–submitted by Mike Wilson
The Wine Fellowship group met at Mike & Patty Wilson’s home on October 27 for the annual Mashambanzou Fundraiser. This fundraiser has been held for the last 10 years and usually by the Wine Fellowship group, but once Dick and Noel Pearson held it at their place when the Wilson’s were not available. In the past this has raised up to $1800/year for the Mashambanzou Care Trust (MCT), a Harare based organization in Zimbabwe. The money is used for orphans and families in need, as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Initially the monies were used for uniforms (a requirement for elementary and high school attendance) and home assistance for these affected families and orphans, but this has graduated to continued education. The most recent monies were used to send several orphans to University/Technical Colleges. This is a very worthy charity, a 501(c)3 registered group to which the UW Rotaract Club channels the donations that result in tax deductions for the Rotarian contributors.
Pictured at left, Annie Roensch (President of UW Rotaract) and Makenzi Tijerina (in charge of Rotaract fundraisers) were present to help with the wine purchases, and started the event with a short presentation of the role of MCT and the monies previously raised by us for them to send to MCT. These ladies will be important in the wine offering that will go to all the Madison Rotary Wine Fellowshippers – more to follow. Also, they will facilitate the IRS Tax deduction documentation/evidence for the entrance donations ($75) and donated portions of wines bought (15-25% of total cost).
Rachelle Richardson has been the driving force behind this fundraiser, and the 20 tasted wines were contributed by Purple Feet (now part of the Winebow group). The sale of the selected wines will be through Steve’s of University Avenue, and facilitated by Wayne Crokus. We required a retail outlet to get the sales tax registered, and they received a discount from Purple Feet, and discounted their sales price,to allow a significant portion of the wine price to be provided to the MCT. Both the UW Rotaract Club and Steve’s liquor Store were vital to this fundraiser, and we, the Madison Rotary Wine Fellowship group, are indebted to them.
We tried Zardeto Proseco, Gruet Brut Methode Champenoise sparkling wine, and Ayala champagne (4 weeks before we tried Gruet Blanc de Noir) and all were excellent.
Next we tried three chardonnays, a Burgundy Bourgogne from Bichot, and a Melville Estates from the Santa Rita Hills CA, and Paul Hobbs from the Russian River Valley. Again all very good.
Three wines from the 3/Three company proved the “Best Buy” wines with everyone raving about them, especially given their modest prices and their history of aging excellently. Mike has old versions in his wine cellar.
Photo 1: From left: Jane Wegenke, Meryl Mixtacki & Cheryl Wittke; Photo 2: Juli & Keith Baumgartner; Photo 3: Ken Yuska
We were reminded of the tasting a month before and four great red wines tasted then. Starting with an unbelievable Hey Mambo (a Sultry Red) from “The Other Guys” group in California, and a great Catena Malbec. These were two reasonably priced ($12 and $23 respectively) wines that scored the best reviews among the tasters at that event. We also had a MollyDooker (left handed – in the land of OZ) Shiraz that continues a series of mind-boggling awards internationally for these wine growers, and a great but expensive Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon.
We also tried a Sardinian Cannonau (aka Grenache – Sardinia was once a Spanish colony hence the Grenacha plantings in Italy), followed by a Ripassa (a “repass” of Amarone grapes), and super Barbaresco (93 Pts). A month ago at the Mashambanzou “pretasting” we had a very soft and beautiful Amarone (95 pts) that was loved, but the most expensive wine at these two tastings.
In all, between the event four weeks ago and last night’s event, we have tried 20 wines that are available. They all had scores between 89 and 95, with the Three 3/Three winery reds being unrated as far as I could find, but definitely “Crowd Pleaser” “Best Buys” in everyone’s opinions.
Of the tasters at last night’s event, $2200 worth of wine was purchased and this contributed between 15 and 25% of the purchase price to the MCT, and is tax deductible for the purchasers. These were extraordinary wines that we are going to make available to all the Wine Fellowshippers for one week (more to follow soon).
The Wilson’s provided breads and crackers, cheeses (Brie, Maytag, and Dubliner), three Italian meats, and nuts, seeds, salted caramels, and of course Patty’s chocolate covered strawberries.
A good time was had by all, and Mike made some Aperol Spritzers for some to try, Patty and Mike having just got back from the Veneto where these originated, and are seriously consumed in Venice, Verona and Lake Garda by their observation.