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My friend Louise hosts a wonderful brown bag tasting every time she and friends feel like they need to cull their wine collections.   She calls it a Winemergency.  She specifies a type of wine or a few types as the unifying theme.  Then attendees bring appetizers to share and a bottle or two.  All the bottles are bagged, tasted and then everyone compares notes at the end just before the bottles are removed from the bags.   This evening we tasted no fewer than twenty nine wines:  seven Chardonnays, six Grenaches, nine Syrahs and seven blends.   Needless to say we weren’t drinking the wine, we were tasting, spitting and then scribbling a few notes.    I know some people feel like it is a waste to spit out wine – and I wholeheartedly agree with them.  With that said, these events present an opportunity to taste many wines side by side, which is one of the best ways to train your palate. After every wine was swirled, tasted, compared and contrasted, there were a few bottles that really stood out from the crowd:  2006 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, 2008 Brewer Clifton Chardonnay, 2007 Tre Anelli Grenache, 2004 Beckmen Estate Grenache and 2006 Rey Grenache (Note: priced around $20, the Rey is a great buy though it can be hard to find – try the Wine Hound in Santa Barbara or the Bounty Hunter in Napa if you’re trying to find Rey wines), 2005 Ampelos Epsilon Syrah, 2004 Beckmen Estate Syrah, 2006 Clos Saint Michel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre), 2006 Ampelos Syrache (blend of 73% Syrah, 27% Grenache), 2008 Delas Saint-Esprit Côtes du Rhône  (blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, 5% Carignan and a with a price of $15 a great buy).    In between tasting, spitting and scribbling notes, I managed to take a few snapshots.

The brown bagged lineup of wines

The brown bagged lineup of wines

After the reveal - the Chardonnays

After the reveal - the Chardonnays

After the reveal - the Grenaches

After the reveal - the Grenaches

2006 Rey Grenache - Lots of taste for very little money

2006 Rey Grenache - Lots of taste for very little money

After the reveal, the Syrahs

After the reveal, the Syrahs

After the reveal, the Blends

After the reveal, the red blends

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