Art & The Vine: Paint and Sip

Paint & Sip Event

February 2018

Some of you who follow this blog may recall that I assist Farmguy with creating and planning client events for his business.  We host approximately four to six of these gatherings a year, and we always enjoy coming up with new and (hopefully) fun ideas.  The inspiration for our “Paint and Sip” night came from a combination of my interest in art as well as our recent wine course endeavor.

It was such a delightful evening!  My lovely art teacher, Janet Wimmer enthusiastically gave direction on the basic concepts of painting, and everyone got busy creating an original work of art.  During the course of the event, Farmguy and I lead the group through a discussion of the featured wines—-a white wine from Sicily and a Malmsey Madeira from Portugal as well as tastings.

Here are our notes:

2015 Graci Etna Bianco (Sicily)

Etna Bianco is made primarily from the white grape Carricante and sometimes blended with Catarratto. The grapes are often called “white Nebbiolo” as they were planted amongst Nebbiolo grapes for the birds to eat.

The vineyards sit at an altitude between 600 and 1,000 meters above sea level.  Planting density ranges from 6,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare.  Thanks to the unique nature of the volcanic soils, many of the vines are still on original rootstock, ungrafted, having never been affected by the phylloxera (aphid) scourge.

Tasting Notes:

Pale gold in color.  This wine has a medium-plus intensity on the nose.  Its floral and fruity fragrance is defined by white peach, Golden Delicious apple, orange peel, and lemon zest. It also has a slight buttery and creaminess. On the palate, it demonstrates good balance with a bright and crisp medium-plus acidity, medium-plus body, and flavors of yellow apples, white peaches, lemon zest, and cream. This light and fresh wine also exhibits the signature salinity or salty character of Etna Bianco.  This wine pairs well with many different kinds of seafood—-fish (swordfish), scallops, shrimp.


Cossart Gordon 10-Year Malmsey Madeira

Madeira is a fortified wine available in a range of dry to sweet styles.  It gets its name from the island of Madeira, a small, beautiful rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Madeira’s unique taste comes from repeatedly heating the wine.  The heating creates  a wine with fascinating flavors of roasted nuts, stewed fruit, caramel, and toffee.

During the 1600 and 1700s, wine often spoiled and needed to be fortified (by adding a little brandy) to survive the voyage at sea.  At the time, the island of Madeira was an  important provisioning point for journeys to the Americas.  The casks of Madeira wine would be heated and cooled as the ships passed through the tropics.  Shippers noticed how the wine’s flavor deepened and became better and called this sea-aging “Vinho da Roda.”

Malmsey (pronounced-Malm-see) is the richest and sweetest of Madeira.  You can pair Malmsey with rich chocolate desserts, ice cream, and cheese.  It’s also wonderful to enjoy a glass sitting by the fireside.  Malmsey is dessert on its own.  It’s common for Malmsey to show the most fruity, roasted nut and chocolate notes of all the styles of Madeira.  Just like Boal, Malmsey can live for decades and even centuries in some cases.

Tasting Notes:

This lovely, sweet style wine has a warm chestnut color accompanied by a hue of gold.  Its lifted, complex aroma of dried fruits, toffee and spices hint at its sweet, concentrated, well-rounded performance on the palate as well as its finish, which is highlighted by layers of mellow fruits, orange-like citrus, and spices.  This Malmsey Madeira pairs beautifully with chocolates.

Here are some highlights from our event.

*A heartfelt thank you to my art teacher and her husband, Janet and Rob Wimmer for all of their help as well as friend and artist, Donna Tuten for assisting.  And, many thanks to Doug Frassa for sharing his beautiful photographs.  You all made this such a memorable evening!


    • Thank you, Judy. We had a lot of moving parts, but everything came together very well…thanks in large part to the gracious assistance of my art teacher, Janet as well as my friend and artist, Donna. And, I agree with you…Scott’s clients are a talented group of folks! 🙂🎨

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is always fun to have an activity with wine tastings, Tonya!
    Their creations are really interesting and diversely individual pieces. 🎨
    My brother Randy does painting lessons at Fathead’s Brew House. So, mixing craft beers with art also works, if you ever have a friend who is local creating beers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a special evening with many lovely people. My husband and I are thankful to have the opportunity to plan and present these events. I’m so happy you enjoyed reading the tasting notes. Thank you very much for visiting.


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