New face, familiar faces and a Benjamin pouring at table 1.
New faces, familiar faces and a Benjamin pouring at table 1.

I t was the same but it was different. Tonight was the first tasting at Wine World since the passing of our friend Dick Benjamin.

Many of the familiar faces were there to sample six great wines and chat. Some faces were new, which meant new friends to make. That is the essence of every wine tasting at Wine World.

What was of course different was there was a different Benjamin at the front table. Sally, Dick’s wife, was the one doing the greeting, hugging and pouring.

Remarkable lady. She knows that Dick would want everyone to carry on and enjoy life. What better way than with a glass of wine and friends.

Speaking of meeting new people I talked to Tyner who was at his first Wine World tasting with several friends. “Pretty awesome!” is what he said about the first wine of the evening, the Ruffino Prosecco Extra Dry. “That’s surprising because I’ve never had a sparkling wine that I liked. And it’s well priced.” (the regular price is $12.99 but was on sale for $10.99)

I had to laugh because it reminded me of a quote from Monday night’s gathering honoring Dick. One comment was “I said I don’t like chardonnay and Dick corrected me and said, you’ve never tried a Chardonnay that you like and he was right.” That’s the reason why tastings are so great. You get to try wines “you don’t like” to find ones you will like.

My personal favorite of the night was the Millstone Red Blend 2012. This blend has some nice jammy flavors. If you like a wine with fruit then this is for you. The Syrah (37%)and the Zinfandel(36%) dominate the flavors but the Merlot (14%) and Petite Sirah (10%) (and some mystery grape since the math leaves 3% unaccounted for) tone it down a bit and adds some dryness or maybe some chewiness on the finish. I think I need some to take home.

Oops. Don’t want to forget the cheeses: Castello Havarti Dill, El Greco Manchego and Grafton Village Maple Smoked Cheddar. I think I need some of the Havarti Dill for the holidays.

One last note. I printed out the URL link to the youTube video I posted from Monday night and placed it at Table 1. At the bottom I wrote “Dick can’t be here tonight. He’s pouring at a higher table.” I believe he is.

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Where: Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, SC

When: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, 5 to 8pm
Cost: $5 fee—$3 rebate with  your purchase of  one bottle of featured wine

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

  1. Ruffino Prosecco Extra Dry
  2. Ken Forrester Petit Chenin
  3. Edna Valley Chardonnay
  4. Blau
  5. Tangley Oaks Merlot
  6. Millstone Red Blend 2012

Here are the detailed wine notes:
Ruffino Prosecco Extra Dry | Veneto, Italy
Made from the Glera grape, the famous sparkling wine from northeastern Italy is a versatile companion. It’s an excellent, affordable festive wine for the holidays. Great by itself or with chicken, seafood, spicy Asian dishes, rich creamy, buttery dishes. Stuffed mushroom. Popcorn!

Ken Forrester Petit Chenin | Stellenbosch, South Africa
Flavors  of crisp green apples and grapefruit with notes of quince & pear.  100% Chenin Blanc.  Fresh & fruity. Enjoy young.  Supple & creamy.    Ken Forrester’s website suggests for ageing potential: “Should last half an hour with the cap off and reach for the next bottle!  Enjoy with seafood, chicken, salads. Perfect aperitif.  A Wine World favorite!

Edna Valley Chardonnay | California
“Our Chardonnay captures the essence of the Edna Valley, showcasing complex peach, pear and tropical flavors that have developed slowly on the vine. A refined, terroir-driven minerality dances through the silky midpalate, joined by caramel, clove and cinnamon. Gentle winemaking leaves a subtle impression of creaminess and balances the bright fruit that carries through the finish. A wine that offers a little bit of everything, this appealing Chardonnay pairs with a variety of foods such as salmon with lentil salad, chicken tagine or pasta with asparagus and pancetta.”

Blau | Montsant, Spain
A terrific red!    Rich black cherry, plum & pomegranate fruit with notes of spice, lavender, smoke & chocolate.  Round texture, well-integrated tannins  & long finish. Full-bodied blend of Mazuela (Carignan) 40%, Syrah 40% & Garnacha 20%.  (12 months in French oak.) An affordable, delicious over-achiever!  Braised lamb shanks. Duck with olives & green peppercorns. Grilled steaks, burgers, eggplant.  Aged Gouda, Parmesan, Manchego.

Tangley Oaks Merlot | Napa, California
Here’s an impressive  Merlot.  Aromas of rich plums, dark cherries with notes of chocolate and savory herbs.  Flavors focus on lush plums and dark cherries with undertones of mocha.  Smooth finish. Steak and Burgers. Beef Rib Roast. Eggplant casserole. Robust cheeses.  

Millstone Red Blend 2012 | California
Enticing red blend with ripe, fruity aroma and flavors of black cherry, cassis and hints of vanilla. The blend is 37% Syrah,  36% Zinfandel, 14% Merlot,  10% Petite Sirah, and 3% . . . ? Relaxing by the fireplace…or just relaxing. Grilled Sausages, Burgers. Red pepper melange. Tapenade.  Stuffed mushrooms. Dark chocolate?                   


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