself sitting back and forgetting why you are there. I think of the Irish proverb that accompanied the announcement to the Tasters Guild Wine Evening in the Garden.

[quote]Life is short and we do not have much time…So be quick to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. And make haste to be kind.” [/quote]

For several years the local chapter of Tasters Guild has been graciously invited by Mary Alice and Bear Woodrum to their home near North Augusta to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Those labors being an amazing collection of plants and artwork that mesh together to create a magical place to walk about, relax and on this evening enjoy some nice wines.

The wine selection of the evening was selected and presented by members Dale and Sue Siliko. The appetizers that accompanied them were prepared by other members of the chapter (we will be posting some of their recipes in short order-it takes a while to retype them so come back).
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The evening started outside with four very nice whites. Each taster stopped by to get their sample then set out to explore the extensive gardens, stop to chat with old friends or simply sit on the balcony of Mary Alice’s studio and watch the sunset.

The Woodrums have approximately 5 acres, 3 of which are irrigated. Bear likes to joke that he writes the checks and pushes the shovel while Mary Alice is the inspiration for many of the fanciful touches that grace the property. There’s some 7,000 wine bottles, according to Bear’s estimates, being used to line walkways, provide low accent walls and even mark the location of water junction boxes (usually a gin bottle).

On a tour of the front of the property we came across a Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana). This beautiful shrub has white pillow like petals with a cascade of red stamen topped with bright yellow anthers. Mary Alice surprised us when she said told us to eat the white petals. They were amazingly sweet, tasting something like a honeysuckle but with pineapple-like fruit flavors. Makes you wonder about the dessert possibilities. Shame it only blooms once a year.

The place is so calming you have to remind yourself there was another wine to try and migrate back to Dale and Trudy who were presenting the wines.

One of the Guild members, Fritz, prepared a Fish Terrine that was an excellent match for the Chateau La Graviere, a white Bordeaux.
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When it was time for the red wines it was also time to go inside where once again other interesting things are for there to attract your attention: the granite curbstones acting as steps into the kitchen, the ceramic petals that form a flower around the stove vent at the ceiling (or maybe they are blue flames or ….. they are what your imagination makes of them).

The reds were from California, Spain and Argentina. Here the presentation was a little less formal, allowing the taster to taste in the order they chose. The Multiplicity is a really nice blend especially if you want a fruit forward full-bodied wine. Lots going on considering it has Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Refosco grapes. The retail price on this wine is $7.99 which make it even more amazing.

But if you wanted a wine that was more complex and a bit drier then the Laya Garnarcha/Monastrell blend from Spain is the wine for you. Or the Tinto Negro Malbec from Argentina. When you taste it your mouth waters for a nice steak or marinated red meat to go with it (and it went nicely with the marinated beef tips someone prepared).

(If you missed out Friday night you get another tasting opportunity of the Multiplicity and the Laya at Wine World’s Third Thursday tasting this week)

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And to end the evening there was a nice trifle loaded with fresh raspberries, crumbled macaroons, whipped creme, French Vanilla pudding and whipped creme. Oh, did I mention the Framboise Raspberry liquor.

It was a nice evening and especially nice that I got to share it with Mrs. Dan and my brother Charlie and sister-in-law Chris. We all have new friends, new inspirations and some new wines to add to our regular wine lists. But I suspect me and Charlie’s special project lists are about to get full. Maybe a wine bottle lined walkway or a nice flowing fountain. Bringing a bit of magic home from the Woodrums would be nice.
Where: Directions will be given at the time of rmaking the reservation.
When: Friday, May 11, 2012, 6 PM
Cost: Members $20 per person. Non-members $26 per person.

Dale Siliko with the red selection

Here are the wines presented (click to see more):

  1. Di Paolo Prosecco
  2. Callia Torrontes
  3. Beach House White
  4. Chateau La Graviere
  5. Le Lapin Multiplicity
  6. Laya Grenache / Monastrell
  7. Tinto Negro Malbec
  8. Primo Amore Moscato

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Di Paolo Prosecco
Fresh and gently fruity fizz from northeast Italy (Veneto) with citrus and green apple aromas. Delicate and lively on the palate with ripe, lightly grapey fruit, zesty acidity and a clean, refreshing finish.–From Tasting Notes.
From: Veneto, Italy
Winery: Di Paolo

Callia Torrontes

Callia Torrontes
Bright yellow with greenish tints. A delicate aroma with floral notes of roses and orange trees. Exotic and well-balanced in the mouth; very fresh, with balanced acidity.
From: Argentina
Winery: Bodegas Callia

Beach House White
A playful personality of lemon grass and gooseberries typical to Sauvignon Blanc. Giving way to a characteristic contribution by Semillon of honeysuckle, tangerine and lemon blossom. –From Tasting Notes.
From: Western Cape, South Africa
Winery: Douglas Green
Grapes: 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon


Chateau La Graviere
This is a white Bordeaux.
From: Entre deux Mers, Bordeaux, France
Winery: Château La Gravière


Le Lapin Multiplicity
Le Lapin is the value label of Rabbit Ridge (Le Lapin is French for Rabbit). Rich and round with bold black cherry, plum, and herb nuances. This is a blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Refosco.–From their Website
Dick Benjamin comments “A friendly blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Refosco. Ripe, round fruit aromas and flavors of red cherry and plum with hints of chocolate & spice. Easy finish. A long-time favorite. Great for cookouts. Burgers, grilled meats, pizza. Robust cheeses.
Vermont Smoked Cheddar.”
From: California
Winery: Rabbit Ridge



Laya Grenache / Monastrell
This wine spends 4 months in French oak barrels. Deep red cherry in color. Elegant, fresh and complex nose that highlights ripe fruit and floral notes. Nice and fresh on the palate, well-balanced with sweet but still young tannins, a delicious mouthful sensation that lingers on the very long and smooth finish.–From their Website
Dock Benjamin says “A full-bodied, food friendly blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Monastrell. Dark and concentrated, this is a big wine with blackberry and dark fruit flavors along with vanilla-oak and spice notes. Another winner from this excellent producer. Serve with slow braised lamb shoulder or grilled
venison. Grilled sausages, steaks. Flavorful cheeses. Gouda with Mediterranean Herbs.”
From: Spain
Winery: Bodegas Atalaya
Grapes: 70% Garnarcha, 30% Monastrell


Tinto Negro Malbec
Sourced from Mendoza’s Primera Zona of Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu the Mendoza blend is meant to showcase the exceptional value and approachable profile of Malbec. The wine’s soft, drinkable style is accompanied by light oak aging for additional complexity.–From the Distributor’s website.
From: Argentina
Winery: Tinto





Primo Amore Moscato
This was a nice way to end the evening. “Straw-yellow with golden reflections and a delicate mousse. Fruity and very inviting, with intense scents of peaches and exotic fruit. Fresh and pleasantly sweet with a taste that reveals its varietal characteristic. Excellent as dessert wine it matches perfectly with jam tarts fruit salads and pastry. Also delicious with ice cream, or just on its own as an accompaniment to conversation among friends. This refreshing and fruit Moscato wine comes from the warm Southern vineyards of Puglia. Primo Amore, or first love, expresses the joy of discovery experienced when a wine drinker first encounters the sweetness and enticing fragrance of the delicate wine.” –Tasting notes from the Winery
From: Puglia, Italy
Winery: Primo Amore

Pineapple Guava bloom
Pineapple Guava bloom

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext] Fritz’s Fish Terrine [/tabtext] [tabtext]Ingredients [/tabtext] [tabtext]How to Make [/tabtext][/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab][/tab] [tab]

1/2 lb cod filets

1/2 lb tilapia filets

1/2 lb lobster tail, crab meat, large shrimp or crab flavored seafood

4 eggs

1/4 lb reduced fat sour cream

1/2 cup cream<

2 shallots

1 teaspoon curry powder<

2 table spoons olive oil

Salt, pepper

[/tab][tab]Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cut the cod and tilapia filets in small, regularly sized, pieces. Heat a large volume of salted water to the boiling point and add the pieces of cod and tilapia. Simmer for 10 min. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and let it cool. Put the fish in a blender and homogenize but not to a mush. Clean and cut the shallots and simmer the pieces in the olive oil until transparent.

Carefully mix the fish, shallots, sour cream, cream and curry powder. Add salt and pepper according to taste. Thoroughly mix 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites and fold that in the fish mixture.

Lightly butter a terrine and cover the bottom of the terrine with the fish-egg mixture. Place some pieces of lobster etc on top of the fish, followed by fish mixture. Repeat this and end with the fix mixture as last.

Place in a double boiler and heat for 60 min in the pre-heated oven. Check whether the terrine is sufficiently done by inserting a knife in the body of the terrine. It should come out dry.

Let the terrine cool. Serve with a curry mayonnaise and/or with diced tomatoes and olive oil.[/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]


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