A Wine Appreciation Night

Last Friday night, Blacko (husband) ventured forth with a dozen or so mates over to a mutual friend’s home for what was auspiciously called, ‘An Evening of Wine Tasting’.  To help fortify their stomachs, everyone was asked to not only bring a bottle of wine but also bring a dish.  This is where Blacko leaned on me at late notice to push a dessert into his hands.  And if you’re a regular visitor you would know that I handed him a black forest cake.

Let the games begin

Let the games begin

All the bottles of wine were either decanted or wrapped in foil so you had no idea of what you were drinking and you had to give each wine a rating.  I have to say that none of the wines were what you might find in a bargain bin; all of them were worth more than what we would normally spend on a bottle of wine and some had even been lovingly cellared for a number of years.

Not something you see every day

Not something you see every day

Moving on from the wine, the first food item was a cheese platter.  It certainly looks like there was a bit of something for everyone on that plate and as every Frenchman will tell you, wine and cheese are perfectly partnered.

A civilised start to the evening

A civilised start to the evening

The next food item is a sad and sorry tale.  Unfortunately, days ahead of the event, the guest had talked up his dish that was Peking Duck.  Everyone was salivating just at the idea of it.  Well, for some reason, this guest decided to make his pancakes on the spot (nothing wrong with that), except that he chose to make them with spelt flour.  Everyone in Peking (Beijing) would have been horrified.

The whipping up of the Peking Duck pancakes

The whipping up of the Peking Duck pancakes

Anyway, he was widely condemned for his offering and sent to one corner of the room.

The most unfortunate Peking duck pancakes on record

The most unfortunate Peking duck pancakes on record

The duck with the duck's head in the centre of the plate - boys will be boys!

The duck with the duck’s head in the centre of the plate – boys will be boys!

Another guest had slow-roasted a shoulder of lamb for five hours and as it fell from the bone with a caper and mint gravy poured over it, it melted in the mouth and this guest was loudly praised.

Slow-roasted lamb served as a slider

Slow-roasted lamb served as a slider

And the wine kept flowing and everyone had to keep rating their thoughts on each bottle and then it came time for dessert.  You will be pleased to know that Hotly Spiced wasn’t put in the corner beside Mr Peking Duck!  We were basking in the same glory as Mr Slow-Roasted Lamb.  Phew!

A very large knife was used to cut the cake!

A very large knife was used to cut the cake!

For some reason they decided to end the tasting with a drop of whiskey.  I happens to be Blacko’s most favourite whiskey as it has a smokey flavour to it.  It was this whiskey that was the undoing of Blacko and along with his late arrival home and the fact that he had to work all the next day, made him the Walking Dead at Lorraine’s Halloween Party.  Quite appropriate though seeing he went as Elvis.

A splash of whiskey to end the evening

A splash of whiskey to end the evening

And about those wines.  Without trying to sound too ungrateful, can you believe Blacko’s least favourite wine was the Grange!

The wine enthusiasts

The wine enthusiasts

This wine tasting gave a bunch of guys a terrific opportunity to get together and spend time with one another which happens far too infrequently.  Bring on the next event!

The line-up.  More than half the bottles came from Penfolds.

The line-up. More than half the bottles came from Penfolds.

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  1. Wine and a wonderful table and beautiful people around the table… This is the beautiful moments of life… Seemed like that and also made me to think this, too. Thank you dear Charlie, have a nice day, love, nia

  2. What a great way to spend with friend trying all the wines 🙂 I love the look of the sliders even though I don’t eat lamb and of course the black forest cake which used an appropriately large knife hehe ~ love it! Are you going to celebrate Halloween with the kiddies?xx

  3. What a fantastic group of foodies and wine-lovers. 🙂 You guys crack me up sending someone to the corner of the room. 🙂 I grew up with Black Forest Cake so I would’ve gladly had a massive slab of your creation. 🙂

  4. Nothing like a little naming and shaming amongst friends! And it’s nice to have friends who bring along Grange too.

  5. At least Blacko was able to hide behind his fabulous shades at Lorraine’s party :p. Great idea with the wines and friends and food, except for those pancakes – oh dear! At least the duck looks tasty!

  6. If you ever come to Texas, there’s a rustic wine garden out in the country you’d love!

  7. This is a grand idea! I love this theme. A fun party indeed 🙂

  8. This is such a wonderful idea! What a great way to celebrate such delicious pairings with friends. Thanks for such a fun party idea!

  9. I’m curious who took the pictures at the all-male wine tasting. And who did the dishes? 🙂

    That wonderful meal, spelt pancakes aside, sounds like a great excuse to try a lot of different wines. Since I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking, I’d not have been able to have more than mouthful of each. Love the duck head on the mound of duck meat. It reminded me of the time I put the crab ‘lid’ on the plate of spicy crab fettucine for a ‘tasteful’ presentation.


    It looks like the men did justice to that wonderful black forest cake.

  10. We were involved in a similar evening. Everyone brought a bottle of the same style of wine to the hosts house, who did the food. It was such a fun evening. Looks like the boys had a great time.

  11. I don’t know much about wine, but spelt pancakes?? Glad to know your cake was ranked high, and why wouldn’t be? It looked fabulous.


  12. This makes me want to host a wine tasting! We used to host them from time to time but haven’t done one in ages. Looks like a great time was had with great food (except for the Peking duck of course!)

  13. It’s interesting to see so many bottles from one apparently popular winery! Your dessert would have been my favorite of the evening. I was a little grossed out by the duck head! LOL! Boys WILL be boys! What a nice group of friends. I applaud them for creating a festive event for the get-together. They obviously enjoyed themselves.

  14. G’day and sounds/looks like my kind of night Charlie, true!
    Nothing better than sharing food and wine experiences with your friends too! 🙂
    Cheers! Joanne

  15. What a great idea! I have to say though… doesn’t he know you can buy peeking duck pancakes? 🙂

  16. I would gladly chow down the Peking duck without the pancake. The poor guy should have been given “A” for his effort not sent to the corner.

  17. I love you for the sending-the-spelt-flour-dude-to-the-corner joke.

  18. What fun! So glad your cake didn’t get you sent to the naughty corner…though I’m not surprised it was a hit. I must be getting old when start thinking of the headache I’d have tasting wines all night, then following up with whiskey! I’d have to hang out at the food table and sample all night instead :).

  19. What a great excuse for the boys to get together. Men don’t look after their friendships in the same way women do – they often need a little encouragement.

  20. What a great boys night! I bet the cake was the star of the show Charlie xox

  21. What a brilliant boys night. Reckon a girls night is in order too Charlie. What will you get Carl to make for you to take along?
    Have a super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  22. LOL Off to the naughty corner!! Spelt pancakes…oh dear!!

  23. Aha! Now I see where it all comes together and why he had a sore head. I wished you could have stayed longer. If we had a bigger place, we could have offered you all a bed to sleep in!

  24. What a refined bunch of men – at least in the food and wine stakes – but poor foolish Mr Peking Duck! I’m glad your cake received the praise it deserved and hope they enjoyed the expensive rare wines despite not knowing they were expensive or rare!

  25. Now I see why Elvis was eager to leave the building at a reasonable time. Bless him

  26. What a great idea, and it reminds me that I bought a kit for a wine tasting party. Not withstanding the spelt pancake, the food looks and sounds top notch. And that cake is exquisite. Black Forest cake was our wedding cake, so it’s near and dear to my heart.
    As soon as I read smoky whiskey I read headache! It’s never a good combo, particularly after ALL that wine.

  27. Penfold LaGrange is legendary! …. and that cake looks yummy!

  28. Quite the gathering! I love the cheese photos.

  29. Looks like such fun. But the duck’s head wins the prize.

  30. I did not doubt for one second, that your black forest cake would be a hit. I do feel sorry for Mr Peking Duck though.

    The last time (actually the one and only time) someone opened a bottle of Grange in my honour, it was shot. So in my experience, I am with Mr Hotly Spiced. But I would not say no to the chance of another taste.


  31. Now this is my kind of party! It included a cheese platter, for goodness’ sakes! I love it, though I do feel sorry for Mr. Spelt Pancake. He should get some credit for attempting to make them to order, even if poorly planned. Of course your cake was very well-received, Charlie. Asking you to bake a cake is like asking Celine to sing. You know it is going to be fantastic. 😉

  32. Sounds like such a fun time! Glad your dessert was a hit. You’ve reminded me it’s been far too long since I’ve had a bottle of Penfolds – must visit my local wine shop. Fun post – thanks.

  33. Looks so light and divine! Penfolds is expensive in Malaysia. A bottle cost around RM 100-150

  34. I’m going to r trying some Penfold’s wine! Looks like it was a hit! Wine tasting id one of my favorite things to do. Lots of wineries here in California! Bet your cake would taste good with the wine too!

  35. I must have missed when Carl became “Blacko”…maybe I don’t want to know.


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