WINEormous attends Men's Wine CouncilWhat could compel two grown men to visit a dark bathroom together? The Pink Panda glow in the dark wine bottle label, of course. What else? We started our March get together at Sue and Todd’s beautifully decorated home with the non-vintage Pink Panda Sparkling wine from Rebel Coast Winery. It’s hard for me not to like a winery who claims they make wine that can “stand with all the big boys of Napa, but chooses to sneak under the table and make out with the bridesmaids instead.” Made from Pinot Noir grapes from the Alexander Valley, it’s a slightly sweet bubbly that paired nicely with dolmas as well as a cracker with herbed goat cheese and ham. At right around $18, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Sticking around Sonoma County for a bit, we moved on to the 2010 Buena Vista Pinot Noir. I loved the nose and found this wine displayed true Pinot characteristics. It was smooth with a nice long finish and it went very well with Todd’s Australian lamb riblets. It’s a steal at $14.99.

We proceeded to the second offering from Rebel Coast, the Naked Rebel Red. Only 150 cases of this Cab/Syrah blend were produced and it appears to be sold out. On the nose I picked up leather and tobacco. A fruit forward wine, it was well balanced with smooth tannins and it was a great match for the broiled flank steak with garlic butter that I prepared. If you can find it it’s around $20.

WINEormous at the Men's Wine CouncilThe 2010 Buena Vista Merlot was our next wine. We’d had this before and on both occasions, the nose seemed off. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t what I look for when I sniff a wine. Getting past the nose, the wine tasted pretty good and it was food friendly, pairing nicely with the lamb riblets, the flank steak and cucumber with black pepper. It’s priced at $14.99, but honestly I think there are better Merlot values out there.

We shifted continents and went to Spain for the 2008 Rioja Bordón Tempranillo Crianza. Roger returned from his trip to Wisconsin with venison and prepared venison steak medallions in seasoned bread crumbs. The wine had a vanilla and dark cherry nose and tart cherry on the palate and was an ideal accompaniment the the venison. It liked all the meats and at $11 a bottle, I’d be tempted to snag a case!

Another Rioja was our next offering, a 2006 Bordón Tempranillo Reserva. It presented a bold, earthy nose and the wine really opened up as it spent time in the glass. Again it paired very well with all the meats. It’s a solid wine and well priced at $18.99.

WINEormous lamb ribletsWe ended our get together with Dry Creek Vineyard 2010 Heritage Zinfandel. It’s a Zin with an in-your-face nose which I loved. Bursting with blueberries on the palate, it went very nicely with the steak and the lamb as well as milk chocolate. It’s priced right at $19. There are several more wine councils on the calendar this summer and I’ll fill you in on what we taste.