03/02/08 – Spain and Portugal tasting at Vendome

By jasonm1 on March 2, 2008

This week we’ve got a Young Winos first… our weekly tasting will be held off-site at a wine shop, and will be run by a wine professional instead of yours truly. On Wednesday night, we’ll be heading to Vendome Wines and Spirits in Studio City, where salesman, shaman, and madman Steve Besser will be leading us in a tasting of Spanish and Portuguese wines.

Our meeting this week is different than usual in several ways:

1) The meeting will start at 8pm instead of 9pm.
2) Nobody brings wine.
3) Whoever plans on coming should RSVP.

The early start time is to allow Vendome’s employees to leave at a reasonable hour. We’re tasting seven wines, and we’ll plan to be done by about 10:00, which is when they close. At that point, anyone who’s interested is welcome to come over to my place for some more wine and erudite conversation. If that sounds good to you, just plan to bring a cheap bottle or some cheese — or you can just decide at the store and buy a cheap bottle there, whatever you want. I’ll definitely be down to have people chill until the usual time… I know that you all expect to be boozing till midnight on Wednesday and I don’t want to disappoint.

The “nobody brings wine” thing is because all of the wine will be provided for us by Vendome. The tasting will cost $12.00, a discounted Young Winos rate (the weekly Vendome tastings are usually $15.00). In addition, any of the wines that you’d like to purchase will be offered for 10% off their sticker price. Please plan to bring adequate money to pay for your tasting and any bottles you’d like to potentially buy (everything is taxed, including the tasting, so I guess that works out to be about $13.02 or something). This is a great deal for the seven wines that we’ll be enjoying. The pours are typically an ounce or an ounce and a half, but I explained to Steve that the Young Winos are used to finishing off the bottles, so that won’t be a problem.

Finally, the RSVP thing — please let me know by Monday evening if you plan to come. This will allow me to give Steve an estimate of how many to expect, as well as buying a little bit of cheese to go with the Port at the end of the tasting. Lately meetings have been reasonably-sized, so I don’t anticipate a crowd. However, the maximum for this particular tasting is twenty; if it goes over that number, then Vendome has to open a second bottle of each wine, and the tasting will lose them money and we won’t be able to come back. So be sure to RSVP soon just in case we push that twenty mark and I have to start turning people away.

What wines are we tasting? We’ll do three whites, followed by three reds, and finishing with a dessert wine. Here’s a quick list:

1) 2006 Famega Vinho Verde (Portugal, $8)
2) 2006 Marques de Montecierzo Chardonnay (Spain, $12)
3) 2005 Naia Verdejo (Rueda, $13)
4) 2003 Dom Martinho (Portugal, $15)
5) 2005 Squinta Dos Quatro Ventos (Douro, $21)
6) 2001 San Vicente Tempranillo (Rioja, $56)
7) NV Taylor Fladgate Special Tawny Port (Portugal, $19)

Obviously the Rioja should be an awesome bottle; Robert Parker gave it a 93 two years ago, and it’s supposed to be peaking between now and 2015. And the Port should be great as well, especially in context with a bunch of other Iberian bottles. What’s the difference between regular port and “Tawny” port? Read this long article or this short summary to find out! (Those who arrive early can help us drink a Spanish cava that we’ll be opening up for the warm-up wine.

We’ll be meeting at Vendome, Studio City, located at 11555 Ventura Blvd (here’s a map). From Hollywood, I would either take Laurel Canyon over the mountain, or I’d take the 101 and exit on “Ventura Blvd” right after Universal City. Plenty of parking for all… call 818-766-5272 if you inexplicably get lost.

Don’t forget to RSVP before Monday night — and we’ll see you on Wednesday at 8pm!