Annual Hootch Tasting……

6 Years ago, we started a hootch tasting with musicians from the opera orchestra.  We each bought a bottle of hootch, brought out a few dozen glasses and compared various spirits.  So far, we have tasted Single Malt Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Tequila and the complete line up of Park City’s High West Distillery Spirits.  This year, I decided to switch to wine tasting.

There were about 13 of us to taste this past Sunday, and we tasted 9 different Pinot Noir wines from various regions including California, Oregon, France, Canada, and New Zealand.  I will save you the trouble:  117 glasses on the counter (thank goodness for Liz’s 20 year catering career!).  I asked that everyone spend at least $30 for their bottle of Pinot.  Although you can find drinkable Pinot for less, usually it just isn’t very good. (Disclaimer:  We had one $18 bottle of New Zealand’s Oyster Bay Pinot, and it wasn’t too bad!)  Everyone brought food so that we wouldn’t get overly sloshed.  Each person had about a 1.5 ounce pour – so the equivalent of about 3 glasses of wine over a 3.5 hour period of time.  Here are the wines:

Calera Pinot Noir 2014 from Central Coast California – First trombonist and First cellist

Boen Pinot Noir 2015 from Russian River Valley California – Violin section player

Champ de Reves Pinot Noir 2013 from Anderson Valley California – Principal Oboe

Meyer Reimer Pinot Noir 2015 from Okanagan Falls, British Columbia – Todd and Liz!

Domain Eden Pinot Noir 2014 from Santa Cruz California – Principal Flute

Cedar Creek Pinot Noir Platinum Block 4 2014 from Okanagan, British Columbia – Second Oboe (her sister lives on Victoria Island and brought the Cedar Creek – what a pleasant surprise!)

Cristom Mount Jefferson Pinot Noir 2014 from Willamette Valley Oregon – Second Oboe

Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2014 Marlboro, New Zealand – Principal Viola

Bourgogne Frederic Magnien 2014 from Burgundy, France – Principal Viola (she brought 2!)

A few tasting notes:

The Boen was very earthly, “dirty” in flavor.  The Oyster Bay was peppery and slightly spicy.  The French was the lightest of the nine Pinot’s.  The Calera was the sweetest in flavor.  The most balanced Pinot (robust at the nose (smell), palate (taste) and savor (after swallowing) was the Willamette Valley Cristom Pinot.  The Meyer was appreciated by all.  The top 3, after polling all of the wino’s, were Anderson Valley Champ de Reves, Willamette Valley Cristom, and Okanagan’s Cedar Creek.  I would agree with the polls.  These were by far the best 3 that we tasted.  Although some had the 3 in different order, all agreed that these 3 were the stand outs.  Here are a couple of photos with the complete line up.




The third pic is me waxing eloquently about the evening’s line up.  Meghan (Principal Viola) is on the left.  A great time was had by all.  Everyone really looks forward to this annual event and this year’s gathering did not disappoint.  Next year, we decided we would try high end sipping Rum.  Cognac is probably in our future as well.  But good Pinot is a beautiful thing:  it goes well with most foods and is a nice red wine to drink during the hot Utah summers.  Cheers!



Author: euro916

I am a college professor in the music department of Utah State University. I will start my sabbatical on May 1, 2016 and plan to document the year's experiences in this blog. The sabbatical consists of musical endeavors in Europe/UK for 3 months, and half a semester as guest artist in a couple of California universities. Thanks for following!

One thought on “Annual Hootch Tasting……”

  1. musicians gathered
    hosted by Liz and Todd–
    rivers of wine

    musicians gathered
    to drink and sing its praises–
    pinot noir

    musicians gathered
    a good time was had by all–
    who did the dishes


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